Do you know where your Merino comes from? I do now. I also know where the rest of my wool, Angora, Mohair, Alpaca and Cashmere comes from. And you should too.
Factory Farms aren’t just for food. Factory Farms are for fiber. Surprise! There is such a demand for Merino in the clothing industry that sheep are now raised on large-volume farms where illness is hard to recognize in the masses, maltreatment is standard and sheep are often sheered before they would shed their wool naturally – an estimated one million animals die from exposure each year. This is far far far removed from the pastoral scenes knitters imagine when cuddling a skein of woolly goodness.
I could go on (Google “mulesing” if you’d like to be Truly Horrified), for every fiber in a clothing catalog, there is a sad story about producing it cheaply. But what I really want to do is focus on the positive. So in 2012, Yarn Miracle will host:
12 Months of Mindful Fiber
Each month, I will highlight a different yarn, farm, spinner or company that is conscious, kindly, eco-aware, possibly an independent farmer, or might even know the name of the animal that grew the yarn! Happy yarn from happy creatures or no creatures at all. I’ll have yarn to share. Good yarn. Life is too short not to celebrate the yarn miracles that happen during spinning. Besides, if you don’t try it, how do you know if you like it? My responsibility is to provide the fabulous fiber resources and patterns. Your responsibility will be to comment on the post to enter the drawing for the yarn of the month and start thinking to yourself: Where does this fiber come from?
I think that’s fair.
As knitters, we have a unique opportunity to change the lives of animals and farm workers by asking that simple question: Where does this fiber come from? Even if the answer from the manufacturer is “I have no idea!” and you opt to buy it anyway, people are thinking. Questioning. Growing. Changing.
One stitch at a time.