Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Green knitting

Lately, I've been wrestling a lot with the idea of green knitting. And know, I don't mean my internal debate over which pattern to make with my new chartreuse yarn....

I'm talking about knitting in an environmentally responsible way. Of course, part of me likes to argue that any knitting is better environmentally and conscientiously because clearly my living room is not a sweat shop or a factory emitting toxic fumes and neither, to the best of my knowledge, is the Starbucks where I knit on my lunch break.

But there is the yarn to consider. It has to be processed somewhere. And some of that processing uses some pretty harsh chemicals. Plus there's the idea of sustainability and the impact that actually creating the fiber has on the environment (waste from the animals, pesticides if it's a plant fiber...)

Being the yarn snob that I am, I rarely use acrylic, so that cuts out one major process offender... but a lot of "natural" fibers, it turns out, aren't so natural after all... take bamboo, for example. A bit hit among vegans because it's not animal based but have you ever thought about how much processing is involved with getting that stuff soft enough to wear next to your skin??

You see why I'm wrestling with it... there's a lot to consider... Fortunately, I found this awesome Web site that really does help you sort it all out. But there are still things every knitter has to decide for themselves... namely, what's most important to you? For me, it's all about process. I try to minimize the amount of harsh chemicals I put near my body and the amount of waste I create. So for me it means fibers that don't require excessive processing and don't use harsh chemicals. But like I said, it's up to you.... hopefully this Web site helps, though :)

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