Molly's Profile

About

I learned to knit about two years ago, at the side of my lovely oldest daughter, who herself had learned the craft in school. She was itching to teach it to somebody, and being pregnant with my now-youngest daughter, I wasn't going anywhere fast! In fact, I was already sitting on the couch quite a bit (with my feet up -- darn that pregnancy-induced hypertension!), so why not learn to knit?

I soon discovered that I could knit for myself all those cute wool diaper covers I kept seeing -- in fact, my first project (after the required knit "ball"...) was a ridiculously large soaker that my little one couldn't even wear until she was six months old (eight years between children does have the effect of making you forget how TINY they first come out!).

I knit happily along for two years, until this past Valentine's Day, while trying to…

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  • Female
  • Joined February 14, 2009

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Sustainable Wool

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About

I learned to knit about two years ago, at the side of my lovely oldest daughter, who herself had learned the craft in school. She was itching to teach it to somebody, and being pregnant with my now-youngest daughter, I wasn't going anywhere fast! In fact, I was already sitting on the couch quite a bit (with my feet up -- darn that pregnancy-induced hypertension!), so why not learn to knit?

I soon discovered that I could knit for myself all those cute wool diaper covers I kept seeing -- in fact, my first project (after the required knit "ball"...) was a ridiculously large soaker that my little one couldn't even wear until she was six months old (eight years between children does have the effect of making you forget how TINY they first come out!).

I knit happily along for two years, until this past Valentine's Day, while trying to find reasonably-priced vegan chocolates for my newly-vegan step-daughter, I stumbled upon the PETA web site. On the homepage, there it blinked at me -- a link to discover the cruelties associated with it -- WOOL. Dare I click it? But how could I not? What I discovered, in true PETA fashion, was utterly horrifying. Mutilated sheep? How could I ever knit with wool again?

A bit more research revealed a less gruesome portrait of the wool industry, but I was still forced to re-evaluate what my fiber purchases were supporting. In addition to those sheep that were indeed raised in completely inhumane conditions and routines clipped of their own flesh, there were other ethical and environmental considerations. The spinning process uses all sorts of nasty chemicals. The dying process creates chemical runoff that kills rivers. Workers in other countries who procure the fiber are routinely treated unfairly.

Fortunately, as I uncovered the unsettling issues associated with mass-produced wool, I also discovered some amazing sources for wool that supported the practices I wanted to support too. There are companies out there that strive to procure their wool from sustainable sources, and color it with earth-friendly, low-impact dyes. They treat their workers fairly, and lower their carbon footprint by keeping things local and doing them right. There is also, I discovered, a sizeable market for "recycled" or "upcycled" wool -- folks who unravel unwanted sweaters made up of lovely, usable wool yarn, wash it up, skein it up, and sell it to people who are eager to create beautiful projects with it -- like me!

I feel good about cloth diapering, and about the little knit soakers my now-toddler loves to wear. I feel even better knowing that what I choose to knit with, like where I choose to buy my produce and send my children to school, can indeed make an impact on the world for good. :)

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