What Does Going Green Mean for Spinners?

Going green may be this decade’s buzzword, but spinners have always been eco-friendly by nature. When a fleece wasn’t spinnable, how many spinners sought other ways to use it, such as composting it in the garden, stuffing it in attics for insulation, or standing it up for walls to build yurts? We’re resourceful and have followed buffalo and camelids to glean the fiber from molting coats. Spinners are known to ravel sweaters to save the yarn for another project. Our spinning ancestors recycled wool from fence lines wherever sheep took a back rub (the source for the term “wool-gathering”). And how many of you spinners take the mail-order fiber sample, twirl it into a scrap of yarn, and tie it around your finger as a reminder to order some soon? We not only spin green cotton, we spin industrial waste offered as a “new” product and will sometimes, to prove a point, spin dryer lint, as an illustration of “waste not, want not.”
The paper newsletters you mail to me are no exception. After posting information for this column, I send the issues on to other spinners who send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the address below. I give samples of swatches or yarns to interested spinners and weavers who collect them for research and study groups. I send the canceled stamps to a ministry to raise funds for self-sustaining programs in rural America and abroad. Does your group have a green idea? I would love to hear from you and post it for our wider spinning community.

Remember, this is your column and the news posted depends on you! Pictures of your group’s activities and the projects you’ve completed are always welcome.

Send your group’s news, notes, and digital photos with captions to [email protected]

By the way, the United Nations has declared 2009 the International Year of Natural Fibers. If your guild is sponsoring a related event, let’s announce it through this connection.

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