What does it mean for a fiber craft product to be sustainably made? Not all are locally made, but there are elements of the supply chain that can be traced to fair treatment of the planet and its people. Simply making your own clothing or gifts = sustainability. Much like the slow food movement, Fibershed asks ‘do you know where your textiles come from?’ If you ask, I bet you will be surprised, and probably horrified, at the answers.
Rabbit Row Yarns & Haberdashery is a modern needle and fiber craft supply shop in the historic Corning Gaffer District. Hand crafters will find a curated collection of sustainable materials and tools that are US-sourced and represent diversity and fair trade. Whether patrons knit, crochet, weave or dabble in haberdashery sister crafts like embroidery, spinning or weaving, they will find Rabbit Row is a welcoming community that especially fosters makers to try their hand at something new.
As the shop concept for Rabbit Row was developing, I began researching sustainable fiber materials, and quickly learned that most US wool is shipped across the world for processing and dyeing to places not so concerned with the environment or fair labor treatment – only to be shipped back to LYSs. This doesn’t even account for the synthetic yarns that make up inventory at most big box craft stores. Further reading led me to find the NY Textile Lab, Clara Parkes, and Local Fiber – there is so much going on in the sustainable fiber world nearby,
and I wanted to be a bigger part of it.
Rabbit Row encourages handicraft makers to learn where and how their supplies are made and add sustainably-sourced materials to their project bag as often as they can.
“Do the best you can until you know better.
Then when you know better, do better.” ― Maya Angelou.
I was taught to crochet by my namesake maternal grandmother. She lived 6 hours away in Connecticut, and I LOVED visiting her because she would teach me wonderful things (plus she had cable TV and a dog – we had neither.) She tried showing me how to crochet a top-down cardigan for my baby doll once. I didn’t quite pick up the technique, but I still have that small-scaled sweater tucked into my notions bag. I referred to it this past spring when I was crocheting the robe for an RBG doll.
My paternal grandmother taught me cross stitch and embroidery. She lived outside of Philadelphia, and I LOVED visiting because she would teach me other wonderful things. Her Golden Rule, that the backside of needlework should look as neat as the front, was difficult for me to master. She was patient and had the most defined touch with whatever she was creating. I realize that my fine motor skills hadn’t developed back then, and I’m happy now to take my time to ensure a perfect stitch.
With handcrafting, there is always a nostalgic whisper when exploring something new. I hope you find the same at Rabbit Row.
My maiden name, Haas, means rabbit in German;
I knit in rows - hence, Rabbit Row was conceived.