Thursday, December 15, 2016

How to avoid buying clothes!




Last week I received my first pay check in 18 months.  After paying bills, I had about $200 to spend on some much needed basics.  I started with some socks and underwear from PACT, which sells organic cotton, fair trade clothes - can't do better than that, right?

Then I browsed a few websites and found that I could buy a skirt and two blouses with the money I had left over.  But I could either buy organic cotton, fair trade clothes in styles that I knew I wouldn't like, or compromise on one of those two attributes.

I decided instead to update my wardrobe by mending and dyeing. I replaced the zippers in two skirts that had been languishing in my closet, in one case with a zipper from a worn-out pair of jeans from my son.  Next, I ordered some natural dyes from A Verb for Keeping Warm, which I will use to brighten up my two favorite fair trade shirts that I have been wearing for at least 5 years.

Thus, I am not compromising my commitment (made in my previous post), and I am using resources within my fibershed.

Thinking about what we are wearing and who has made our clothes, as well as taking care of what we have is so much more satisfying than throwing out the old and continuing to buy slave-made clothes made from poisonous fabric.  I can't knit fast enough to make all my own socks though - maybe that is a goal for the future.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Inspiration strikes again!

After several months (okay, years) of no content, I am inspired to blog again.  

We recently relocated from Silicon Valley to a small town in California's Central Valley.  It was a big culture shock on many levels.  Never mind that I had always lived in cities close to the Bay Area, with great museums and restaurants, I also quit my job and have a lot of time at home.  By myself.  It took me about five minutes to get over that!

I do miss my friends and community in Santa Clara and San Jose, but it is great to have time to myself to sit in the garden and listen to bees and birds and watch the cats chasing each other.

The real culture shock set in when I contemplated the lack of independent natural food stores and yarn shops.  This town has lovely people, great taquerias, and a state park with a river three miles from my house, but it is severely lacking in yarn.  I saw some alpacas in someone's yard, and I tried to convince my husband that we should knock on their door and ask about roving, but he just kept driving.

Anyway, for the last few years I have been working like crazy to afford private school and rent in Silicon Valley, while shopping for craft supplies as therapy.  However, very little actual crafting took place!  The result is that I have an almost brand new sewing machine, a knitting machine, two looms, piles of yarn, fabric, and notions, and way too many knitting needles, not to mention a huge library of crafting books!  And now I have the time to use everything!  It's like I have my own store in the closet!  

And since I'm not working, I need my own store.

This situation, plus inspiration from this video led me to the following conclusions:

- At 45, (as of August 2015J), I have enough fabric (for making my own clothes and for housewares ) to probably last the rest of my life.  (Yarn is another story)

- Thrift stores sometimes have nice vintage sheets, etc. that can be used as fabric if I need something to complete a project, or if I just need further evidence for the case of American manufacturing.  The last few trips I took to Goodwill left me feeling disgusted with all the Target and Walmart discards. 

- Because I really believe in the philosophy behind the Fibershed movement, I do not want to buy any new fabric unless it was grown, dyed and woven within 150 miles of my home.  Since I live in the Central Valley, that means that I have a lot of options!

I am starting by mending garments that I really like and that fit me now.