About

Portrait photo of blog author Amy HarrellAbout me

Hi, I’m Amy and I have been knitting, crocheting, sewing, and quilting for the better part of 20 years. I love every aspect of these arts: planning, choosing colors and patterns, the feel of the fibers and threads, watching something useful or beautiful come together. I most appreciate the feelings of self-sufficiency, control, independence, and accomplishment.

The environment is also crucially important to me and weighs heavily on my mind. The effects of climate change that we witness everyday loom large. Dramatic change is needed across all dimensions of our lives, and across every level of society, right now.

As a long-time animal rights and welfare supporter I lead a plant-based lifestyle. I hesitate to use the word “vegan” because it is laden with baggage and negative connotations.  I am also not a true vegan by the traditional definition since I eat honey and knit with wool. Nevertheless, it influences my fiber choices.

About this site

This site will explore the crafts we all love as they intersect with reduce, reuse, recycle values. Let’s dispel the myths and stereotypes that say being eco-friendly means sacrificing beauty or quality.

The mask-making trend during the COVID-19 pandemic has shone on a spotlight on the superpowers of those of us who make things with our hands. We have the ability to literally protect and care for ourselves using materials we have in our households. And when we define “materials” broadly – that old towel, or torn sheet, or sweater that doesn’t fit anymore – our creative options open up exponentially.

Look for posts on topics such as:

  • Upcycled projects: Making useful and beautiful things from vintage, thrifted, or found materials
  • Companies trying to do the right thing: yarn, fabric, and notions businesses engaged in green and ethical manufacturing processes
  • Ways to “greenify”  your own crafting processes

About sustainability and ethics

To me, sustainability is defined along a spectrum. Our crafting processes and materials are not neatly divided into two buckets where they’re either sustainable or not.

For example, at one end of the spectrum is purchasing sewing or knitting supplies only at second hand shops: upcycling fabric from clothing, and unraveling sweaters for yarn. At the other end is purchasing new yarn with acrylic, nylon, or polyester fiber in it. The area in between is vast.

My goal is to provide you with information and inspiration about how to make your crafting greener yet still fun and gratifying. 

Many factors go into the eco-friendliness of yarn or fabric:

  • Fiber composition: how resource intensive is the fiber production and manufacturing process? Is it easy to grow but difficult to manufacture, or vice versa?
  • Dyes: Has a natural dying process been used with plant-based dyes, or is it chemically-intensive?
  • Shipping: How far has the product traveled from source to consumer, including intermediate steps in the manufacturing process?
  • Animal welfare: Does the product involve killing an animal? In any case, how are the animals treated? Are sheep flocks grazed sustainably?

And even though this site focuses on environmental factors, worker safety and treatment is a very important consideration. A company that is otherwise engaged in sustainable practices, but which has unfair or abusive worker policies should not be supported.

Please reach out to me at amy@sustainablestitching.com with any suggestions or concerns.

Peace and happy creating!

Amy