There’s been a lot of focus, in general, on buying local lately: groceries from farmer’s markets, shopping at little mom and pop stores, you know what I mean. And based on a recent Twitter conversation I “overheard,” there’s some crafters looking to source yarn locally as well.
If you’re one of those knitters, Tanis Gray’s Knit Local is a book you need to look into. In her introduction, Tanis discusses the reasons for buying local yarn, including the variations in the definitions of “local.” Tanis highlights 28 yarn companies in the United States, including Brown Sheep Yarn Company, The Fibre Company, Quince and Co, and Brooklyn Tweed, but also features other ranches and operations that I’d never heard of and will be looking into in the future, like Red Barn Yarn and Mountain Meadow Wool. Tanis makes sure to note how many yarns are produced in the United States, and when certain manufacturers made strides to source local or fair-trade fibers.
Each company featured in this book also provided yarn support for a corresponding pattern or two, and the patterns are simply stunning. There’s Kate Gagnon Osborn’s Scandinavian Hat in The Fibre Company’s Savannah DK, featured on the cover. Susan Lawrence’s Oquirrh Mountains Wrap, knit in Elsawool’s Cormo blend, is absolutely stunning—and if you ever have an opportunity to squish a skein of Elsawool, I highly recommend it. One of the stores in town carries it and for some reason I haven’t yet bought any, but not for lack of staring at it with longing in my eyes. Not in Ravelry yet is Kristen Rengren’s Betsy Baby Cardigan, a sweet little cardigan knit in a Pagewood Farms yarn, or Elli Stubenrauch’s Dreaming of Spring Mittens, worked in Mountain Meadow Wool’s Kettle-dyed Artisan Cody.
If you or a crafter in your life are pro-local, I’ll be doing a post later this month in anticipation of Plaid Friday, and you’ll see Knit Local again on that list. I’m hoping to provide some relatively local alternatives or ideas for shopping for crafting supplies locally. If you have any tips regarding local or small-business crafting, please share them with me in the comments!