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Starting a new craft the sustainable way:Crochet

If you follow my social media accounts you'll know that I've recently gotten really into crochet. Not just me though it would appear. I seem to have accidentally stumbled into this years up and coming popular craft and fashion. I've never been a fashion victim, I've always just picked what I like, and I've always loved the way crochet looks.But I also love to make things and master new skills.

It's skill that it took me quite some time to master. I've tried several times to learn over the years but I just could never get my head around it. I learnt to knit as a child but always found that quite frankly it was too slow, and for me creating a pattern with knitting just didn't compute. Because of that I never really got into it. I don't know what made me do it last winter (probably my dog eared determination), but I picked my up favorite craft book, some inherited hooks and cheap yarn. I sat down and kept going until it made sense. And now I'm hooked (see what i did there?!) Its' become my go to hobby to relax in the evenings. So far I've made 3 cardigans, several hats, a few snoods, a jumper, a baby blanket, Christmas decorations and even a pair of earrings. You'll be pleased to know I've not kept it all.

If you're not careful though it can get expensive and I find more and more that Crafting is often green washed (meaning that it is made to seem more sustainable than it actually is). But like pretty much everything that doesn't have to be the case. The best way to be sustainable is to use what you already have. There were the obvious things that I needed, hooks and yarn being the bare minimum. But then I learned about blocking, which is how you give the garment it's final shape by wetting it and shaping it while damp. I did some research and you can get special boards for this, some foam and some wooden with pegs. Also I needed stitch markers. So I dutifully went onto my favorite sewing and craft supplies website (Rascol, if you are interested) and swiftly swore under my breath when I looked at the cost of buying also this stuff.

SO I did what I always do. I had a very close look at what they're all made from and how they're made and had a rummage around the house.

Hooks was easy I already had a selection of hooks (hand me downs) and found some second hand for sizes I didn't have (although, funnily enough the last time I went to my favorite second hand shop they didn't have a single hook, crochet is that popular now!). I made a case to keep them in and I already had some draw string bags to use for project bags (sign up to my newsletter here for those)

I found an easy DIY stitch marker tutorial (although don't ask me where) using paper clips, beads and a pair of pliers.

The blocking board meant that I finally found a use for the foam play mat that my kids no longer use. You can pick these up second hand easily or I reckon an old yoga mat would do the job, you basically just need something you can stick pins into to hold everything in place. The wooden board with pegs that I wanted for making granny squares took the most effort. I checked by wood stash and I didn't have anything suitable, so I went to our local DIY shop as they sell off cuts for 3 euros. While I was there I picked up some dowel. I drew out a grid drilled a million holes and ta da for 4 euros I had something that would have cost me 40.

The one thing I've not mentioned so far is yarn. There are some amazing small indie producers out there who put a lot of time and effort into producing a high quality sustainable product. As much as I admire their work I just can't afford it. So my compromise is using only natural fibers and I've found that drops wool is very good value for money (I pay on average 2euro per 50g ball). Why natural fibers? Well three reasons, production is better for the environment, when their washed there's no micro fibers that enter into the system and lastly I just prefer how it feels on my skin. Although I always keep my eye out for yarn second hand. I picked some up recently for a fraction of it's retail price.

There's one last thing. Patterns. There are loads of free patterns out there. My favourite websites are love crafts and drops. But I already have some favorite designers, Iron lamb, Katie Jones and ISWoolish are the 3 that are top of my list and yes I do pay for these patterns. It's people's intellectual property, it takes creativity and knowledge to design these things. Something that should be respected.

AND finally the free pattern from me this time is a hook roll/case. I've made 3 different sizes of this already. One for my hooks, one as a paint brush roll for my daughter and lastly one as a pencil roll as a Christmas present. You just need to alter the size which is easily done. I find it really practical of storing my hooks.

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