Monday, 8 April 2019

Knitters Do It Better

You may have noticed if you follow me over on instagram that my stories have been rather taken up by knitting over the last year. In January 2018 I decided I really wanted to get back into knitting having dabbled with it a lot over my childhood and teenage years. I was inspired to learn how to knit by a lovely family friend. I was amazed by the beautiful things she could create and found watching her knitting needles go back and forth so mesmerising. I was about 10 when I told my Auntie Sarah I really wanted to learn how to knit and so she taught me the basics one evening. A few weeks later I went to visit my Granny who encouraged me to learn more about knitting and found me lots of odds and ends of wool in her collection for me to play around with. And that was it! The knitting seed was planted. 

I knitted on and off through my teenage years but I never seriously devoted any time to learning how to do more than two types of stitches. I also never learnt to read a pattern and it was more of a random relaxing past time then anything else.  

As I got more into ethical and sustainable over the years I discovered how hard it was to find clothes that really suited my style. There are only a handful of brands in the UK and only some of them make clothes in a style that I feel suits me and my personality. And so I decided to learn to make some clothes myself. 

At first I thought about learning to sew having played around with sewing machines during my teen years but unfortunately my sewing machine was broken and I didn't have enough money to buy a new one and so my attention went to knitting. I started off easy with a small knitted jacket and matching hat for a baby. This helped me to learn how to read a pattern properly and I learnt so many new techniques and stitches with the help of youtube and my Knitty Gritty book. I then moved on to harder projects like a jumper for my nephew and then a cardigan for my husband.  

In the last few weeks I have finally knitted my first garment for myself and I absolutely love it. I found the pattern for this jumper in a knitting magazine and was lucky enough to find the exact wool it suggested in my local yarn shop. The idea of knitting my own clothes is to create beautiful unique garments that are both ethical and sustainable and so I am very careful to choose materials that adhere to this. For my nephews jumper I used a yarn made from 100% recycled textiles. For my own I used this beautiful wool from West Yorkshire Spinners which is guaranteed 100% British wool meaning it is not only ethical and sustainable but also helps feed a local industry that is at risk of dying.  

I have absolutely loved learning to knit over the last year and am now officially bitten by the bug. I can't seem to put my needles down and I have even started to design my own patterns. I love being able create beautiful garments that really suit my style but also know exactly how they were made and what with. It has also given me a much bigger appreciation for clothes as I am now aware just how long it takes to create a garment and how much skill has to go into it. It's a slow process to create my own piece of clothing taking weeks but that just makes it even more special and precious.  It's such an exciting part of my sustainable and ethical wardrobe and I can't wait to learn even more. 

Learning to knit has also encouraged me to learn more skills so that I can create even more sustainable and ethical bespoke garments. Over the next few years I am hoping to learn how to embroider, sew clothes and up-cycle old ones. I love the idea of having a sustainable and ethical wardrobe full of hand made clothes, up-cycled clothes, vintage, second hand and new pieces from amazing brands. For me it is all about creating a unique and beautiful wardrobe that helps our planet and it's people. 

I hope I've inspired you to maybe have a go at knitting yourself or learn another skill like sewing or embroidery. There are so many ways we can be more ethical and sustainable when it comes to our clothing and it certainly doesn't have to be just a plain Fairtrade organic cotton tee. Let me know in the comments if you are a maker and what you like to make. Or if you're feeling inspired I'd love to know what you might like to learn to do. Wishing you all a wonderful week!  

What I wore...
Jumper - Hand Knitted | Jeans - Old | Shoes - Old | Bag - Cambridge Satchel Company


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