Friday, March 21, 2008

Cotton, Cashmere and why I don't sell it.

Why did I wake up on Good Friday and decide I needed to preach an enviromental sermon on my blog - no idea?
I guess its because I joined in the MCY thread on Ravelry “yarn” the other day. Someone stated that 100% cotton is 100% cotton! I have to say I had a big tantrum (ask Heidi - :-) and went of to find some links to prove 100% cotton is not all the same.
But here it go's...............................

At the moment I don't sell cotton, not that I wouldn't like to. Cotton dyes paler than animal fibres making it a gorgeous summer yarn.

I don't sell cotton because I can't be sure where it is coming from and I don't want to buy from certain countries because of human rights and enviromental concerns.
I don't want to buy yarn that takes children out of school to pick the cotton and blackmails them into picking their quota.
Please click on this link and read the details, its very scary.

I wish I could dye cashmere I would love to know how it dyes and what colours I can get and what it feels like to knit.

But I don't sell cashmere either, a lot of the cheap cashmere comes from china, where again there are human rights and enviromental concerns.
Looking for a site to link to I came across these
(I do find this article slightly ironic, as the google ads in the side bar are for cashmere clothing, not sure if it comes from a different source to the cashmere in the article.)
And another to add to the collection

I would buy ethical cashmere but the price would be so expensive you wouldn't buy it.

The older I get the more I worry about human rights. I have always been a greenie, supported Greenpeace since the late 70's, recycled in the days when there you could only recycle glass.
I do have one big enviromental sin and those of you who have read my blog for any length of time will know what that is - I console myself with the fact it is used occasionally and isn't as bad as you would think, but I still feel guilty - :-)
My children have almost all left home, my baby will be off to university in september, all 3 of them would like to have kids of their own which means one day I will be a grandparent (ARGHHHHHHHH - you don't know how scary it is to write this!)
What kind of world will my future grand kids have to live in?

BUT having said all the above I have good news!
My lovely ethically aware supplier thinks he may have sourced an ethical organic cotton and he is also researching a new yarn which has small percentage of ethical cashmere in it.
So maybe I will be able dye some new fibres in the future and be safe in the knowledge that I am not adding to the worlds problems.

(Please excuse the number of "ethicals" in this entry)


Bearium said...

If everyone was even half as environmentally aware as you, this world would be a very different place.
It's very easy for people to just say that's the way it is as it means they don't have to consider the impact of their actions (or lack of them in most cases!). For some reason they are the very people that get most offended by people like you pointing this out.

You have a conscience, don't apologise for it!

picperfic said...

I have only recently come across the cashmere problem, it made me so very sad and worried about my bits of cashmere I have in my stash. I will use the cashmere I have bought, it would be silly not to, but my guilt is stopping me from having the yarn love feeling as I knit. Wish I could move away from the worry that I may have bought the cheaper cashmere...and I didn't realise there was a cotton problem at all! I need to wake up from my ignorant bliss! Thank goodness I have discovered your yarn store...

Spinayarn said...

Good for you Amanda. I too am a tree-hugging lady worried about the future my childrens children will have. My mum used to push me in my pushcair when she went on 'Ban the Bomb' and 'Greeny' marches in the 60's.

Its great to have a source of ethical fibre and a dyer who cares enough to do the research.

Norfolkknitter said...

Well said! If we're going to make a fuss about food miles, reducing, reusing and recycling etc. then as knitters the next logical step is ensuring our yarn is produced as ehtically as possible in every step of the process. It's good to know that we can be assured of quality products from people who care!

Sam said...

I knew nothing about the cotton or cashmere trade before reading this. Thank you Amanda for posting. My husband had been hinting at a pair of cashmere socks ... I know he won't be the least interested once I explain to him!