Eco Knitting – Not Just For Grandmothers

Knitting is an age-old craft loved by grandmothers the world over. They spent the long winter nights tenderly knitting those wonderful jumper and cardigan creations that kept us snug and warm, not to mention the cute little booties for the new arrivals in our families.

But as clothes became cheaper, knitting – as a pastime and as an art form – became virtually redundant. However, the last decade has seen the resurgence of the craft, with a new breed of enthusiasts setting up knitting circles to share ideas and inspiration. With needles at the ready, they’re determined to breathe new life into the woolly art form.

So, what’s the attraction? Well, alongside being an eco-friendly and therapeutic hobby, knitting is a great way to produce fantastic, original designs that swap mass-produced fashion for something altogether more individual. Add to that the fact that you’ve created these masterpieces with your own fair hand and there’s rather a lot to proud of. Knitting allows you to model your personally created fashions, or give them away as uniquely personalised gifts for your friends and family.

Wind-powered knitting
One knitting enthusiast has combined natural energy with natural fibres to take knitting to a whole new level. Merel Karhof was committed to harnessing the natural wind energy generated in a nearby cul-de-sac, and so she created a ‘wind-knitting factory’. The contraption is essentially a hand-made windmill, attached to a loom. As the wind blows, the loom is activated, allowing the factory to quite literally ‘spin’ a wind-powered scarf.

Wind power

To add the finishing touches to her tube-scarf creations, Merel added a label to each scarf which included the date the scarf was made, and the length of time it took for the wind to knit it. Her wind-factory produced a wonderfully quirky collection of scarves made entirely from renewable energy sources. Pretty impressive, hey?

Knitting it all together
In addition to the creative aspects of knitting, the creative circles and clubs which have developed in recent years are now regarded as something of a social occasion. Many of those who attend knitting circles report that they go along as much for the opportunity to meet like-minded people as they do for the tutorials on pattern or techniques. Knitting circles breed a special kind of solidarity, connecting people within a community and allowing them to share and express their personal style – while creating unusual and innovative designs. Classes are welcoming and supportive, and usually very inexpensive – all you need is a pair of needles and a ball of wool!

Many knitting circles have also developed a strong community ethos, designing and producing special items to support charities and voluntary organisations working in the local area. From warm blankets for the elderly to premature clothing or teddies for newborn babies – knitting groups have become a supplier of vital warm clothing and supplies for charities supporting the most vulnerable people.

Like it or not, knitting is back in fashion. So, it’s time to dust off your yarn, and sharpen your needles…the winter’s a-coming, and you’re going to need a wool-filled wardrobe to stay warm. So what are you waiting for? Get knitting!

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We Are What We Do – Something To Inspire Us All

Every now and then, we come across an organization or product that really inspires us. One such organization is the simple, engaging and environmentally-friendly We are what we do. Rather aptly titled, the UK-based charity describes itself as ‘a global movement that inspires people to use their everyday behaviour to affect big environmental and social issues.’ It’s a pretty ambitious aim, but when you check out their credentials, they certainly pack a punch.

Remember the wonderful bag, designed by Anya Hindmarch, with the strapline ‘I’m NOT a plastic bag.’? A limited edition run, the bag became synonymous with the move away from plastic bags, and towards an altogether more sustainable way to carry groceries and other shopping. And the idea for the bag? It came from this great little charity that seems to be brimming with good green ideas.

I am not a plastic bag

Simple actions
If you check out the We are what we do website, you’ll find ideas for 132 actions that you can do right now, to help make life a little bit better for everyone. From saving energy to recycling, donating money to improving the area that you live in, there’s something for everyone. The website includes a live counter, which allows you to ‘report’ when you’ve completed an action – and with almost 5 million actions taken by site visitors, they’re definitely on to something! Examples of individual actions include:

#094 Make coffee for someone busier than you
#025 Use a mug, not a plastic cup
#101 Make someone smile
#013 Recycle your mobile phone
And my personal favorite…..#123 Don’t start a war.

The site demonstrates that small, simple actions have the power to change lives and improve our planet.

From humble beginnings
Founded by David Robinson, a community worker, and Eugenie Harvey, a communications and marketing specialist, the charity has attracted creative thinkers from business, government and the voluntary sector with the aim of finding new and innovative ways to change society for the better. The charity has published two books – including their bestselling Change the world for a fiver which included ideas contributed by people around the world which would make the world a better place. This was closely followed by Change the world 9–5 which focused on encouraging positive behaviour change in the workplace.

The organization is also committed to inspiring young people, and now runs a Young Speakers Program, training young volunteers to give talks and run assemblies in schools across the UK, which encourage their peers to take action on the issues that matter most to them. Their latest campaign, ‘Teach your granny to text’, is designed to encourage intergenerational bonding – helping young and old people to spend time together and learn from each other. So, there’s no shortage of great ideas, and site visitors are invited to contribute their own ideas too. So, if you’ve got a wonderful idea for improving life as we know it, why not email info@wearewhatwedo.org …if anyone can make it happen, they can!

