Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Slow Fashion October: Finally, Where Do We Feel Best

Initially, let me say that I cannot believe how fast Slow Fashion October has flown. It figures, of course.

This final time in the month is, traditionally, the time when we share resources. It is also, for me, the most dense amount of reading and link clicking and saving and information processing. One of the best resources on how to sort out ways to approach slow fashion in a meaningful way is this Racked article from August, compliments of the Elsewhere feature of this Fringe Association blog post. It was nice to read that beyond the obvious (buy less, recycle/upcycle more, DIY), it focused on industry standards and other environmental impacts (like using public transportation in both personal travel and shipping materials - a big issue with me, a confirmed public transportation user my entire life).

Moving on to the main attraction, however, is where I'm feeling best in sourcing my raw material - the all important yarn. I first did a similar round-up in 2015's Slow Fashion October, and the sometimes fleeting nature of yarn producers will show that some of those mentioned in the past are no longer yarn resources. If one likes to use small, independent yarn producers where the fiber can be sourced from animal to skein, then there's a likelihood of high turnover. Basically, if you like a source, speak up loudly and often so they stay around. Additionally, while Brooklyn Tweed has actually added new yarn lines since 2015 (a great thing!), I am getting, if truth be told, a little bored with the single color approach, as well as the designs. I hope Jared will shake things up in the house - perhaps a foray into crochet? Jared, I'm a stone's throw away. Just sayin'.

Left to right: A Hundred Ravens' Tyche base,
Neighborhood Fiber Co's Studio Chunky,
and Manos Del Uruguay's Silk Blend.
This year, while there is some overlap from 2015, you'll find at least one surprising choice, although I will explain all:

1. A Hundred Ravens - The first half of this past year, I curated/organized/birthed my first global design collection and related maker event (you can read more about it, as well as view the designs, here). That effort put me in contact with my first yarn resource. Female owned, awesome hand-dying, yarn bases made in the U.S.: this is a source that I can absolutely support - and so can a lot of other makers, apparently.

2. Neighborhood Fiber Co. - On my first resource list, Karida & company will remain on my list until the not-so-bitter end. She and I continue our symbiotic relationship with the publication of my Aviatrix Pullover in the 2017 edition of Knitting Traditions Magazine. 

3. Manos Del Uruguay - This non-profit, established to provide rural Uruguayan women with economic and social opportunities, has been producing wonderful yarn for the last over 4 decades. I am not certain why it didn't make my first list, but it's on there now.

Left to right: Garnstudio Drops Merino Extra Fine and
Belle, Lakeside-wolle's merino alpaca sock, and
Sidispinnt's 100% merino single.
4. Garnstudio Drops - This European-based yarn supplier has yarn lines made in the EU, Turkey, and South America (with additional mohair sourced from South Africa). It is high quality, amazingly priced yarn and, on its surface, a yarn source that seems out of place on my list. However, all of their yarn lines produced in the EU and Turkey (with the exception of the kid silk - that darn South African mohair!) are all OEKO-TEX certified. While the certification site is rather dense, basically there are three types of textile certification, and the mentioned Drops yarn lines fall into one of them (and the Drops site notes their OEKO-TEX certification numbers). The value of this yarn (which I've used for a long time), went way up.

5. Lakeside-wolle - This is another small, independent dyer I met during my earlier curated event. She has many wonderful OOAK colorways, and her small batch approach and great customer service made her yarns one of the summer event's favorites. Bonus points come from her ownership of an independent book store.   

6. Sidispinnt - This Swiss-based indie dyer/spinner/weaver is the third new-to-me source from my summer curated event. Not only did Sidi provide some of the deepest yarn support, her yarns were far and away the most popular on social media, selling out of the event's custom colorways almost immediately. She's highly creative and endlessly supportive of her fellow indie dyers. 

I can so easily not only feel good about sourcing yarns from any of the above, but my slow fashion path falls in nicely with each of their respective approaches to their craft. It is a great feeling - and one on which I will end my third Slow Fashion October.

Thanks once again, Karen, for wrangling all of us into a coherent month of awesome social awareness. Until next year ...



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