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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Environmentally friendly

Every knitting magazine I open these days seem to have an article on environmentally friendly practices and yarn. It's all organic yarn, buy locally produced yarn and reuse and recycle. Don't get me wong, these things are all fab ideas but I feel like I'm being bullied.

Take 'buy locally produced.....', There are lots of sheep in Britain. 10 mins drive from our house is Bodmin Moor and there is sheep everywhere. What happens to the fleece of these sheep, what breed they are and what the sheep is actually like if spun into yarn I've no idea. There are lots of British sheep breeds that produce gorgeous yarn though. My Merino Sock Yarn is bought from a UK company but to be honest I don't know where they source it from. I'm assuming it's not from the UK. The rest of my merino yarns come from Uruguay. it comes from a small mill in Uruguay, so I'm assuming it's providing jobs for local people and I hope they're being paid a fair wage for it. I could get Bluefaced Leicester or Shetland yarn instead. It might be just as nice. But that would mean that the people working in the mill in Uruguay would loose out. Do they need money more than British farmers? it's a big dilemma.

During Fibre Fest in Devon last year, I visited a local mill. It's a small mill which is still working. We had a tour of the mill and was given tons of info. One of the things they told us was that one part of the process of fleece into yarn, I think it was the bit where the fibre is turned into tops, but I'm not 100% sure. Anyway this bit of the process could no longer be done in the UK. And fibres were being sent to South American or South Africa to be processed then coming back to hte UK to be spun. That's a lot of airmiles. So is buying locally produced yarn really any better?

I try to do my bit for the environment. I recycle plastic bottles, paper, cardboard etc. It's amazing how much less rubbish we put out now.

As for yarn dyeing now that I'm dyeing yarn in the garage I'm using a lot less water for dyeing and resuing a lot of water as at the moment I'm carrying water from the kitchen which is kind of a bore. So I'm being a lot more careful with water usage.

Sorry I've been rambling on. If you're still reading, if you're sensible you've gone off and read another more interesting blog by now, maybe I should show you some spining pics.

I've got a merino silk roving from The Yarn Yard and one from Fybrespates and hte two were amazingly similar in colour. Here they are side by side:
Yarn Yard on the left and Fyberspates on the right.

I did think that I might spin both into singles and then ply them togehter but I've decided against that now. I'm halfway through spinning hte Yarn Yard one. Just started the 2nd bobbin. Then I'm doing the Fyberspates one. When they're both spun and plied I may use it for the same project, but exactly what that'll be I'm not sure.

Here's some of the roving predrafted ready to spin.And some on the bobbin:


Tama said...

Thank you so much for your comments on the "environmental" issues!!! I agree so much. I do what I can to support local fiber growers, local mills, etc. but in todays world to ONLY buy locally produced items is a little unrealistic--not to mention impossible.

Lovely spinning!

Sharon said...

We try and think about where our food and other things come from. We have an organic veg box delivered every week and we don't do a weekly supermarket run - we have a very good village shop so we use that for milk etc. We're also lucky enough to be able to buy flour from a mill about 5 miles away and we have a local farmer's market. It's a difficult issue and some folk are rather sensitive about it. I have to say, I haven't really thought too much about where my yarn comes from. I think your point about flying yarn out of the UK for processing and then bringing it back to the UK is very interesting. I wonder if it says anything on the label about that! Certainly something to think about next time I buy yarn.

Unknown said...

I feel the same way about the locally produced food movement. I live in primarily a wheat and cotton producing area. There is not enough water to efficiently produce vegetables. I would certainly have a limited diet.

Probably Jane said...

You raise some very important issues. In the end I think we have to do what we feel is best and accept that often our choices are a 'trade off' between competing priorities.

More importantly, the fact that you are creating things yourself and encouraging others to do the same means that we are slowing down, appreciating the work of all our hands and creating a less throw away society.

Lovely roving by the way....

Debby said...

Love the roving. I am so jealous. I want to spin and keep trying but it seems to be very hard for me.

I have found that even some yarns grown locally are (as you said) shipped way off somewhere to be spun. How much fuel does it take to do that? Is that saving anything? I don't know.

Even large yarn companies ship their wool to have it processed.