pondering the 100-mile yarn diet

Even though the phrase ‘carbon footprint’ has only recently entered my official vocabulary, for a long time I’ve made the effort to shop locally whenever possible, especially when it comes to food. It makes a lot of sense to me: things are fresher (and often therefore healthier), there’s a better chance that small-scale farms are profiting as opposed to large corporations, and less fuel is consumed getting items from the producer to me.

I’ve met a number of people lately who’ve been applying the same concept to their yarn/fibre buying habits: only buy locally produced yarn, from within a 100-mile (or 160 km) radius of where you live, and I’ve been toying with doing the same thing. Since I spin and now make the lion’s share of my knitting yarn from raw fleece, I’d have an easier time of this than someone who relied on a mill for their yarn–there are far more sheep farms than woollen mills out there. I’m not sure I’m ready to take on this challenge, but I’d be interested to hear from people who have:

What are your criteria for the 100-mile yarn diet? Does the yarn you buy have to be milled within 100 miles of you, or is yarn that’s milled elsewhere but dyed locally (I’m thinking of my own love for Rubber Grapefruit here) be acceptable? What about grown locally but spun elsewhere? I’m curious to find out what others have done with this.

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5 Responses to pondering the 100-mile yarn diet

  1. brouhahahaha says:

    Interesting question (I just finished the 100 Mile (food) Book myself. Had not thought of a 100 mile yarn diet. If I were to do this, I think it would have to be fairly flexibility defined… I tend to view local issues re. artisanry rather than original provenance, I think.

  2. jane says:

    Well to make you feel better, we at Pamplemousse en caoutchouc are definitely looking for local sources for fibre and to start using low impact dyes in our process. Of course we ask for your patience in the mean time.

    I have to say that I’m already beyond the park ‘n’ draft stage of spinning, have tried a wheel (but am definitely not ready for one yet) and am starting to become quite consistent. I’m super happy with the yarn I’m currently making.

    Your class was all kinds of awesome. I can’t wait for spinning 102!

  3. quenouille says:

    I’m curious to see what you ladies find out about locally sourced materials… and as I know almost nothing about dyeing, what low impact dyes would be like.

    I’m glad you liked the class and hope to see you again for Spin 102, which is now in Serious Planning Stages. Hey, and speaking of, any topics you’d like to see covered in that class?

  4. Jane says:

    As far as our thus far limited research into it, low impact dyes are completely synthetic constructions but are non-toxic in every stage. And my brother’s fiancĂ©e’s father knows a dude with a sheep farm in Ontario. We’re looking at getting samples in june. How’s that for locally sourced fibre?

    Dude, I’m TOTALLIES ready for Spinning 102! Um, I’m a big fan of freaky fibres and I’d be interested in knowing more about working with those sorts of things. As well as the whole straight-from-the-sheep situation.

    Thanks for the compliments on the Mixed Berry Tart! I’m quite proud of it. :D

  5. jane says:

    Well to be honest the freakier the better. But I’m more a fan of freaky natural fibres rather than sparkle/man made silliness. Oh and maybe something about wheels?

    Miss Mary tipped me off about your anticipated presence this weekend. I’ll most definitely stop by and pester you to ‘grade’ all of my spinning.

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