I have a stash! Like most crafters I know, I have a stash. In fact, I have two. I have a small stash of a bag and a box in Albufeira, and then I have ‘The Mother Stash’ in Bristol. Those things that you see when you re out and about, the perfect wool, the perfect bit of fabric, the perfect bundle of buttons that will be so useful and will enable me to create beautiful things. Which, in all reality, end up in ‘The Stash’, never to be used and taking up space in my home that I can little afford. We downsized recently, and I am all too aware, that husband has little left and that all the room we do have is taken up by my crafting hobbies.
Obviously, in the UK at least, you need to have been living under a rock to have missed the David Attenborough plastic effect. As a nation were are generally far more aware of the amount of single use plastic we use and the impact it has on the environment. I am mildly terrified that my Sindy horse is lying in landfill somewhere, along with her caravan. There is also the impact of fashion on the environment. The production of cotton, for example, uses masses of amounts of water, which I first learned about in Stacey Dooley’s documentary, ‘Are your clothes wrecking the planet’?
So, I have a stash, full of beautiful wool that I’ve bought over the years and never bothered to use. Can I, in all honesty, carry on to add to that, knowing the impact that buying those balls of wall is having on the environment? Or am I better off using that wool to create the items I’d originally envisaged at the time of buying. Clearly, it doesn’t change how much water was used in the production. But at the very least, it will be put to some use, rather than languishing under a bed, ultimately to be taken to a charity shop.
I’ve made a start. I’ve made my first item, a Carnation using yarn from my stash. The Carnation is the flower for January, and I found the pattern on Youtube. It was actually really enjoyable to make something using someone else’s pattern for a change! I’m intending to turn this into a brooch and am in the process of making a few more that I will upload to my Etsy page in due time. As it’s not my own pattern, any money I make from the sale of these will be donated to sustainable charities. It’s a little more tricky as I don’t have the exact colours that I would have chosen to use, partly because my stash in Portugal is relatively small. But the whole idea of this challenge is to try to create things using the materials I already have, rather than pop out and buy yet another ball of wool to create the perfect piece.
So, my aim for the year, is to showcase what can be created and made using sustainable materials. The ideal scenario will be to use what I already have to hand, but failing that I intend to scour local charity shops, or car boot sales for fabric, wool, buttons or ribbons that will enable me to complete my designs. I’m not sure if there is a market for these types of makes, but I can’t believe I am the only crafter in the world that is concerned by the impact I am having on the environment and trying to find ways to reduce that impact. I’d also like to think that there is a market out there, now it may be a niche, of people would be interested in buying clothing that has been up-cycled, or is sustainable, or has a background to it, especially if they knew that some of the money was also going to sustainable charities.
I don’t imagine this will be easy. I expect I will encounter many hurdles along the way, but for a very long time it feels like my crafting has a purpose and I am excited to see where the year will take me.