Yarns and sustainability

In this post I will talk a little about yarns that we use to knit and crochet, with a focus on sustainability, and then I will tell you my opinion about it, but remember, this is a personal opinion and many people may think different about it. Also this is a much more complex subject than one might think, and nothing is just black or white.

—-  LONG POST AHEAD WARNING  —-

Yarns and threads are divided in 2 big groups, the synthetics and the naturals.

The most common synthetic fibres found in yarns are acrylic, nylon and polyester. Nowadays these can be quite soft and resemble wool, or they can give us textures that we don’t get with natural yarns. But, what these fibres have in common is that they are all petroleum based, and we all know the awful impacts that has on the environment.

On the other hand we have the natural fibres, that can be divided into animal fibres or plant fibres. The animal fibres can be:

wool – Wool is derived from the fur or hair of animals like sheep, goats, llamas and rabbits. These can be very soft and wonderful to work with. Even if you’re allergic and feel they are itchy, you have the choice of using merino or alpaca wool which are naturally hypoallergenic. Of course if we think about it, these also have some impact on the environment. Green house gas production, the way some animals are kept and treated…

silk – this is a luxurious fibre that’s strong but at the same time soft and delicate and naturally shiny. But guess what… the silk worms are killed in the process.

And this take us to plant fibres. There is a big range of plant fibres being used for yarns, the most common are cotton and linen but nowadays is getting easy to find also, hemp, soy, bamboo or banana silk. These are strong fibres and can give some nice textures to our knitted/crochet projects. At the first glance, these appear not to have the downsides of the synthetics or wools and be completely environment friendly, but are they? As I told you before nothing is black and white, and the truth is that most plantations of these plants use lots of chemicals that are harmful for the environment and animals.

And if you want to add an extra, many yarns (synthetic or natural) are dyed using harmful chemical dyes. So what should we do?

My opinion is that these are crazy times we are living in, where it appears to be nothing we can do without having some negative impact on our world. Of course the best choice would be to buy eco-friendly organic natural hand-dyed yarns, but lets be real, it’s not everyone who can pay $30 to $80 (or more) for a single skein of yarn. But still, there are some eco-friendly yarns that are also wallet-friendly. Personally I will do my best to use natural yarns even if they can’t always be completely organic. I believe that this is still a better choice than synthetic yarns. And even if they aren’t completely eco-friendly, we can choose from companies (or small businesses) that show they care and take some actions to make their production process more sustainable and help small communities. Here are some examples:

– Rosários 4 – is a Portuguese brand that shows that is concerned with the environment and now has several natural yarns available at wonderful prices. Some of them are Bio-wool, Bio-bamboo naturally dyed, re-use which is made from recycled cotton, and for example, Wollyboo which is made with natural fibres, spun without chemicals and dyed with natural dyes, and a 50g ball of this yarn costs around €3 (can’t get cheaper than that!!!). The downside, the official company website don’t have an online shop and it’s not easy to find some of their yarns.

– then we have the example of an online shop Retrosaria Rosa Pomar, which has been working personally with small communities to bring us natural yarns that are still produced in a traditional way, like Bucos.

– a more famous brand would be for example Malabrigo. They produce 100% merino wool yarns that are hand-dyed and show concernment for the environment.

I could give more examples of online shops and yarn brands but I believe this post is already long enough.

*just to make notice that I’m don’t have any connection with these brands and I don’t receive samples or am asked to make reviews. If I want to work with their yarns I have to buy and pay for them like anyone else

Torn Apart Shawlette – Shop Listing

This half-circle shawlette was hand knitted using a soft cotton/linen blend yarn.

I like to call it “torn apart”. Being inspired by the style “Mori kei” which means forest girl, I wanted to make a textured shawl that created the illusion that it was worn by someone who likes to stroll on the woods and may get caught in the tree branches and bushes.

You can find more information on my shop.

Cotton fingerless gloves – grey – shop listing

Cotton crochet fingerless gloves, handmade – grey – medium/medium small

These crochet fingerless gloves were handmade using a soft 100% cotton yarn in grey.

I wanted these gloves to be perfect for spring and summer, so they were made short in the cuff and with an open pattern. My inspiration for them came from the Japanese style “mori kei” – which means forest girl – and also from the victorian and edwardian era.

  • approximately 12.7cm/ 5″ long and 18cm/ 7.1″ around    —-   The gloves are slightly elastic and should fit a medium/ medium small size woman hand. You can find a hand size chart here.

You can find this item on my online shop.

Ramses Ram – shop listing

Ramses Ram – handmade small fleece plush, stuffed animal

IMG_0284

This is Ramses Ram, LadyLamb’s mascot. This small little ram may look serious, but in fact, he’s a softie.

He was handmade using fleece, felt, and cotton, safety eyes, and he’s filled with felt and wool love.

You can find out more about him here.

Crescent shape grey shawl

This crescent shape shawl was hand knitted using a soft wool/nylon blend yarn. Its colors varies between light and dark shades of grey to form stripes.

  • 75% wool, 25% nylon
  • approximately 180cm long by 45cm / 70.8″ x 17“

When I was knitting this shawl I wanted it to be simple but elegant. I was looking for something light enough to flow on the shoulders on a warm spring day and cozy enough to wrap around if the wind blows.

My inspiration for my items come, among others, from the Japanese style “mori kei” – which means forest girl – and from the victorian and edwardian fashions.

You can find this item on my online shop.

