Sunday, 28 February 2010

Fair Trade Yarn

It's Fairtrade Fortnight here in the UK! I thought I might feature a few of my favourite Fair Trade/co-operative-made yarns that help ensure safe and well-paid working conditions for the people that make our most beloved fibres.

Creator of lovely hand-dyed yarns such as thick-and-thin Wool Classica and Silk Blend, this co-operative employs over 800 women in rural areas of Uruguay, giving them job stability and a fair price for their well-skilled labour.

Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend

I've had four skeins of this lovely stuff sitting in my stash for a while now, and I'm still trying to figure out the perfect project for it. My skein of sunset-coloured Silk Blend with its contrasting partner, Black, is destined for a stranded hat, but I just need to find the time to write up a pattern for it!

From co-operatives in South Africa comes Be Sweet, a clothing and yarn producer that specialises in fun, textured, natural-fibre yarn and interesting pieces. They're branching out into more non-textured yarn as they grow their business, and how have a large and varied selection, from organic cotton/bamboo rayon mix yarn Bambino, to supremely more interesting yarn such as T-Shirt, a yarn made guessed it, recycled t-shirts.

T-shirt (image from Bee Sweet Website)

One of my favourite indie dyers is Jeni of Fyberspates. A dyer who's recently moved shop to Oxfordshire (a county I'm, admittedly, a little biased toward), she's committed to sourcing her yarn from "only good karmic places."

Fyberspates Faery Wings 4ply, from my stash

My Leiden Lace Scarf is made from Fyberspates 100% Mongolian Cashmere Lace-weight

From her website:

We carefully source all of our yarns, we have personally visited nearly all the places that Fyberspates yarn have been manufactured. We buy yarn from the UK, Peru, Italy, Spain and the USA. These manufacturers have very high standards of production, and have good working standards for their employees, which is something we value highly.

She goes on to assure her customers that if the hasn't visited the place where the yarn has come from, she'll let us know. I don't know about you, but I really appreciate that kind of transparency in business practices. Well done, Jeni!

What are some of your favourite ethical yarns?

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