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Topic: The BIG wool debate...formerly known as the purple purse post.  (Read 19870 times)
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« on: September 15, 2004 06:41:12 PM »

Okay, so this post has just gotten pretty interesting.  After waiting a couple of days to see what was going on with the forum, I've returned to find a few interesting comments.  Come on hear the noise!   Undecided


Original post from me:

Hi, this is my first completed knitted project, that wasn't a scarf!  I haven't knitted anything in 2 years & decided to pick it up again.  I intended to refresh my skills by making a scarf, but decided the stitch pattern looked more like a purse than a scarf.  (K, P, K, P, K, K, K, K)

I think it turned out ok.  But the thing that I'm most disappointed in is not being able to do the blocking process, due to it being made of acrylic yarn.  I'm a vegan, so I choose not to buy yarn from an animal source.  Does anyone have any suggestions on other cruelty-free yarns?  I heard that cotton really only works well for socks and stuffed animals. 

Feedback on the purse and yarn alternatives please!   Wink

« Last Edit: September 19, 2004 06:12:47 PM by sewwabisabi » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2004 06:43:31 PM »

Cute! Cheesy

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« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2004 08:02:03 PM »

very nice! love the color Smiley

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« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2004 09:51:54 AM »

Great purse!

There are lots of cruelty-free yarns available now in addition to cotton - bamboo, soy, viscose, nylon, microfiber, as well as nicer acrylics and polyester.  Check out Crystal Palace yarns (full listing and stores at http://straw.com/cpy/index.html, Lion Brand (yarn available at http://e-yarn.com/), Numei (http://numei.com/) and Elann (http://gidget.typepad.com/gidget_casts_on/.)

Good luck!
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2004 08:41:23 PM »

I'm really not trying to send this thread in the wrong direction, but is wool yarn *really* cruel?  Especially hand-spun yarn from which you can identify the source of the wool? 

I do not see shearing sheep as a cruel act, but more like something that probably needs to be done anyway.  Would you want to go your whole life without a haircut?  Or how about not take your beloved dog to the groomers his/her entire life (or do it yourself if you know how to do it properly)?  The shearing process can give the caretaker of the sheep a chance to make sure they are really clean and free of parasites, which leads to improved health of the animal.  Many people who harvest wool for a living really do care about their animals. 

Here is a website I found in just a cursory web search showing some of the benefits of shearing sheep:


such as:

Sheep grow wool continuously, so it is important to shear them at least once a year.
Shearing is generally carried out in spring, so that sheep dont get overheated during summer.
If a sheep is not shorn, its fleece becomes so bulky that it has difficulty moving around.
If its fleece gets water logged, it can become cast and unable to right itself.
A long fleece is particularly likely to get very daggy and soiled, making the sheep very susceptible to flystrike.
It is important for the welfare of the sheep to shear it or have it shorn at least once a year, preferably in spring.
In very hot weather, sheep carrying too much wool will get heat stressed, and this is even more likely if the sheep is very fat.

The website does also warn that it takes much skill to shear a sheep effectively and without causing any harm to the sheep, which is a good reason to consider the source of your wool if animal rights and humanitarian treatment of animals are a concern.  I do not see a problem with wool, especially if I know that the the sheep are being properly cared for and loved.  It's not like they are shaving them on the way to the mutton factory.
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« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2004 09:59:29 AM »

I don't think wool yarn is an animal cruelty at all.. some people really take these things too far.  Tongue

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« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2004 11:05:55 AM »

Wool is cruel to... the customers who is allergic to wool Grin

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« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2004 05:56:56 PM »

Laminda:  Thanks for the great links to the yarn websites, they've got some great stuff. 

Purple_Octopus:  Thanks to you for such an informative reply.

 When I stated that I have doubts about using wool, it is because I am concerned with how the sheep were treated during the shearing process.   The main reason why sheep today have such thick, heavy coats that need to be sheared is the result of selective breeding over thousands of years.  Wool provides sheep with warmth and protection from inclement weather and sunburn. Because our "modern" wool-bearers are extremely vulnerable to the elements without their wool, many sheep die of exposure shortly after being denuded.

Essentially, all wool is a slaughterhouse product.

Wool is classed as either "shorn wool," that which is shorn from sheep annually, or "pulled wool," that which is taken from sheep at the time of slaughter. Horrors abound on sheep farms, including mutilating, painful surgical procedures that are performed without anesthesia. These entail mulesing, the cutting of large strips of flesh off the hind legs to reduce fly problems, and tail docking, designed to preserve the salable condition of wool surrounding a sheep's anus, among others. A large percentage of the world's wool is produced from Merinos exported from Australia. These sheep are crammed onto ships by the tens of thousands, crowded into filthy pens, and packed so tightly they can barely move. As a result, thousands of sheep die each year from suffocation, trampling, or starvation.

Sheep shearers are paid by piece rate, meaning that speed not precision guides the process. Consequently, most sheep are roughly handled, lacerated, and injured during the process. The production of wool, as with all industries that consider animals as mere commodities, is rife with cruelty and abuse. In addition, the purchase of wool supports the continual slaughter of millions of lambs and sheep each year.

So yes, Fluffysam, I *would* say that some people do take things too far.  The torture of innocent animals for one's enjoyment does seem extreme, doesn't it? 


**information obtained from:  http://www.vegsource.com/jo/qa/qawool.htm**
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« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2004 06:14:12 PM »

If my last post wasn't convincing enough to think twice about purchasing wool for your next project, consider this:


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« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2004 06:30:49 PM »

personally, I really like cotton yarn.  I just made a poncho from cotton and find it quite nice.  lion brand also rocks my socks (not actually socks...  I've never made a pair), and a lot of their yarn is non wool.

also, there are some local, small farms that raise sheep and then spin it into wool that are cruelty free.  I was at one where they only sheer the sheep part way so that they won't be too cold, and their barn is heated (they were also the most friendly sheep you ever did see).  it'll be pricey, but you might be able to find some wool that's both animal friendly and satisfyingly wooly.

Wool is cruel to... the customers who is allergic to wool Grin

that just cracked me up.....

and just so you know, I'm not taking sides on the wool debate!  I'm simply trying to be helpful.   Cheesy

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