This week (and most weeks) I've been thinking about yarn- especially as I work on the hat pattern I'm currently writing. Pattern writing doesn't require a yarn recommendation, but I think it's helpful for knitters who might not have a massive stash or access to a physical yarn store where they can feel things out. For this pattern I've been leaning towards Cascade yarn so I emailed their customer service reps for information about their production and sourcing methods and heard back promptly:
That didn't totally answer my questions, and now I have more. Such as: what about the other 20%, where does that come from? Good that the animals are treated well, and the mill workers paid fairly (what is fair?) but what about the farmers, are they paid a fair price for the wool? Do they own the sheep and have a say in where the wool goes? Do they own the land? Where are the mills, and are the workers paid fairly by U.S. standards, or by the standards of the country where they are (if it's not the U.S.)?
I like Cascade yarns because they are affordable (red flag!), but also because they are a solid and practical choice for hard wearing garments. Their alarmingly affordable prices (plus frequent sales at Webs) and generous yardage makes them accessible to people who cannot afford to knit a $200 sweater any more than they can afford to buy one. So I'm torn.
This lady is doing recycled yarn in a super professional (about to be more so!) way, check her out!
Image: "Plant Magic" cowls knit in Cascade 220. The top sections of each are naturally dyed with indigo and pokeweed.