Happy Earth Day! I know all you stitchers and stretchers out there love and appreciate Mother Earth as much as I do, so I compiled a couple of super simple tips that you can practice to honor our beautiful home planet on Earth Day and everyday! (I bet you're already doing some of them, if not all of them!)
Stitch and Stretch Tips for Earth Day
1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We've all heard this one before, but here's a glimpse into how it applies to stitching and stretching.
First, let's look to yoga for some guidance. Within the eight-limbed approach to yoga, there are certain ethical standards and observances by which to model your life. One of these ethical standards is aparigraha, which is translated as 'non-covetousness,' 'non-greed,' or 'non-possessiveness.' Aparigraha proposes that we do not use or take more than we need. In a way, it's like the precursor of the modern day 'reduce, reuse, recycle.'
How does this apply to stitching? Raise your hand if you have a yarn stash or fabric pile that continues to grow, and by this point you don't even remember where some of your inventory came from! (My hand is raised) Taking an Earth Day tip from yoga's aparigraha, the goal would be to 'reduce' consumption of new things and work with what's already in our possession. You've got so much stockpiled project potential, now's the time to stitch!
I know all of you creatives can also think of new ways to 'reuse' items that you've stored away for a rainy day. I've got a whole pile of material that I have saved from numerous closet/life cleanings just waiting to be upcycled into something new. The same goes for yarn - my knitting teacher told me that she would buy thrift store sweaters to unravel for their yarn, which she would then repurpose. Giving new life to fabric and yarn is not only easy, it's fun! Get your creative muscles pumping and rethink some items already in your possession.
When you absolutely have to buy some materials for your next project, (because you dwindled your stash down to scraps and made so many amazing things in the process) may I suggest looking for those that are 'recycled'? I'll mention a couple of companies in a later tip (Support Environmentally-Conscious Brands), but just know - they're out there.
This Earth Day, let's take a cue from yoga and see how, as stitchers, we can apply these 'reduce, reuse, recycle' ideas.
2. Opt Outside
This is actually a hashtag for REI, a recreation retail co-op, but you don't have to be a serious, outdoor adventurer to practice this tip (and if you are, that's awesome too!).
What better way to celebrate Mother Earth then to be outside basking in her glory? I know I've lamented the springtime allergies that have been hanging around these parts, but I'm slowly working myself up to spending more time outdoors. Both stitch projects and stretch practices can easily happen while cozied up on a patch of grass. Just think, while you're outside, dosing up on Vitamin D, stitching and/or stretching, listening to the birds, breathing fresh air, appreciating Earth, you're also saving some major resources. No need for lights to be on, you've got the sun! Air conditioning, no way - that's what the breeze is for! Opting outside for your creative time benefits you and our planet at the same time.
3. Celebrate Your Sustainability
You have the skills, put them to use!
Who needs fancy equipment for yoga? All one truly needs is clothing that is comfortable to move in. You technically don't even need a mat (especially if you practice on the grass!) If you've taken a couple of classes, you probably know at least some poses that you can practice on your own. If not, ask a teacher what poses would be safe for you to practice on-the-go. Be gentle with your body and trust your instincts - no need to buy things or depend on driving to class every single day to get some stretch time in.
And for stitching, once you have the pattern and yarn/fabric as well as needles/hooks/machine, you're all set. You make things! How cool is that?! Need some new wardrobe items? Your stitch hobby's got your back.
If you're experienced in stitching and stretching, perhaps you can celebrate sustainability by teaching someone else. Sharing patterns and poses, tips and techniques is a great way to keep the sustainability chain going. I dare say, it's the Earth Day thing to do.
4. Support Environmentally-Conscious Brands
There are so many amazing companies out there who care about the environment, and use eco-friendly practices to produce their products. Remember that you have the power to affect change by supporting them - the fate of our planet depends on it!
I recently saw an article that was quite shocking about how yoga pants are polluting the ocean. It explained that each time athletic clothes made with synthetic fibers (like yoga pants) are washed, micro fibers end up in the ocean. Why buy potentially harmful clothing when there are companies out there who use eco-friendly practices in production. Personally, I like Patagonia and Prana, companies who both use organic cotton, hemp, and recycled wool (among other sources) in their products. Plus, they both make cute yoga clothes. That's a win-win in my books!
The same goes for stitching - there are plenty of fabrics or yarns out there that are ethically sourced and environmentally friendly. Here are a few companies selling recycled materials for your stitching needs, and trust me, there are so many more out there. Earth Day is the perfect opportunity to check them out.
- Wool and the Gang - has cotton and wool blends that are made from recycled T-shirts, denim waste, and recycled wool fiber. My next project is using their Billie Jean Yarn, so I'll tell you how it goes!
- Darn Good Yarn - has recycled silk, suede and newspaper yarn in addition to recycled T-shirt yarn.
5. Find Your Tribe
Don't ever doubt your personal ability to create change. A motivated person with a conscious purpose is a force to be reckoned with. Plus, think of the mountains you can move with a group of like-minded individuals! One of my favorite quotes is by Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Whether your tribe of like-minded individuals is made up of family, friends, or people you've met through social media - you can support one another to be more Earth-friendly while making conscious decisions that extend far beyond you. It can be as simple as bouncing ideas off one another, sharing information about new companies doing great things, and celebrating your eco-ways together. The more people who consider the planet while pursuing their passions and hobbies, the more amazing our planet will be. Mother Earth will thank you!
Our home planet is a beautiful place to live. This Earth Day, consider implementing tips like these - that reveal how your hobbies can support the environment. Let me know in the comments if you have other ideas, what companies you support, and how you celebrate our Earth. It's my belief that together, we can change the world, one stitch and stretch at a time.