The 10 Best Green Toys For Kids

I’m at that age now where everyone seems to be having kids so am constantly having to buy presents for them. Luckily there’s a lot of good stuff out there that’s eco-friendly, good quality and affordable. Here are 10 for you to have a look at:

Solar car

1. Organic Farm Playset. Made by Ever Earth from FSC certified renewable wood, this will teach children about crop diversity and farm animals. Available from By Nature, it’s the most expensive on the list at £40.

Veggie crate

2. Solar Powered Racing Car. Every boy (and some girls) love a racing car. This one will teach them about solar energy too. It costs from £24 Nigel’s Eco Store

3. Organic Veggie Crate. A soft carrot, mushroom, green bean and tomato made with organic cotton. £24.95 from By Nature. They’ll get cheaper I promise!

4. Horse Puppet Kit. From Nigel’s Eco Store, this good looking horse is made from recycled materials and costs £11.99.

Dinosaur

5. Pull Along Dinosaur. The cutest dinosaur in the world costs just £14.50 from By Nature. It’s made from FSC-certified wood and comes in recycled packaging.

6. Cardboard Playhouse. All kids want a playhouse sooner or later and this cardboard one from Nigel’s Eco Store is perfect for little ones. Well, you’ll need to keep it indoors when it’s raining obviously but it folds up and packs away easily. Also you can paint it yourself – or maybe let the kids do it… Priced from £32.95.

Clown

7. Stacking Clown. A classic from By Nature, this clown costs just £8.95 and is made with non-toxic paints. Check it out, I love the simplicity of it.

8. Wind Up Monkey Torch. Also available in dog, panda, penguin, tiger, cow, chick, pig err Santa and vampire bat ‘flavours’, this is a must for all kids. They just wind it up or give it a shake and then squeeze it to light the way. Only £5.99 from Nigel’s Eco Store.

9. Bamboo Baby Rattle. I haven’t forgotten babies, who can? They’ll love an ultra soft rattle made from bamboo. The bunny, bear or frog rattles cost £7.99 each from By Nature.

Truck

10. Eco Toy Dump Truck. Okay, I admit it this has been a liseof my favourites and this is a classic toy. Made from Sprig – a new material which is a combination of pine and recycled plastic – it’s strong enough to cope with any kid. And it’s bright yellow. Available from Nigel’s Eco Store it costs £15.99.

Last Chance To Enter The Green Awards 2010

Today (22 October) is deadline day to enter the 2010 Green Awards.

Green Awards

The categories are:

Best Green Educational Project (Promoting Sustainable Development Issues) – NEW, sponsored by Birds Eye/Iglo
Best Green Product Innovation – NEW, sponsored by Microsoft Corporation
Best Green Third/ Charity Sector Campaign Award
Best Green Advertising Award (Print & Outdoor)
Best CSR Report Award
Best Green Direct Response Award (Direct Mail /Drtv / Dr Radio Etc)
Best Green Event Award (Shows / Exhibitions)
Best Green Internal Communications Award
Best Green International Campaign Award, sponsored by Hayes & Jarvis
Best Green Mixed Media Award (Integrated)
Best Green Moving Image Award (Audio-Visual / TV Spot / Short Film / Animation)
Best Green Packaging Award
Best Green PR Campaign Award
Best Green Public Sector Campaign Award, sponsored by Yell, publisher of the Yellow Pages Yell.com and 118 24 7 telephone service
Best Green Use Of Online Media Award (Banners / Social Media Campaigns / Websites)
Best Green Use of Mobile Apps and Technologies – NEW
Green Awards Grand Prix (Awarded by the Judges)

So get in quick! Full entry requirements can be found on its website.

Which Is The Best Eco Deodorant?

We’ve reviewed a lot of eco deodorants on Life Goggles and the choice out there is growing every day? But which one should you choose?

Take a look at the options that we’re done detailed reviews of below and make your own mind up:

Tom’s of Maine Long Lasting All Natural Deodorant
Bionsen Deodorant
JASON Tea Tree Deodorant
Weleda Sage Deodorant
Green People Organic Homme Stay Cool Deodorant

Still not decided? Green community site Ooffoo has posted a great article by Maddy who’s tried a whole load of them herself.

New Beauty Brand Reminds You To Save Water

Stop The Water

There are a lot of great eco-friendly brands around these days so standing out from the crowd is getting harder and harder but one German company has avoided the usual brand name and gone with a message instead: Stop The Water While Using Me.

While the website isn’t quite finished, Stop The Water sells three different items: shampoo, shower gel and toothpaste. The big message on the front doesn’t leave you with any question of what you should do while using it – stop running the water.

As well as the organic and natural ingredients it’s packaged in biodegradable containers, something which is often missing from environmentally friendly beauty products.

You can find out more about Stop The Water and where to buy its products on its website.

Ecover Now On Facebook

I’m not the biggest Facebook user in the world, I can’t seem to work out whether it’s a good or a bad thing. And brands using it seems a bit strange as well but it makes more sense when something like Ecover gets together like-minded people to talk about the environment and related issues.

You can find the page here and there are a few interesting bits and bobs on there, not least a video featuring Natalie Imbruglia…

Ecover on Facebook