Stuck Indoors? Try This Relaxing, Green Hobby!

Dishcloths and Diaper coverAs winter drags on I find that one monotonous day seems to drag into the next with no escape. All the “green” hobbies of other seasons, such as gardening, hiking or going for a nice family bike ride, are much less practical, if not impossible, during these blustery days.

So, what should you do with all this extra time you find wasting away indoors?

Why not take up knitting?

At it’s heart, knitting is one of the most relaxing and rewarding crafts you can enjoy, not to mention incredibly green and sustainable if you stick with wool and cotton yarns (especially those dyed with natural dyes or handspun by one of the many wonderful WAHMs on the internet).

Beyond the actual materials used by the craft, many of the finished projects can help you promote a greener lifestyle as well. Take dishcloths and cloth diaper covers, for example. To top it off, knitting is a very portable craft that can easily be slipped into a purse or diaper bag, and is simple to only work on for a few minutes at a time if that is all the chance you get. Yes, yes, I do believe that knitting is the perfect winter hobby.

Where to begin? Well, if you are completely new to knitting or only picked up a few basics from your roommate in college, then a terrific place to start is This terrific (and free!) site has clear and simple videos that will walk you through practically every stitch and technique imaginable, from casting on to binding off (start to finish, in other words). The site also features some simple patterns to get you started.

Another great place to get advice and find a plethora of patterns is on– the foremost knitting and crocheting community on the web. This beta site allows you to keep track of your own projects as well as view others’ handmade creations, plus much more.

Yet another well-loved site among knitters on the web is This quarterly website features patterns and tricks of the trade for every season, not to mention some helpful product links as well.

For you cloth diapering mamas out there who want to begin to make your own adorable covers (soakers, wraps, longies and shorties) for your babes, try these sites out for the best patterns on the net (in my humble opinion): Wooly Wonder, Little Turtle Knits and Curly Purly.

A very simple (and reusable) project to start out with is a dishcloth. The Monthly Dishcloth Knit Along (or KAL) Blog is a wonderful place to start. This blog posts 7-10 rows of knitting a day for you to create two distinctly different and mysterious dishcloths a month. A KAL such as this is a terrific way to get exposed to lots of different techniques and stitches in small quantities, and the size and organization of the projects makes them easy to complete. There is also a Yahoo Group for this blog that allows members to receive their new rows via e-mail everyday, along with the opportunity to ask questions of other, more experienced knitters.

So you have looked over some basic techniques and chosen a pattern for your first project-now you need some supplies! Your pattern will suggest a gauge of needle, whether the needles should be standard, circular or double-pointed, and approximately how much yarn you will need and of what weight. Sound like a lot? It really isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Basic straight needles from JoAnn fabrics or your other local crafting store will be more than sufficient for most straight-needle projects, and they are relatively cheap. Circular needles can always be used as a substitute for straight needles, but you should be a little bit more choosey in the brands you buy. Here are my top picks:

Addi Turbo
Susan Bates

Then, of course, there is the yarn!

While basic wool or cotton brands from your crafting store will suffice, the softer, higher quality yarns are easier to work with, produce a better product and are all-in-all “greener.” Your options for finding these yarns online are endless! Some favorite lookouts of mine are and of course has a large page completely devoted to yarn, with reviews links and pretty much everything you could ever want to know about what is currently available. Some of my personal favorite yarn shops are:

Three Irish Girls
Plum Knit Yarn Supply
LlamaJama Yarn Shop
100 Pure Wool

So, you’ve got your supplies and your pattern in hand, now go pour yourself a cup of tea, prop up your feet and prepare to relax while being oh, so productive… and green!

An original 5 Minutes for Going Green post. Follow the rest of MacKenzie’s musings on being a birth and postpartum doula while pregnant, totschooling her son, and still finding time to knit, at Mama Kenz Studio.

5 Responses to Stuck Indoors? Try This Relaxing, Green Hobby!
  1. Green Resolutions
    February 5, 2009 | 9:51 am

    I JUST asked my grandmother to teach me to knit. I’m halfway through my first dishcloth, but it is a tough hobby if you have a 2-year-old who is very interested in the yarn :)

    Thanks for all the resources you mentioned. I did join Ravelry not long ago and it looks so awesome.

  2. Kerri Anne (
    February 5, 2009 | 4:18 pm

    Thanks for all the great knitting info! I just started teaching myself to knit about a month or so ago. I’m loving it thus far, though it is definitely slow going at this point.

    I will say that the tutorials on are indeed SUPER helpful and I would also recommend them to anyone.

  3. Is it Easy Being Green
    February 6, 2009 | 1:10 pm

    Thanks for the great post on knitting. I’ve been knitting for about 10 years and it’s the perfect wintertime hobby. I agree that Ravelry and Knitty are excellent sites!

  4. […] MacKenzie touched on in her February 5th article, knitting is a great and relatively green hobby. My mom has found a way to make it even more […]

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    August 20, 2009 | 1:05 pm

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