Knitting to Save the World?

I learned how to knit when I was about 16 years old. I was in a youth shelter and to pass time (since we didn't have TV) another youth taught me....she was 11. I knit randomly for a few years but because I didn't know anything other than how to make a scarf (and I made some amazing scarves...seriously) and I didn't have anyone who could teach me more...it just ceased.

Then after I had our first baby, I started to pick it up again....venturing from scarves to hats to booties and then to adult sweaters. This year my goal is to do socks...

I started knitting because I enjoyed it and it is insanely beneficial for your brain. I bought cheap yarn because then I wasn't spending a fortune on items if I screwed them up (good self talk there huh?).

Then I found a local yarn store with superb yarn...including some from the state I grew up in...Nebraska! I was hooked...no longer did the cheap yarn from Walmart or Hobby Lobby suit me...I needed the good stuff, the small business stuff, the natural fiber stuff. Yes, I am a yarn snob.

Guess what....my projects turned out better too.

OK...this story is getting long BUT its important for the whole point of my post.

Then I found Ewetopia Fiber Shop in Viroqua Wisconsin and I felt like a kid in a candy store. I could be as big as yarn snob as I wanted because they had it all...including wool roving and yarn from local sheep. I would spend an eternity just walking through the store (thankfully had a generous couch/toy corner for the children).

It then hit me that knitting with local yarn could actually make a HUGE difference in the world. In extension, spinning your own wool can make an additional difference.

We live in a world that is obsessed with buying. We buy shit all the time...and when I say shit, I mean a piece of junk that is destined to be in the landfill. If you don't believe me, watch the video about the Story of Stuff and listen closely to "planned obsolescence"....heck "perceived obsolescence" works here too.

 This stuff is made in terrible factories (see The True Cost), shipped from various locations around the world...made with plastic....sold in stores that treat their employees less than human.

By knitting with local yarn (this can be expanded to include crocheting, or sewing with organic fabrics), I can throw a wrench, albeit small, into this system.

I can support small, local businesses....which in turn boost the local economy...making the community a better place to live.

I can make some of my own clothes, which leaves me feeling empowered...which motivates me to make a difference when and where I can.

I connect with my clothes because I played a role in their fabrication...which means that I take better care of them....and I feel "cool" because I am actually wearing something I made.

My pieces will last longer because they are made better. Many of the clothes people buy for "always low prices" are not meant to last. In my husband's sweater (100% wool...which he can wear outside in a cold Wisconsin winter without a coat), I spent time checking my work every step of the way. Knitting a sweater from natural fiber yarn from a local yarn shop is more expensive...which means we won't necessarily have a closet packed with clothes...but its the monster of excessive consumerism that tells us we need a closet overflowing with clothes.

I am keeping alive a skill that was passed down from generation to generation because it was needed to survive. It is just one small step toward being self sufficient.

By knitting, I am telling the big box chains that I don't need/want them. I am voting with my dollars and my needles.

I am breaking a chain of consumerism where my happiness depends on how much I can buy.

When I use yarn from local sheep and/or yarn stores...I am significantly reducing the carbon footprint of my piece. When we knit a sweater with plastic yarn from Walmart...we really haven't reduced our carbon footprint....we increased it because we just told Walmart that we want more plastic yarn from China. That yarn was shipped around the world, after we extracted the oil for it to be made (and shipped).

Right now, my spinning is still very beginner but its getting better. My knitting has moved from scarves to sweaters, cardigans, shawls...and as mentioned earlier, I hope to start on socks (and mittens but they are both intimidating).

 Setting up to spin some more wool. On my bobbins is what I have spun already.

Setting up to spin some more wool. On my bobbins is what I have spun already.

Additionally, knitting calms me. The repetitive motion of stitch after stitch is deeply meditating. A calmer me means I am happier and I approach people in a much more peaceful manner.

Knitting to Save the World? Yep. One hank of local wool yarn at a time.

 My finished hank. This when on to big a very soft and warm scarf.

My finished hank. This when on to big a very soft and warm scarf.