Knitting and crocheting eco-friendly projects can be a great way to add to your home.

You can recycle yarn by unraveling a completed project and reusing the yarn for something new. Got a sweater you never wear? Use the yarn to create a shrug, a bag or even as part of an afghan. By recycling yarn, you’re saving on new manufactured yarn.

Natural fibers are also a way to go eco-friendly. Cotton and linen make great washcloths and fashion accessories.  Wool is super for socks and winter accessories like hats and scarves.

You could dye your own yarn. Usually this works best with natural fibers.  There are a variety of instructions on line. My favorite is using paste food dye from a cake decorating section of a craft store. It’s food safe, so no harsh chemicals. The colors are often an adventure in themselves, as they don’t usually turn out the same as they would on a cake.

A few years ago I discovered eco-friendly tawashi. Tawashi is a Japanese word, and is used to describe what many Americans call scrubbers or scrubbies.  The original tawashi look like real sponges, not manufactured.

Image of knitted scrubbie called Tribble2

Recently both knitters and crocheters have discovered the fun projects tawashi can be. Some are simple, and others more complex.  When they’re made with acrylic yarn, they become eco-friendly.

At first glance, that somehow seems wrong. The truth is acrylic tawashi use less soap — or even no soap — than manufactured equivalents.  They’re reusable. They can be washed in your machine, and even cleaned in the dishwasher. I’ve used both the light load and regular cycles. Avoid the microwave though as its temperatures may be too high, and the acrylic fibers may ignite.

As a bonus, most only take a few yards of yarn to make. And Red Heart Sasvers Yarn makes great tawashi at a very reasonable price.

Looking for tawashi patterns? Here are some free ones to get you started. My current favorite is the quick and easy Tribble pattern.

Got some favorite tawashi patterns? Leave a comment with the source to add them to this post.

To your happy & healthy knitting and caregiving,

Dr. Ina

Ina  Gilmore, MD

Founder, The Knitting Yarn and Caregiving With Purpose





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