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 Post subject: Any Yarn Spinners Out There?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 10:16 am 
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Tofu Pup

Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:02 am
Posts: 2
Hello,

I've just made the move to Veganism and really happy about everything so far. The one I am having such trouble with is spinning wool, I've been researching a lot on man made products and some fibers which I can use to spin with are just shockingly bad for the earth.

I wondered on what other yarn spinner's spin? Do you go with man made products, or do you find suitable super small scale hobby shepherds??? I've googled maybe a thousand times and getting nothing up.

Thanks for reading

Nessy


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 Post subject: Re: Any Yarn Spinners Out There?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 11:37 am 
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TOTALLY CRADICAL
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Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:42 am
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Location: Smugville, CA
Hi Nessy, congrats on the move to veganism!

You raise a very good question, I've never thought too much about spinning yarn as a vegan. My mom used to spin quite a lot (nowadays her thing is quilting) and at one point ran her own yarn company out of our basement, and although I never got into spinning myself, I did study fashion design and textile science in college and did graduate studies in sustainable apparel.

I assume you're talking mostly about cotton when you refer to how bad for the earth plant-based fibers can be. Sadly, this is true- cotton is the crop responsible for the lion's share of pesticide use here in California, I can only imagine the numbers are similar elsewhere, plus there are numerous other factors involved in non-organic cotton that are devastating to the earth.

man-made fibers can be a solution but by necessity they come out as filaments (like silk) and don't lend themselves to spinning unless they've also been cut up into staple fibers (like wool or cotton).

I imagine using organic cotton, while more expensive, could be a solution; have you also tried using linen (flax) or bamboo? There are a lot of traditional and sustainable plant-based fibers that are picking up traction in the worldwide apparel and textile markets lately, such as banana fibers, maybe those are options? Of course, how well these fibers spin into yarn and how available they are to the home spinner are totally different questions.

I'll think some more about this and ask my mom, too! I'll let you know if I come up with any good solutions. Best of luck, and welcome to the PPK and veganism!

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 Post subject: Re: Any Yarn Spinners Out There?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 11:48 am 
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TOTALLY CRADICAL
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OK, my mom says you may have to wear gloves while spinning flax, cotton, or hemp. She also says check with the Handweaver's Guild of America (HGA) to see if there's any current info on spinning natural/non-animal fibers.

I also had the thought of reclaimed/recycled fiber as well. Both reclaimed fiber from used yarn/textiles and recycled fiber from things such as plastic bottles. I know these fibers are becoming increasingly popular in commercial applications, so hopefully the home spinner can have access to them too (or at least will soon!).

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Crazy rating: Double plus crazytown bananapants ~Jordanpattern
"It's, you know, your typical Portland restaurant; bowls." ~Kittee
Sews Before Bros
Norton's Movie Maps


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 Post subject: Re: Any Yarn Spinners Out There?
PostPosted: Sun Apr 24, 2016 4:26 pm 
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Dying from Nooch Lung
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Location: SF Bay area
I was given some bamboo fiber that I tried spinning without much success. From my understanding plant fibers don't hold together as well because they aren't barbed like many animal fibers. I know it's possible though! There are some vegan spinners on Ravelry who also sell on etsy, and they use cotton, bamboo, and synthetic.

I have to say I got a bit frustrated with vegan knitting because cotton just doesn't hold in enough heat for legit winter gear, it holds on to water/condensation, and it's HEAVY. But then, I feel bad using all synthetics, which are much warmer and lighter and tend to look sleeker.

I am not comfortable using wool myself, but I did find a farm sanctuary that sells raw wool from their rescue sheep. I purchased some of that and spun it myself to make a hat for my dad, who wanted a winter hat and was going to buy a mass-produced wool hat (and didn't want synthetic). Not ideal, definitely not vegan, but it was a compromise.

I would not recommend using hobby shepherds because to my mind they are perpetuating the selective breeding of domestic sheep for human pleasure. No matter how well they're treated, the breeders are still selecting for heavy coats and folded skin that aren't found in native sheep and can be unpleasant for the animals.

I can't remember the place I purchased wool from but here is a similar rescue farm: https://ethicalwoolenterprises.com/

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http://baybalcony.wordpress.com (gardening blog)


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 Post subject: Re: Any Yarn Spinners Out There?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 6:32 am 
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Tofu Pup

Joined: Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:02 am
Posts: 2
Thank you for your replies, I will continue with my hunt!

I am looking more into the eco-ness of non wool yarns to see what I think is best. I will also be checking out rescue centers to see what their practices are.

Nessy


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 Post subject: Re: Any Yarn Spinners Out There?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:08 am 
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BAD PASS
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My best friend is a spinner and has her own yarn business! I know she uses wool, though. I'll ask her if there are any vegan alternatives that she's heard of or maybe used before.


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 Post subject: Re: Any Yarn Spinners Out There?
PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 12:09 pm 
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TOTALLY CRADICAL
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My mom told me she heard of a friend-of-a-friend who was doing vegan spinning, but apparently all her equipment and notes were lost in a devastating wildfire we had several months ago that displaced thousands of rural residents.

I am wondering if there is a way to buy post-pupal (I am probably making that word up) silk cocoons? Or silk that's been recovered from discarded cocoons? A cocoon that's been torn or chewed open by an adult moth will no longer be a single filament of silk and as such has no 'value' in the traditional textile/fiber market, but it could still be separated and cut and sold as staple fibers for spinning. It wouldn't strictly be vegan but since it would allow the pupa to develop and leave the cocoon first it would be more along the lines of using discarded animal waste rather than actively taking animal products- like using manure in your garden or decorating your house with an animal skull you found out in nature.

I have no idea how plausible or realistic any of this is, just spitballin'!

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Crazy rating: Double plus crazytown bananapants ~Jordanpattern
"It's, you know, your typical Portland restaurant; bowls." ~Kittee
Sews Before Bros
Norton's Movie Maps


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 Post subject: Re: Any Yarn Spinners Out There?
PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 6:57 pm 
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Dying from Nooch Lung
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Location: SF Bay area
I looked into post-pupal (I like it!) silk before. You can google ahimsa silk, which is divided into domesticated silk or forest-harvested silk (tussar). Actually, I think I asked people here about it a long time ago and the consensus was that it probably isn't cruelty free. From my own research, there are a few issues that keep coming up: 1) if the silk comes from domesticated silk worms, these have been so domesticated that the caterpillars/moths can't survive on their own. If they're not fed immediately (which many aren't), they starve or desiccate. I've also read that they've lost the ability to fly, so the adults are basically stuck at the farm, 2) even when the worms emerge from their cocoon, most are killed for food or fertilizer because the growth would be exponential if they were all allowed to survive, 3) the wild-harvested cocoons are really just big farms in the forest and most of the caterpillars are harvested for food. I think it's pretty telling that one of the companies marketing itself as ethical silk goes into a bit of detail on their page about how the cocoons aren't boiled and the harvest is non-violent, but they are suspiciously mute about the fate of the caterpillars after they hatch.

I hope I'm not being a major bummer and negging your idea! I spent a lot of time trying to figure this out myself. The best plant-based alternative I came up with is tencel, which a lot of people seem to like working with. It's marketed as eco-friendly and sustainable. I've never spun tencel and the only yarn I've used with it has been a blend with other fibers, so I can't speak to any of that!

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http://hotveganchickpeas.wordpress.com (food blog)
http://baybalcony.wordpress.com (gardening blog)


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