what’s in your yarn? where did it come from?

There are some interesting things happening in the yarn world. People are talking about US yarns, and even breed specific yarns. As you knitters get more interested in where your yarn comes from, big yarn companies are paying attention (not to mention Ralph Lauren and the US Olympic team sweaters; why did they have to be so ugly though…???).

This week I heard something that really surprised me from my good friend, good knitter and our graphic designer Cheryl: she had no idea that so many yarns were spun in China, or maybe Italy or Peru. She didn’t know there are very few commercial yarn mills in the US. She thought that yarns that were dyed by indie dyers meant they were hand spun too. And she doesn’t know much about breeds either. Wow.

I realize that I know very little about commercial yarns other than what I think: they tend to be Merino wool from Australia that has traveled the world getting scoured on one continent, spun on another and sold in a fourth. So, I’m going to start finding out and comparing processes. I’ll share what I learn…and think here. This is a LOT like food labeling. And lots of marketing/sales language can be very misleading. Let’ find out!

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6 Responses to “what’s in your yarn? where did it come from?”

  1. Melissa Weaver Dunning Says:

    This is a great idea! I look forward to reading about your discoveries.

  2. Rachel Says:

    Fabulous idea! I’ve actually been looking for this kind of information, so I’ll be checking back for sure.

  3. Shar Says:

    Thanks for doing this. What a great service. Let’s support our own breeders and dyers! Looking forward to your discoveries!

  4. Sophy0075 Says:

    Unfortunately, most knitters DON’T know where their yarn comes from. The fact that most of it comes from China (either superwash processed there, dyed there, and/or spun there – I don’t think they raise many wool sheep – yet) is a major reason why I started intensive label reading and also spinning my own yarn. While I am happy to support struggling Third World economies in South America (so Peruvian yarns, no problem!) or our British friends (many of whom have tragic tales that it cost more to shear the sheep than they are paid for the fleece) , I see no reason to support the economy of a Communist dictatorship. I also prefer to support US shepherds using US mills and US indie dyers!

    And thank you for your comment about Ralph Lauren’s ghastly, kitschy sweater design. What a terrible thing to do with some beautiful Columbia wool!

  5. Maggie Says:

    If you eventually find it feasible, I hope you can disseminate your findings all over the fiber arts world so we can be a FORCE to expanding and prospering AMERICAN fiber processing and services! :)

  6. Karen Kennedy Says:

    I agree with Soph …!

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