Scrappy Happy Hats and a Zero Waste New Year

Row House Zero Waste Hat

Hello, hello! I am writing just in time to wish you all the happiest of New Years. I’m one of those people that happens to like New Year’s resolutions. Not in a write a list sort of way, more in a mindful mess of intentions for the future way. So, I’ll begin with this hat and everything it represents to me.

This hat is made from my scrap pile. These fabrics are all remnants of the handwoven wool that Marrie of Double Whale Handwoven Designs made for me. I know I repeat myself in my blogs, but I also repeat myself in my daily life, so I’m consistent. Zero Waste. It’s not an achievement by any means, but it is a goal. Zero Waste is actually what keeps me up at night. I know, I know, there’s a drug for that, but I feel that this is a small corner of the world that I can impact. It is, however, a very hard goal to incorporate into a business.

Working from fabric scraps takes a zillion times longer than laying out yardage. This is why so much fabric ends up in landfill. It is way more cost effective to throw out large amounts of fabric scraps than to turn them into wearable art. Fixing this problem requires that designers and large scale manufacturers choose to slow down, but it also requires customers to understand that this is an expensive process.

Actually, it also requires that designers collectively choose to charge for this work. It’s just damn hard to make something by hand and then look someone in the eye and casually say this costs $325. Well, it is for me, anyways. I know I don’t throw around $325 easily…well, unless it’s for yarn. It’s scary to charge what an item is actually worth. Particularly when most designers are seriously undercharging.

The whole zero waste, sustainability, handmade movement will only work with a massive change of perception and that’s going to take some time, and I’m O.K. with that. In the mean time I will also make the hats I need to make in order to feed the tall kid and I won’t achieve my zero waste goal in 2020, but I think I will get there.

I had to keep this one for myself.

I have also been on a mission to come up with hats that have the same qualities as polar fleece, but are made with natural fibres. I played around with cutting up used textiles, I ordered some organic wool jersey fabric, the whole time muttering to myself that I just wanted to knit the hats. But, if we are on the topic of undervalued work, there ain’t nothing as undervalued as knitting. So, I had this story in my head that I could not sell a hand knitted hat. Instead, I needed to take a piece of knit fabric, cut it up, sew it back together, add to the scrap pile and then, only then, could I charge what I needed to charge to feed the kid and keep the heat on.

I made a few hats like this and then the insanity just became too much for me. Why in heaven’s name should I not take yarn, use only the amount it takes to make the hat, making the world’s oldest zero waste hat. That’s what knitting has always been. There is no cutting. All the shaping is made while making the fabric. It’s serious zero waste innovation, except that it’s hundreds of years old.

So, that’s what I have been doing. I’m knitting up a storm of hats and then felting them for super warmth and then wet felting pretty flowers to sew on and nothing is added to my scrap pile. I don’t have these hats up in my shop yet, but if you would love one then please let me know.

I have a thing for flowers on the top of my head.
This is Faye from The Mariner’s Daughter modelling this beret.
Felted seed stitch is truly a wonderful thing.
I just want to hug these hats

O.K, what else did I want to chat about? Instagram. I went back on Instagram. I just got to a point where I missed seeing what everybody else was making. There is much to be wary about with social media, but I do love how it can connect people through common passions. I am going back with open eyes. I don’t engage in anything remotely political or controversial. I prefer long form thoughtful media for the harder topics of life, but for connecting with local friends, knitters, designers and other local businesses Instagram is a pretty good tool You can find me @thehatjunkie.

Speaking of thoughtful…If you are someone that likes to think about those big topics like climate change then you might like this podcast. It’s actually the first interview regarding climate change that made me feel hopeful. If This Link doesn’t take you to the specific show, it’s called, How to Save Climate Change and Make Life More Awesome.

And Lastly, I need to show you the coat that I knit.

The pattern is called Sylvie, by Mari Muinonen

Well, that’s about enough for now. Thanks for spending some time with me. Have a wonderful new year.


  1. Vicki on December 31, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    Thank you Anna for taking me on such a beautiful walk through your neighborhood, and your new creations and Your life’s hopes and dreams .
    I am just going to have to come and try a few hats on for size! Maybe in the spring. Heard you knew of a good Airbnb.

  2. Angela on January 2, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    OMG Anna! The coat is incredible! You have become an very talented knitter. And, the new hats are lovely. So great to hear from you and get caught up. Keep up the good work.

    • HatJunkie on January 2, 2020 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks, Angela. So nice to hear from you. Happy New Year.