AwareKnits: Knit & Crochet Projects for the Eco-Conscious Stitcher by Vickie Howell and Adrienne Armstrong
Our favorite knitter and crocheter Vickie Howell teams up with fellow knitter and environmentalist Adrienne Armstrong to create a unique book for us stitchers. (Adrienne also a sustainable living shop in Oakland, CA called The Atomic Garden and is wife of Green Day’s Billie Joe.) AwareKnits: Knit & Crochet Projects for the Eco-Conscious Stitcher incorporates important facts and tidbits on sustainable living among a showcase of 31 eco-friendly patterns you can make. Their style is fun and conversational; it’s not about pushing their ideas on you. It’s a way for all of us busy crafters (and moms) to become more informed on the choices we make each day. I actually read this book cover to cover when I received it just to soak up all the informative tidbits! Learn everything about sustainable yarns to the carcinogenic dangers of dry cleaning. The two authors together bring a wonderful perspective on how we can become more green through our love of knitting and crochet.
I got a chance to talk to Vickie and Adrienne about AwareKnits and other fun stuff. Today is also Adrienne’s birthday so Happy Birthday! Read on after the jump!
I love the concept of your book AwareKnits and the eco-friendly messages and tips peppered throughout the book. It’s like listening into a conversation between you and Adrienne. How did you two come together to work on this book?
Vickie: I interviewed Adrienne a couple of years ago for a 6-part podcast series I did called, CRL (Craft.Rock.Listen). The topic was incorporating eco-friendly aspects to one’s knitting. It was a great conversation that later turned into an article on the same subject, for my column in Knit.1 Magazine. The response to both were really positive — and someone posted somewhere that the two of us should write a book about alternative fibers together. That sparked the idea for what would become this book. I pitched the idea to Adrienne and she graciously agreed!
Adrienne, tell us more about Green Day + NRDC.
Adrienne: Billie Joe and I have personally been supporters of the NRDC for years. It made sense to bring the two together. The NRDC is a provenly credible organization with over 300+ scientists, lawyers and policy specialists. They actively keep you up to date on issues and make it easy to be apart of the solution. Being an online activist takes very little time and yet can make a huge impact. And I believe Green Day fans are the best fans in the world!! So together, we can make major changes that protect the health of our future.
When did you realize it was important for you to devote yourself into environmental activism?
Adrienne: I’ve always been interested in social issues but I think the environment came strongly into play for me after my first son, Joey, was born. One can’t help thinking of what kind of world they will grow up in.
A few years ago, you started Atomic Garden, a boutique in Oakland, CA specializing in all things sustainable and organic. What was the motivation to start this kind of boutique?
Adrienne: My friend Jamie and I were talking about how we hate shopping with so many mass produced clothing/accessories places. There just isn’t much heart or soul in retail. That led us to thinking first of designing our own clothing line sustainably and conscienciously crafted. But as jamie was in the designing/wholesale world before, she knew it was a world she didn’t want to re-enter.. So we decided to open a store with stuff that we would love to buy and wear. It takes a lot of searching, but there are wonderful people out there who want to do business differently and offer items that you feel good buying.
Vickie, with you in Austin and Adrienne in Oakland, do you have a fun story to share about the collaboration or research process for this book?
Vickie: I’m not sure that we could’ve collaborated if it weren’t for technology! We met in person to chat about the book a couple of times, when I’d fly out to California to stay with her. Mostly however, we wrote the entire book over e-mail and iChat. Usually about once a week we’d video conference from our respective home offices, more often than not in our pajamas (when you’ve got two, busy mamas working together you’ve gotta take the time when you can get it which was often, early morning or late at night!) We’d hold up yarns and swatches to the camera for each other to see, discuss the environmental issues we wanted to cover in the book, and send each other links to company’s or resources we were excited about. Our process, albeit untraditional, worked really well for us!
Visit Vickie Howell’s flickr set to preview more beautiful projects in the book.