Earth Day Ramp Up: Keeping Clean & Green

I was a bit of an early adopter on environmentally friendly cleaning products, since most commercial ones make the skin on my hands really irritated, or the overpowering scent makes my throat feel funny. I also find it odd that we somehow have collectively accepted the idea that wiping a surface down with poisonous and harmful chemicals is somehow ‘clean’.

I use straight up baking soda for anything I feel needs a good scouring-
such as the tub, bathroom and kitchen sink, etc. And if I feel like I
really need to disinfect a surface, I wipe it down with a rubbing
alcohol (isropyl alcohol). 

But earth-friendly sometimes needs to be really easy, right? Enter Method, probably the most consumer-friendly eco cleaning product company. They make every kind of cleaning product you can think of both for your home, and for your body. They even have a wonderful line of baby care products- all all non-toxic, naturally derived biodegradable ingredients and an earth-friendly outlook.

Method products are available in: Canada, United States, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. And they come in many great fragrances- not too strong at all.

I only buy biodegradable laundry detergent, although I’m not faithful to a particular brand. It’s great for sensitive skin. Method makes a great one, but I find that my grocery store carries a bunch of them, so I buy whatever is biodegradable and on sale. I don’t use dryer sheets (they have formaldehyde in them!), so to eliminate static (and use less electricity) I don’t run my dryer more than 20 minutes at a time. I find clothes only get static-y if they become bone-dry in there, so running it for shorter times eliminates that. Or, if I don’t need the shrinking and de-wrinkling powers of the dryer, I hang clothes on a dry rack to dry au natural.

We’re all friends, right? Of course we are. So hopefully it’s not TMI to tell you about the line of feminine hygiene products I use:

I love Natracare. They don’t behave any differently from the plastic products that most of us use. Think about this- every feminine hygiene product you have ever used in your entire life (including the wrapper/backing) is still sitting in a landfill somewhere. Whatever your preferences are, they have the product for you- and it’s all organic, biodegradable, and awesome. I’ve used their products for years and never had any problems. And they are available everywhere. Check out this country list!

And even though this isn’t really about keeping clean, we’re all interested in knitting, crocheting, or spinning fibre, right? How about trying your hand at dying with vegetable base dyes? Re-Nest has a great article on this.

Earth Day Ramp Up: The Beauty Edition

First of all- Tanis Fiber Arts is having a giveaway! Go leave a comment for a chance to win!

I know I don’t often talk about some of my non-knitting personal habits, but with Earth Day coming up on Friday, I thought this would be a good time. Most of the products I use are ‘green’ products, and I feel like I’ve tried enough of them that I thought I’d give you my faves. the first one is what I feel is the most important, since skin care is generally something we all care about. I personally don’t see how slathering oil and petroleum industry by-products onto my face will give me the skin I want. Here are three simple products that I love, work great, and are better for you and the environment:

First up: Rose Hip Seed Oil

I use rose hip seed oil on my skin every night when I go to bed. Just a dime sized amount mixed with whatever moisturizer you  currently use is perfect. I bet in about two weeks you’ll notice a real difference in your skin. Brand doesn’t matter, and you can get it at every health food store every where. It’s about $15. It’s magic.

 Next up: Tarte Cheek Stain

This product is amazing, and also rocks as a lip stain. I use the ‘natural beauty’ colour. And I know $30 seems like a lot for blush, but this will last you a looong time. And it’s free of parabens, sulphates, synthetic fragrances, petro chemicals, and Phthalates (all that stuff- terrible for you!). Which brings me to me next point- you see that green symbol on this shamelessly thieved photo from Sephora? Sephora actually has an entire section devoted to earth friendly beauty and hair products. Go check it out!

What about perfume? Glad you asked:  Lavanila

This smells incredible. The company has a series of fragrances and body care products that smell utterly, unbelievably amazing. Vanilla Grapefruit (pictured above) is my favourite.  Considering the kinds of chemicals that go into perfumes that you then tend to spray directly onto your skin, a more earth friendly choice of fragrance will definitely benefit both you and the planet.

I hope you’ll take a closer look at some greener products that you will enjoy! Let me know if you do try any of the above.

Modification Monday: Latvian T-Shirt

Original Pattern: Girly Top

Knitter Extraordinaire: Betsy (Ravelry ID)

Mods: Revamped the simple stockinette top to feature a beautiful colourwork design, and also adjusted the neckline and sizing. Details and more photos can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: This is such an inspiring knit. The original pattern is a very simple, no colourwork pullover; and provided the perfect template to explore this lavish colourwork design. And the result is just utterly beautiful!

WIP: Simple Socks

In the pre-ravelry days, I knitted a pair of socks very similar to these. I still wear them regularly, and when at my friend Laura’s house, she saw my socks and really wanted a pair of her own. Who am I to deny a close friend hand-knitted socks?


These are just plain, cuff-down stockinette socks. I’m knitting these on a 2.5 mm 9-inch circular; it’s my first time using a tiny circ. I actually really enjoy it. I find knitting on dpns sort of hard on my wrists sometimes, and the magic loop/two circs technique isn’t my fave (I know, I’m sorry, I just feel like I spend as much time feeding needles through loops as I do actually knitting).

Gatsby does love to get in on the knit blog action.  

I’ve been knitting these on the subway or in various cafes in the city. And as someone who frequently knits in public, I’m used to people asking what I’m knitting. But when an older lady slid over to get a better look at my knitting while on the subway, I was totally unprepared for her question.

Nice Older Lady:”You’re left handed, aren’t you?”
Me: “…..uum, yes. How can you tell?”
Nice Older Lady: “I’m teaching my granddaughter to knit, and she’s left handed too. I’ll have to tell her that left handed knitters can do just as well!”

So, are there any fellow southpaw knitters out there? Is there really a difference? I knit ‘English style’  (I’m a thrower, not a picker). I never thought it mattered- for crochet, yes, because I hold my hook in my left hand, but for knitting… the only time I find it affects anything is when I do a long tail cast on, since it is technically backwards (I hold the needle in my left hand).

Fellow knitters, help me out- can you actually tell if someone is left handed when they are knitting?

Modification Monday: Inspira Sweater

Original Pattern: Inspira Cowl

Knitter Extraordinaire: Sigrid (Ravelry ID, blog)

Mods: Transformed the beautiful colourwork cowl/caplet into a gorgeous kaleidoscopic pullover. Details on how she did this can be found on her project page, here.

What Makes This Awesome: I can’t say I’ve seen many transformations of a caplet into a sweater, have you? This is such a lovely reinterpretation of the pattern. the colours Sigrid chose are so pretty, and the whole effect is just… WOW. Talk about making a pattern your own! What a stunning sweater.