Apr 8, 2010

Using Green Yarn

Green yarn – and I don’t mean the color here – can be much harder to find than I realized! Thanks to a wonderfully in-depth article over at Petite Purls, I’ve learned more about the process of making yarn, things to look for when buying yarn in the future, and much more.

Realistically, most of the yarn I use isn’t very green. I use acrylics for baby gifts because most of the new moms I know don’t want to have to hand-wash daily use items. I use Big Box craft store wools because of the ease of purchase. In general, I don’t think much of where my yarn comes from, just about how it will be used.

As I’ve been de-stashing, knitting through what I’ve got (an intrinsically “green” action) and thinking about future yarn purchases, I have yet to think in terms of "green yarns". But if I truly want to change the world, one hand-knit at a time, to do so at the expense of the environment, using chemically-treated yarns might not be the best way.

Thanks to the PP article, I’ve come up with a few guidelines I’d like to follow for future yarn purchases. While it may take me some time to get to the “ideal place” with my Green Yarn purchases, these are some ways I can start.

 Purchase my wool from sellers like Manos Del Uruguay and Peace Fleece. The environmental impact of the yarn traveling to me from farther away if off-set {in my mind} by the types of companies I’ll be supporting.  

Buy as much yarn from my LYS as possible, avoiding the Big Box yarn sections, even if they are more convenient. In this way I'll be supporting locally-owned business, along with supporting smaller yarn manufacturers, which are more often stocked in yarn shops versus big box stores.  

Any acrylic I need to buy, consider purchasing off someone on Ravelry first. This way, I’m reusing something that another person wants to de-stash, and not buying new.  

Pick up sweaters at thrift shops and unwinding them for their yarn. Time consuming for sure, but for charity projects such as hats and mittens, reusing yarn like this is a great alternative to buying new.  

Buy as much Brown Sheep Yarn as possible! This is a Nebraska-based company, and they are known for purchasing wool from smaller farms to help keep them in business – on both sides of the transaction! With all of this, my larger goal is to keep my yarn stash smaller than ever {my yarn dresser is not that large, and I’d like to keep it contained to that space} and use up even the tiniest of ends in my work.

I’m starting to set up systems to save my remnants better {sorting by type when it comes to yarns I use most often, and then by fiber and WPI (wraps per inch) for random bits, so I can use every last yard in color-work and Leftovers Blankets. I’m also trying to only purchase yarn on a project-by-project basis, rather than my previous “this yarn looks pretty, I think I’ll buy it!” mentality.

How do you “go green” with your knitting? Have you thought about it at all previous to today? Are there fun tips and tricks I haven’t discovered yet that can help me along?

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