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Eco crafting with our August BeWeave Yarn & Fibre Box

Our August yarn and fibre subscription box introduced us to a range of eco friendly and sustainable yarns. Although at first glance these yarns are a little unusual and perhaps even a little scary, they are also really fun to use and besides their cool eco properties, have a really interesting look and feel that will provide unique detail and a talking point for your creations.

The BeWeave box theme was reuse, reduce, re-purpose and recycle. It was fun to source various yarns for our BeWeavers to explore, that fitted the theme. This included a fun day out shopping across local Adelaide Salvos and second hand stores for the non fibre item.

Yarn and Fibre subscription box
Eco BeWeave Box

You may not realize, but there are so many eco options avalialbe to us as fibre artists. Besides recycled ribbons such as sari silk, which has taken a huge leap in popularity over the past few years and is created using the off cuts collected from sari manufacturing, there are also eco options for most other fibres too. Searching for recycled yarns will show you products in cotton, linen, silk, denim and much more, available in various textures and composition. The no waste culture is now expanding further within the industry where things such as wool neps and waste threads are also being collected from factories, and rather than being disposed of are now being repurposed and used for embellishing.

This months BeWeave box was an opportunity to push boundaries with some more unusual products and it has done just that. Already I have seen makers use some of the more unfamiliar items within their pieces and use them to recreate projects they have made before using the different medium for a whole new look.

One of the other things that make this months box stand out is that this is the first time in 19 boxes where no two boxes are exactly the same. Two of the products in each box were different to everyone else. Lets take a look at what was in the August BeWeave Yarn and Fibre subscription box.

Denim Ribbon – as a firm lover of ribbon for weaving in all its form, but especially ribbon an inch wide, I was so excited to get my hands on these and they didn’t disappoint. The denim ribbon is created using the by products and waste collected from denim factories. Denim fabric is torn or cut into strips which are sewn together to create one long ribbon. It is not as agile as most ribbons given its structure but it still folds and twists well, meaning you can weave with it. Plus it looks amazing and will lend itself to some more unique projects.

Cotton Feswa – FESWA is a foundation that promotes, advocates and supports human rights for women, children and other marginalised groups in rural and tribal areas throughout India. Denoting the elements of Fire, Earth, Sky, Water and Air FESWA stands for Fraternity for Economic and Social Welfare Awareness.

When you see this alongside yarn it means it has been prepared, dyed and hand spun by women in these villages, often on a drop spindle.

This particular hand spun cotton yarn is made from recycled cotton waste and has beautiful flecks throughout with a rustic feel.

Newspaper yarn – Made by re-purposing old newspapers, pages are rolled and gently twisted to create this one of a kind yarn, and makes for a great challenge in this months box. It is a little stiffer than most yarns you would be familiar with and I recommend a gentle touch when working with it. With great potential across weaving, crochet and sculptural pieces, Newspaper yarn provides an interesting visual with its various patterns which are created through the text and imagery that is printed on the paper. A simple tabby will highlight this unique feature.

hand spun yarn hanging
Hand Spun Art Yarn

Hand Spun Yarn – This addition to the box was the most time consuming as I aimed to hand spin a scrappy art yarn for each box.

Starting by carding an art batt on my drum carder, I used scraps of merino wool top, silk and mohair from my weaving work and ends of bundles from the shop. I then embellished these with Macrame cotton scraps and other yarn bits I have collected over the years with a no waste policy.

Did you know that you only need about 3 cm of yarn or string to add to your batt to give you a textured pop when spun?

Each batt was then hand spun into a textured art yarn perfect for weaving on my Ashford Country Spinning Wheel. Every yarn has been spun into a thick and thin single before being chain plied to create a fun, messy, scrappy art yarn. Given the different fibre blends and embellishments, no two yarns were the same.

Fabric: - I have been collecting second hand pieces of fabric to tear into ribbons and weave with for a long time. This started when I did an Amish rug weaving workshop a few years ago. Whenever I could I would find old sheets, curtains and other items as well as gather off cuts from creative friends with handmade sewing businesses. .It is such a simple way to gather new patterns for your work. The fabric ribbons in the BeWeave Box have all come from the same piece of fabric however the pattern varied.

Broach – The non fibre item in the August box was a second hand broach that was purchased with the intention of re-purposing from an Adelaide second hand store. I looked for similar shaped broaches and ones with pins so they were easy to attach to your work. Most broaches had a stone in the center and were either gold or silver in appearance. Like the hand spun yarn, no two broaches were the same and I am so excited to see how you incorporate these.

Lastly our inspiration project for the month was a quick rustic denim flower project incorporating the broach. This simple project can be attached to a large woven wall hanging as a statement feature or simply hung on its own and can be adapted to include as many petals as you wish or folding longer pieces to create loopy petals like our BeWeavers version below.

Some of our BeWeavers have already started to play around with their ribbons and yarns. Lets see some of the pieces already made.

Anne has created a flower bow while Kate has made a two versions of flowers using the cotton Feswa yarn and the denim ribbon, which also incorporate the buttons from last months box. The woven wall hanging also includes some of the hand spun yarn and ribbons from previous months. It is great to see the boxes being used together.

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