New trends in Crafting - CHSI Stitches 2022

Last Monday, I had the pleasure of attending the media day of the CHSI Stitches craft trade show at the NEC.

This show is a large exhibition hall filled with craft companies who are there to promote their wares wholesale to local craft shops and businesses etc and also a series of presentations. The Craft Report - Crafting to Net Zero was presented at the show which is right up my street as crafting more sustainably has always been an interest of mine.

It was just the best thing to be back in an actual real people event, meeting like minded people and spending a day chatting about crafts.

The show is a chance for companies to showcase their new products and as sustainability was such a strong theme so let’s start by looking at some of the products I spotted with eco friendly, sustainable and recycled credentials.

Sustainable Craft Supplies

Creative Solutions had a large stand displaying many of the brands they supply wholesale.

These 2 products from Prym caught my eye. Recycled buttons and these lovely patches made from recycled plastic bottles. I’ve found the lovely earth hug patch and the Plant a Tree patch available to buy from Minerva, they also stock some of the recycled buttons too.

This Seracycle thread from Mettler is made from recycled plastic bottles and these Bonfanti Eco Buttons are made from a range of materials with various eco friendly credentials.

I’ve not found anywhere I can link to that stocks that thread or buttons just yet but Minerva has a similar sewing thread from Gutermann which is also recycled from plastic bottles.

Wendy has a gorgeous new yarn coming out soon called Knit’s Recycled that is made from recycled plastic bottles, Oh my goodness is is super soft to touch, I’ve no idea how they do it. I’ll add links to somewhere you can buy this as soon as I find some! They shared details of how it’s made on their Insta just the other day.

ReTwisst Chainy Cotton Cake is a lovely yarn cake made from recycled fibres that’s been around for a while now. I found it to buy here: ReTwisst Chainey Cotton.

James C Brett are launching a yarn made from recycled textiles called Second Chance that will also be hitting the shops soon and will be available in a whole range of gorgeous colours.

Stylecraft have this beautiful ReCreate yarn which is made from 100% recycled fibres. It’s been out since last year and from the samples on display looks like it works up beautifully. I’ve found it available to buy here and here.

King Cole have a couple of recycled yarns too, Limited Edition and Forest, both made from recycled materials. You can buy Forest here and here and Limited Edition here and here.

Thinking about the choices we make when choosing craft supplies and trying to pick more sustainably has got to be a good thing hasn’t it? You all know I love a good upcycling project and using what you have before buying more is always the best option, but something we do need new supplies for our crafting so it’s great to know manufacturers are taking this on board and shifting their processes and materials to make it easier for the consumer to make good choices.

In the afternoon I got to see Jane Makovers presentation on Sustainable Textiles and she provided lots of food for thought. “The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 have challenged us all to look at the world from a new perspective. Everyone in textiles from the largest fashion brands to the smallest independent businesses have an opportunity to act differently and to reconsider how we pursue profit and growth while creating new value for our economy. It comes with an urgent need to place environmental, social and ethical improvements on our agenda.”

Jane talked about the “make do and mend” ethos which is so popular now (long may it continue), campaigns like the fast fashion rebellion, Oxfam’s 2nd hand September and designer Vivienne Westwood’s call for us all to “buy less, choose well, make it last”. She also she spoke about more complex issues like product labeling and the plethora of standards logos and marks which can be very confusing. Things like GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), OEKO-TEC (which is all about not using harmful substances in production), the Better Cotton Initiative and the new Global Recycling Standard.

Making a good environmental choices when it comes to textiles can be challenging. Organic cotton seems like an eco choice no brainer but cotton production is incredibly water intensive. Bamboo was heralded a few years ago as a great environmental choice as a fabric as it grows so fast however turning the stems into fabric is a very chemical heavy process and something like Lyocell or Tencel might be better as it uses less water, less chemicals etc.

Add in ethical considerations for the workers who grow raw materials and process fabrics and it’s gets even more complicated for us to make those good choices. My main takeaway from this whole thing was exactly that, it’s really, really complicated. It’s a bit like the Almond Milk thing in The Good Place, making the right choice is difficult for consumers.

Apparently 50 trucks of fabric, clothes and textiles goes to landfill everyday in the UK alone, I’m afraid I can’t verify that stat as I didn’t note the source (I was too busy listening to take lots of notes!) but ClothesAid say that 350,00 tonnes of used but still wearable clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year which I find totally shocking.

Every garment we refashion or mend is one less garment going to waste, and I refuse to believe that individuals can’t make a difference. What is a million people after all if not one million individuals. If they all change their habits that’s a million people behaving differently right?

Let’s finish by taking a look at some on the other gorgeous new craft kits and supplies that caught my eye at the show.

New Craft Kits and Trends 2022

Cotton Clara is one of my favourite craft kit designers and Chloe has a book out too now called Sisters Gonna Stitch which is just fabulous.

Another craft kit company I love is Hawthorn Handmade and they have a whole load of gorgeous new designs out. I’ve made a couple of their kits over the years and always been really pleased with the contents and results.

A new company I’d not seen before is Crafty You, Crafty Me who have kits for needlefelting, mosaic, sewing and macrame. Those cacti are super cute and who wouldn’t want a pom pom garland (that looks a bit like a garland of mini balls of yarn to me!)

Hardicraft are a Dutch company who make beautiful crochet and knit toy kits like this sweet pig. They have a few international stockists so you might find one near you. They were at the show to increase their stockists in the UK so hopefully we’ll see them around more soon.

I fell instantly in love with this fabric panel from Nutex, I found it available to buy on Etsy and snapped one up for myself but there are some still listed if you “need” one in your life too! Sewing Fabric Panel

The Makerss are another kit company that I love. They do some amazing needle felting kits and they now provide compostable eco wool felting mats instead of the regular foam ones you normally see. These beautiful butterflies are needle felted onto a water soluble paper which sounds fun. The little needle felted bear I made a few weeks ago was a kit from The Makerss. They have a few really excellent tutorials to watch online if you are a beginner too, you’ll find them on their website.

This sweet little cross stitch flamingo card is from Stitchfinity, I think it would be perfect for a wedding or anniversary. Stitchfinity have a lot of information on their website about steps they are taking to make their products as sustainable as possible too which is great for the consumer.

Last but by no means least I had the pleasure of meeting Stuart Hillard as you can see! What a lovely man! Super friendly and chatty :-) Stuart was a contestant on the first series of the Great British Sewing Bee way back in 2013, has written several books and writes regular sewing magazine columns. Stuart was at the show to showcase the lovely new sock yarns, Head over Heels - Colours of the World range that he designed along with Stylecraft. It’s that super clever yarn that pools perfectly as you knit up your socks so you get all the fabulous patterns without having to change your yarn and sew in lots of pesky ends.

All in all a lovely and very interesting day. I hope I’ve been able to give you all a sense of some of the exciting developments coming in the world of crafts.