One and Not Done, and Lofty Thoughts on Fiber and the Environment

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First off, sleeve one is done. It took much longer than expected, and I knit like a woman obsessed while watching one after the other of Christmas horror movies (A Christmas Horror Story, Krampus, and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri – not a Christmas horror movie, but horrific in its own way, and you can only tolerate so much schlock in one sitting, after all. Although I would consider all of these movies dark comedies.)

I want to credit Ann Budd’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns for helping me through the armhole shapings. I should really know how to do this by now, as I have sewn clothing and drafted my own patterns, but it has been a while, and this is for my son and not myself, and I felt nervous about it, and this is why next year my word for the year is going to be “exercise.” This includes physical exercise, but also exercising my design muscles with monthly challenges. I look forward to blogging about it.

Talking to Henry about the environment has me thinking about how sheep farming and the wool trade effects the climate. While I am not vegan – I am not even vegetarian – I believe factory farming is unethical – so bad for animals, people, and the environment – and I think small, family farming is the way of the future, and we should eat much less meat than we do. I would be happy giving up all animal food products, but I will never give up my knitting wool. There, I said it. I do try to source my yarn ethically, although the supply chain can be deep, so sometimes you don’t really know. I am looking at you, Berroco Chunky Alpaca. My guess is that alpaca farming is pretty ethical, though. In general, I find small yarn companies to be very transparent, which makes it much easier. Knitters have always cared about the sheep, and I think yarn companies know that and make sustainability part of their ethos.

How sustainable is wool? As a fiber, it is very sustainable – long wearing, biodegradable. And as far as land use, wool animals (sheep, goats, alpacas) can graze on land that is not suitable for farming, so that’s okay too. Yay, wool!

Of course, we have so much plastic that now it is being recycled into fiber for clothing. Think about that. Plastic clothing that will never get dirty and never wear out, like The Man in the White Suit. Would that be better for the climate? I guess it depends on how it is processed. And what happens to the animals, who now rely on humans for their survival? So, no thank you to plastic for my part. Plus, I like my clothing to breathe.

If you are still with me, thank you for reading. I needed to get these thoughts out of my head before I start my very busy work week.

Here’s my question for you, dear reader. Do you see those stripes on Harald’s sweater? Those lovely stripes that say, “Hi. I am a handknit garment of fair trade wool yarn that is hand kettle dyed by women in Uruguay, which is why I went a little stripey here. Don’t mind me.” Should I vat dye this sweater and try to mottle those stripes out a little bit? This is totally within my power. Let me know what you think. Thank you for sharing your opinion.

9 thoughts on “One and Not Done, and Lofty Thoughts on Fiber and the Environment

  1. You know I don’t know nuthin’ bout birthing no…I mean…about knitting or whats supposed to look good. I am with Marjorie though and I like the stripey-ness (lets make that a word). But you know Harald and it depends on what you think he’ll like best.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I too like the stripes, they looked like a design feature when I first saw it. Re: wool, I’ve not eaten meat for 30 years and don’t have dairy at home. I eat a lot of vegan foods, but I use wool and alpaca for knitting and felting. Arctic type fleece jumpers shed tiny microplastics that rinse down the drain and get in the air, so I’m trying to stop buying them and as you say wool is breathable. Pigs and cattle are kept in far worse conditions than sheep or alpacas.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The sweater is looking great! Also, I agree with you about wool and alpaca being the ethical choice for knitting. Also about smaller, non-factory farms being the way to go. Synthetic fibers aren’t great for the environment, and they aren’t great for us (or any of the other living creatures that find them in the environment). I don’t know what this sudden attack on wool in the media is about, but I suspect we can guess where the money trail leads. Yay wool!

    Liked by 1 person

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