A Crafty Question

I consider myself fairly eco-conscious, and strive to be environmentally aware AND proactive, however I frequently fall short of that mark. As I come into this holiday season of gift making and giving, I find myself with a puzzling dilemma.

To set the stage, it seems that I am going to make a huge splurge on a play kitchen for my daughter’s Christmas present. I want her to have a play kitchen, and after searching high and low on the internets, I have come to the conclusion that I’m going to have to pay for the quality I want. I have tried to find a used one to give a good home to, but I’m sure this type of item goes fast, and most of the kitchens I come across do not meet my snobbish high standards. (Must be wood, preferably a neutral color if not natural, sturdy, and have a sink, stove, counter area, oven, cupboard, shelf space,…)

To complement my huge spending on this gift, we talked about wanting to give her something in addition, but not spend a lot of money, if any. So a girl needs accessories for her kitchen! I want to make her play food. Preferably of felt, although I came across a site that has a number of crochet and knitted patterns linked that I am definitely going to look into as well. As I was doing my research, however, I find myself with more on my mind than just potatoes and bananas. Which type of felt do I use?

Apparently this can be a heated issue between some crafters, and everyone has reasons for their own choices. This article I stumbled across boldly states one persons position, and made me think the most, especially from an environmental point. There are two options: wool, or acrylic.

Wool

Wool is more expensive, and there is the consideration of sustainability and processing. Optimally, I would do best with using felted thrift sweaters in my opinion, but would be increasing the time, effort, and energy I would need to incorporate in my creation of my gift, which honestly, at this point in the season, might be a bit much to ask of me. I already have a sweater or two I was thinking of felting from the thrift store that might work, but I am limited in the color choices I have. Another pro, via the tidbits I found while surfing the web, is that wool usually holds up better in crafted pieces than acrylic. I would like these pieces to stay around for a while, so I’m not sure how much consideration to give this, since I don’t have much experience comparing the two. If you have any input, please let me know!

Acrylic

Acrylic is by far the cheaper of the two, and I already have some very small scraps (again in some limited colors that may not be appealing in food form) that I could try to use. I know that there is one company, Kunin, that makes acrylic from recycled bottles, however that ups the price of the made item. Still not as close to the cost of wool, but enough to make me question its purchase when my goal is not to spend a lot. I also have to wonder about the health impacts of acrylic, even one made from recycled materials. Is there the same concerns about the chemical content of this format of plastic? I have to consider this since I know my little one will most likely put it in her mouth and chew on it a bit, as she is want to do. As for a personal opinion, I typically like the feel of wool better than acrylic, but that wouldn’t be the sole basis for my choice.

So there are my options. I will probably investigate the knitted and crochet foods, use what yarn scraps I can, use the felt I already have, and maybe make a few small purchases on colors of felt to fill out what I need. If I enjoy this (probably will) then I think I might continue making use of thrifted sweaters and yarn remnants in the future, when I have more time to leisurely pursue this venture. (HAHAHA! More time! I crack myself up!)

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the wool vs. acrylic question. Leave a comment, especially you lurkers!

1 comment to A Crafty Question

  • Sophanne

    IMHO, if you are going natural with the wood, I would continue the natural with the wool. Maybe there’s no huge difference but your child will have her hands on these items daily. There is plenty of petroleum based things she can touch all day llong. Give her something that comes from nature (though I guess acrylic kind of does-just a different kind of nature)- I guess I mean something that exists in the natural world.

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