Hi, my name is Sonya and I create the patterns for The Road to Knitting but when I’m not working on patterns for here I make products for our sister company Jefferson Crafts! Jefferson Crafts sells “beautifully crafted eco items for your home”. Our ethos is all about getting people live more sustainably so I thought why not share the eco love with my Road to Knitting fans? I have decided to put all our current knitted items onto one pattern pack for you.
The first pattern in the pack is for reusable make-up wipes, I knitted these out of cotton but used a moss stitch pattern to give them a gentle exfoliating finish. I made some coloured and some plain but actually they all wash well so the choice is yours. These little pads can be used with any make-up remover you like and then popped in with your general washing, I think the make-up remover must help in the washing to get them clean enough without needing to soak them. This cuts down on consumption of cotton wool or make-up remover wipes (which actually contain plastic so don’t biodegrade well).
The second pattern in the pack is for a soap saver which is one of the best sellers on Jefferson Crafts market stall. People often comment that usually soap savers are only available in cream or plain so we like to make ours out of funky colours. Soap savers are great as the pattern we make holds either a whole bar of soap or you can fill it with the little pieces from around the house. When used in the bath or shower the soap foams up just like shower gel so you can reduce your plastic consumption from the plastic bottle and from the plastic scrubber by using a bar of soap. Please be aware when making these they do look quite small but the stretch rather a lot so our one is big enough for a bar but won’t stretch too long when hung to dry.
In the third pattern we move on to the kitchen with a jute pan scrubber, another top seller on the stall. This scrubber is hard wearing and works just as well as a scrubber sponge on burnt on items but is also very gentle. The issue with synthetic sponges is they are usually made of plastic polymers which take many thousands of years to biodegrade and are not compostable, cellulose sponges are slightly better but are still full of chemicals as both types of sponges are impregnated with bacteria reducing chemicals, there are also suggestions that particles break off contributing to microplastics in the oceans. Jute is naturally antibacterial and can be composted although we have heard of people getting years of life out of their jute scrubbers.
Lastly, we have our dishcloths, these are made in two sizes. I first designed the smaller one and gave them to family members to try, my sons feedback was “It’s ok but with my big hands I can’t really get it to the bottom of a pint glass.” So, I made it bigger and he loves it! I am happy with my small one still though. Both size dishcloths, when in use, take slightly longer to dry that a J-cloth but I hang mine from the side of my washing up bowl and haven’t had a problem with it yet.
What yarn to use?
There are a couple of choices for yarns available for the cottons, the less expensive choice is WI dishcloth yarn, the more colourful choice is Lily Sugar ‘n Cream and the most expensive choice is bamboo yarn for dishcloths, although some would argue bamboo is the most sustainable. There are a few different scrubby yarns available but these seem to have limited availability so any pan scrub yarn you can find will do. I found jute did not make a good dishcloth scrub because even with soaking and shrinkage it was considerably larger than the cotton but feel free to let us know if you have luck with any non-plastic substitutes. The great thing about the scrub parts of the dishcloth are that you can get into the stubborn stained corners of dishes easier than with a sponge or the most popular comment we hear is that when you are cleaning the work surfaces you don’t have to get the sponge out for a stubborn bit, you can just scrub it up and carry on with the dishcloth.
The jute we use for pan scrubbers is just ordinary Jute yarn available from various places such as home stores or the internet, the one we use is 3 ply and only a few mm across. We have not had success with dyed craft jute for this as we found the dye ran but the natural jute works well. Be warned though it is hard going on the old hands, it doesn’t have the flexibility of other knitting yarns but I love being experimental so this isn’t the hardest thing I’ve knitted. Also using larger needles makes it easier. After knitting with jute we soak our products in non-bio detergent overnight before rinsing and drying, this is because the jute is quite grainy, so expect messy water, and shrinks to make a tighter weave. Jute is naturally antibacterial so is fine to use in the kitchen, although one of our customers told us she loves using it to clean her bathroom.
We love all our knitted products as they are durable enough to be put in the washing machine with your clothes but can also be put in a bowl of boiling water to sterilize which is why we don’t recommend you just make them from just any yarn you have at home but use dishcloth yarn or jute as appropriate. And if made from cotton or Jute at end of life they are biodegradable or compostable, apart from the scrub yarn.
View the Eco-friendly knitting patterns in our shop.