I’m trying to clear some of my knitting projects so I can begin in some things for that winter festival thingy.
so one of the recent finishes is this merino scarf for himself. We bought the rovings, and he spun it, and I knitted it up using a Moebius pattern. I’m assured its very snuggly.
I have to confess we bought the wool without really thinking it through, and I am not entirely sure of its origin. Since then I made the connection between merino and mulesing. Merino is not produced in the UK, most of it comes from New Zealand and Australia. New Zealand have largely phased the practice out, but Australia actually went back on their promise – they had said the practice would be phased out by 2010 – but this year decided they wouldn’t do that after all.
We do dock our lambs’ tails – and not everyone agrees to that. However, using the rubber rings really does not seem to cause them any pain. The lambs bound away unconcerned. We do it as a prevention against flystrike, which is the reason given for mulesing. However that is a particularly nasty and painful thing to do to a lamb, it takes them up to four weeks to heal, and if there was any doubt, one quick look at the gory pictures available is enough to convince.. and it is certainly not worth doing for a nice yarn.
Given that it is possible to produce merino from countries not practicing mulesing, it does not seem necessary.
So I have decided, (wool stash aside) I am no longer going to buy merino, or any yarn, unless I am fairly sure it did not come from sheep that might have had to suffer this mutilation. This won’t be easy.. for example, China buys a lot of wool from Australia, and they export it as yarn to other countries. But really, we should be buying locally anyway, so this will only be the occasional treat purchase.
I’m also going to extend this to any bought clothes that might contain wool – though many stores are taking their own action
So.. stepping away from the soapbox..
Currently I am knitting:
- a noro jumper (yes I doubt its ethical.. but have the yarn now..)
- jumper from recycled yarn (how good am I)
- multicoloured jumper (ok its been on the needles for years, but all scraps of yarn.. so good me)
- yellow socks (bought sock yarn.. must pay more attention when I buy more)
- secret can’t tell you ( no sheep were hurt in the making of this secret)
and I am crocheting
- granny square throw (stash yarn)
- scrumble something (coldharbour mill scrap yarns – so that’s local and recycling!)