Under-informed Rants

While I was typing up the contest post, I unwittingly wound up ranting about yarn for a few paragraphs. I edited that out, but I felt I wanted to still say it in a way that wouldn’t distract from the intention of that post.

So, before I moved to Belfast I kind of considered myself a fiber snob. Of course, all that really meant was that I wouldn’t lower myself to using acrylic, or much of anything that wasn’t from a LYS. But now I’ve become a yarn snob, which is a different sickness altogether.

I don’t want to use names and examples because I’d hate to profligate misinformation, but there are too many yarn “makers” out there that simply get their yarn spun up elsewhere, dye it, and then apply their own label. Then you see the high price of the yarn, and can only conclude that it must be a Fine Yarn. And it may be, but the price is also reflective of outsourced labor and shipping costs. Personally, I hadn’t been considering that aspect of my yarns until I started working with Good Karma, where the spinning, skeining, and dyeing is all done in the same place..

Rather than trash talk other lines of yarn, I’d simply leave you with a suggestion: do your research, form your own opinion. It’s funny, but I know people who will raise a stink about whether or not their produce is local, and yet they have no qualms about buying a yarn that’s spun on a different continent, flown to another time zone for dyeing, then shipped across the US to their local yarn store. Let’s be clear, “local” is modifying “store”, certainly not the yarn. And yeah, except for the occasional stray fiber, you’re not going to be ingesting your yarn so it may not be as important in this case.

So next time you’re craving some fiber, look up the company. Do they do their own spinning, or do they just dye? And if it’s the latter, where are they getting their pre-spun yarn from? And where is that spinnery getting their fiber? And if you really want to get crazy about it, how does the fiber farm treat its animals? I’m not saying that the yarn industry is full of horrible abuses; the latter is probably closer to the truth. But still, isn’t it better to know? I think so.

So that’s what’s happened to me. I’d sooner unravel a thrift store sweater for fingering weight yarn than buy it from a company who had absolutely no hand in the spinning process.

  1. patsy said:

    I think we would all be better off if we could buy more things made locally but we live in a global economy now.

    • It’s true, sadly. Almost every time I’m out looking to buy something, a voice in the back of my head tells me “you could find this cheaper on the internet somewhere”, like it’s been ingrained in me to completely overlook my local economy.

  2. Linda said:

    I think they should be called “independent” yarn stores. That would reflect their stock much more accurately, in my opinion. The smaller stores in my area do carry a wider selection of yarn than the “big box” stores, but it’s still all major brands. I like shopping at local fiber fests for just that reason. It’s great to meet the people that care for the animals whose wool I’ll be using.

    • I like that term. And yeah, it’s a big part of why I like fiber fests, too. Especially when you get to meet the animals themselves! I can’t get enough of alpacas’ goofy faces. 🙂

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