Tuesday, August 2, 2016

crafting with my conscience

I've been thinking more about where my crafting materials come from. I have been for awhile. I've already reigned in my fabric acquisitions to better align with my beliefs. I decided to only add secondhand fabrics with maybe an occasional organic cotton or linen purchase and it's probably been a year since I purchased anything but secondhand. But what about my other crafts?

Last month was kind of a turning point for me. Spokane hosted its third annual Vegfest and I experienced my very first. 😄 These are my people! I wasn't super interested in the various booths, but the speakers were so inspiring!

Gene Baur, president of Farm Sanctuary and me

I transitioned to a vegetarian diet when I was around 11 or 12, but have been eating a mostly vegan diet the past few years. I make my own nondairy milk (and ice cream!) and have plenty of options for replacing eggs when baking and even make a darn good tofu scramble. I have been using local honey the past year or so in an effort to limit my use of cane sugar (the industry is very environmentally taxing), so not totally vegan, but close.

Gene talking about one of the rescues living out her life at the sanctuary

I've always struggled with using animal fibers in my crafts however... or I suppose not using them. I prefer not to use synthetics whenever possible so have mostly natural fibers in both my wardrobe and craft stash. A few years ago I decided I wouldn't buy animal fiber yarns unless I found them secondhand, but I'd still use what I already had... and I had a lot. I was still buying wool for spinning (I know, I know, I didn't say it made sense). This year, I swore off buying anything but consumables (with just a few caveats) so the new animal fibers stopped coming in. I did happen across a local doing her own destash however and picked up some inexpensive secondhand wool for spinning. (I didn't even look at her yarn destash!)

So I suppose this change has been slowly coming on for years and I'm a big believer that making changes is easy when we are ready for them and until now, I just wasn't truly ready to let go. But now? I really am. I started thinking through what was actually stopping me from letting the yarn go. It wasn't the money I'd spent that I knew I wouldn't recoup. I'd already sold off or donated a lot, but my stash was down to the yarns I really did like and were on the nicer side. I've donated so much other stuff though. Why was this so different? It wasn't, really. So, I finally culled my yarn stash. I'm not ready to let my handspun go, but nearly everything else with animal fiber content not currently part of a project got pulled and marked for sale:

I did say I had a lot! I decided this needed to be a quicker process than trying to sell off individual skeins so after some thought, I packed up boxes to sell as lots at what I thought was a very good price for the buyer and would hopefully make it a quicker process for me... and oh my was it quick! Did I get back all the money I'd spent over the years? Not even close! But these yarns are now in the hands of crafters who will put them to use and they're not here making me feel guilty over past decisions.

I'm not telling you that your values should fall in with mine. We all make our own decisions and need to be at peace with our actions. Someday, I may be ready to let my woolly handspun go too, but today is not that day. Baby steps (and sometimes giant leaps)!

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