Monday 3 September 2007

Night-time Corners and Polyester Thoughts

That little bag in the corner is my bag of scraps. Of thread, of cuttings, the detritus of waves of crafting creativity. This little bag is becoming more significant as time goes on, not only in size but in consequence. Cotton, linen, and wool feel lovely in hand and are so much better for our skin than polyester blends that I try to avoid the latter wherever possible. And the former will break down in the environment long after I'm long gone. Still, many of the rockin' prints of the past are polyester-cotton blends. Since I'm getting them second-hand and not using them in things to wear or cuddle with, I feel pretty good about giving them a second life, but what to do with the scraps?

Why does this matter? A couple of months ago, No Impact Man had a nice little post (oh wait, no, actually horrifying...) about plastic in the food chain. It's unsettled me, and that little bag of scraps has been weighing on my mind. Polyester is plastic. Sure, my scraps aren't significant, but they're my responsibility, eh? And somehow I don't feel right having my crafting life exist on a separate wavelength than the rest of my life (which is not perfect, but that's neither here nor there - it just doesn't jive, is what I mean - the plastic is without feeling - it follows me even to happy-craft-land). So, I figure I can use them to stuff stuffies and that will keep them out of the environment for a while.

What about not buying polyester blends to begin with? Well, I guess that means I'll have to find out what happens to stuff that never sells at second-hand stores. Does everything eventually sell? Do they dump it if it doesn't? (this seems unlikely) Not purchasing polyester at the second-hand level has no impact on first-tier shopping, does it? It's not like I can boycott polyester manufacturers by not buying polyester second-hand items. So a little leg-work is in order.

That just leaves thread. All my thread is polyester. When those run out, what next? Conventional cotton and it's spectre of pesticide use? I think I'll have to bite the cost bullet and order organic cotton thread, maybe from Near Sea Naturals. Maybe delve into plant-based dyeing? Or get really good at knitting ;-)

Ah, from a problem comes another crafting opportunity, perhaps?

As far as sourcing organic textiles in Toronto, I've come up with far! (Maybe I should open a store? Hmmm...) On-line seems to have more options, clearly (although I haven't ordered from any as these sites yet):

Near Sea Naturals: everything including natural rubber elastic!
Shepherd's Dream: wool batting, cotton and wool textiles (our bed was made by these folks - this is not a paid advertisement :-) they're just lovely people with lovely product)
KidBean: organic cotton batting
Rawganique: hemp textiles
GreenSage Store: natural fabrics
Tenfold Organic Textiles
earth friendly goods: hemp fabric
Aurora Silk (these guys fascinate me)

Coming up on another post (after camping!), the holy grail of textiles: "100-mile" fabric and the search for hemp in Canada.

Whew! Now I'm going to go pack for camping! Have a great week!


Anonymous said...

oooh great links! i'm completely intrigued by the upcoming post.
happy camping!!

Heather said...

Wow, you really did some leg work on this! Thank you for pointing out a few important facts. I think you opening a store that focused on organic fabrics, etc in Toronto is a great idea!! I'm sure that there is a bigger market than either of us realize for that!