Cotton fingerless gloves – shop listing

Cotton crochet fingerless gloves, handmade and naturally dyed with tea – small Cotton fingerless gloves; tea; small These crochet fingerless gloves were handmade using a soft 100% cotton yarn. The yarn was naturally hand dyed with tea, which gave it an ecru/sepia color.

I wanted these gloves to be perfect for spring and summer, so they were made short in the cuff and with an open pattern. My inspiration for them came from the Japanese style “mori kei” – which means forest girl – and also from the victorian and edwardian era.

You can find this item on my online shop.

LadyLamb – part 2 – plans for the future

On the 1st part of this topic – LadyLamb – Than and Now – I told you about my path until the present. On the 2nd part I want to tell you my plans for the future.

I love LadyLamb too much to give up on it so, right now I’m working on new items to sell. This time I’m trying to keep myself more organised and, I have some ideas to focus on. I’m also planning a series of blog posts so I can update the blog more frequently, although I better not make promises about this. :)

So basically I want to continue to do mainly knitted and crochet accessories, but this time with a focus on sustainability.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to work this brand as I wish but right now, I don’t just want to sell my hobby items anymore, I want to create, what is called a sustainable business or green business.

A sustainable business, is an enterprise that has minimal negative impact on the global or local environment, community, society, or economy. In general, a business is described as green if it matches the following four criteria:

  1. It incorporates principles of sustainability into each of its business decisions.
  2. It supplies environmentally friendly products or services that replaces demand for nongreen products and/or services.
  3. It is greener than traditional competition.
  4. It has made an enduring commitment to environmental principles in its business operations.

To make this a green business, these are some of the measures I plan to take:

  • make my own packaging by recycling materials and/or using eco-friendly materials
  • Use yarns of organic production whenever possible
  • Use second hand yarns (don’t let the “second hand” name fool you, I still focus on quality when choosing these, and many yarns sold on second-hand stores were actually never used before)
  • Buy supplies in local shops whenever possible

I will work towards this goal and I hope you enjoy my future items and blog posts.

LadyLamb – Part 1 – Than and Now

Hello everyone, I’m back and I though now would be a good time to tell you a little about LadyLamb – where it comes from and where I want it to go. This will be a 2 part topic, and I hope it’s not too boring :)

When I started with LadyLamb on Etsy it was just because I’m a crafts addict. Since I was knitting and crocheting as a hobby I could as well put the items online for sale, instead of just accumulating them at home. So the shop was really random and I didn’t had a consistent line of items.

Later I got more inspired by the Victorian Era and Steampunk fashion and focused more on crochet chokers and necklaces. This period was more consistent in terms of the kind of items I did, but it was still a hobby. I had a job and that didn’t left me much time to work on new designs and make a bigger quantity of items.

Then I moved to a different country with my husband. A backpack and a suitcase each and here we go. I had to leave the few item I had made behind, and we had months of adaptation in front of us so I had to close the store for some time. Already settled I was tempted to do some things to sell at a Christmas market, and since I was “playing” with needle felting, the Mori Critters were born. I still like them and I will probably do some more in the future but I have to admit that, although I enjoy needle felting, it’s just not my thing.

After that, there was the accident. I lost my place to live and among many other things the Mori Critters and Mori Accorns that I had done. So the shop was close again, indefinitely. I just opened it a few months later because I had a request for my online pattern of the Candy Cane gloves, and that’s the only thing that I have in the shop until now.

And that takes us to the present, but this post is already too long, so I will leave the rest for part 2. In part 2 I will tell you about my plans and how I would like to develop LadyLamb.

Sad News

Just a quick post with some sad news.

Last week there was a fire and the apartment where I was living burned down. Fortunately no one was hurt and lots of our things weren’t burned. Our drawings and art supplies, hubby’s new bike, documents, those were OK. And the greatest miracle of all was that my 2 little mice (Frankie and Benjy) survived the fire. It was really amazing! I was convinced that I was just going to pick them up to buried them, when suddenly I saw movement on their nest. I was so happy. They are both alive and they don´t even have breathing problems.

But we still lost some things. We lost our computers, the antique sewing machine, I lost my Pullip doll and my mori critters… (So I guess the shop will be closed for some time.) And worse than that… We need to find another place to live. Fortunately we have friends that have been helping us with everything, but finding an apartment is not easy at all, so right now we are fighting to keep positive and not to become desperate.

We still have hope that better days will come. I will write again then.

Vintage sewing machine

This post is especially for the sewing enthusiasts out there. If you’re like me, one thing that you immediately notice when you are in a flea market, second hand shop or antique shop, is old sewing machines, old looms, old bobbin lace pillows and stands… So you can imagine how I felt when I bought an old end of 19th century sewing machine.



I was happy not only because it’s a beautiful machine but because I knew the machine was working. Unfortunately I couldn’t find it’s brand and model, it looks like a Singer but in some parts is different from all the Singer models I found. I couldn’t find any more information about this particular machine, and it was my first time using a machine so old. Because of this, when I first used the machine, it felt like I was solving a puzzle. How do I wind the bobbin? How can I put it down there? Where is the thread suppose to go first? Can I fix the tension in this thing?

It was a fun challenge and I finally made it work. I was happy, it was working… although…it was so stiff. I had already put oil in a lot of places but still, it was so stiff that my arm was already hurting. Then suddenly I found a little spot that I forgot to oil. It was amazing!!! As soon as I put oil in that spot the machine was working like new. I didn’t had to do any strength pushing the handle! It was really amazing! So now you can imagine, I feel like I won the lottery. I got an old 19th century sewing machine for a nice price and that is working like new. What more could I want?

You can watch the movie and see it in action. And oh that lovely sound!  :)