Sunday, July 10, 2011


Cally recommended, a little while ago, this book, "To Die For", but in a slightly different context as I understood from her post and links.  The book got a rave review in The New Zealand Listener, focusing, among other things, on the un-sustainability of cotton.

It has been on my mind, you know, how cotton is grown.  I love my commercially-grown, chemically-dyed cottons; I know they come from one New Zealand source who gets it from three sources in Italy, Korea and Taiwan the last time I asked.  I also know that textile's country of origin is the country where dyeing took place, or at least so I was told by a Swedish weaver in Picton who had a business in Australia and imported yarns from both countries.)

I never got back to you, either, about what I found out from Claudia about processing bamboo, because the science blew me away and I didn't feel comfortable talking about things I don't fully understand. (Though that's never stopped me from talking about a whole lot of other things, I know.)  And the cost of merino seems to be sky-rocketing around me.

I think it's time I started looking into sustainability.  The way I see it, I can stick to the yarns I have on hand for the next couple of years, reduce stash at the same time study good yarns, (original material vs end-of-life,) and good sources; sample, and develop a relationship with the source.  Then, hopefully by the time I reduce my current stash quite a bit, I can start buying and supporting "good" yarns.

Something like that.


  1. Elaine Lipson of Slow Cloth ( and Red Thread Studio ( tells me there are five areas to look at. (Numbering by me.)

    " a nutshell the 5 dimensions I think are important:

    1) how the fiber is grown or produced,
    2) how it's dyed and processed,
    3) fair and just labor practices (including fair prices for farmers),
    4) shipping and transportation, and finally,
    5) responsible design - not radically changing styles and colors every season to force more shopping, not making cheap crap.

    End-of-life is also a factor, often forgotten in the equation."

    I'm not going to worry about fairness to MY labor, but among other things, transportation to New Zealand is a big issue. There is much to think about.

  2. Whereas changes in style, etc., isn't an issue for my "products".

    Elaine also says organic cotton is better because it does not use pesticides, not fertilizers; I had previously thought the latter was the big problem.

  3. pesticide in cotton production also causes famine, as cotton is generally only treated for the most common cotton pests, allowing other parasites to take shelter in cotton fields and be able to come out and attack rice paddys and such at their leisure.

    new processes for scouring and dying are being developed all the time, especially in china, where they're now starting to wake up to issues of water conversation in industry. You should read EcoTextile News if you can find it. they have a website too, but probably not with as many articles. It can keep you up to date on issues of sustainability, environmental protection and sourcing and supply-chain issues with yarns and textiles.

  4. Thanks for that tip. The website is here: At $200/year, I'm afraid subscribing is out of question, but I will look for it in the Polytech library, for sure!

    I think I really must now read "To Die For" for starters.

  5. That was 199 POUNDS/year - so nearly NZ$400/year. Ha. Ha. Ha......

  6. Another recommendation: the blog oechotextiles,, recommended by Harmoney Susalla,, by way of Elaine Lipson of Red Thread,


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