Thoughts on Sustainability

Posted by Alison Manning on

What does it mean to be sustainable? 

A quick online search gives me this definition:

adjective: sustainable 1. able to be maintained at a certain rate or level. ‘sustainable fusion reactions’ conserving an ecological balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources. ‘our fundamental commitment to sustainable development’ 2. able to be upheld or defended. ‘sustainable definitions of good educational practice’

Google Dictionary

From a yarny point of view, this typically translates to raising fibre animals in a healthy way, being mindful of the effect of dyes and chemicals used, and humane treatment of all the workers from the shepherd to the delivery driver who brings stock to my door.  It’s a system which works to support everyone who is part of it. In the textile world, there is something called a “GOTS certification” which is an extremely rigorous certification process granted to companies who can demonstrate that they are making choices which support this kind of sustainability.
    

Let’s expand on that. What do we need to make our society sustainable? Recent global events have proven to us (yet again) that our society as it is currently structured isn’t sustainable. People are being shut out of opportunities to grow, denied dignity and basic human rights, physically hurt or even killed. This can’t go on. 

I’ve been thinking about this for a couple weeks now and have decided to try something new. I want to actively seek out designs from under-represented makers (specifically those who self-identify as BIPoC and/or LGBTQ)  in the textile world and give their designs extra consideration when making items to showcase new yarns.  How is this sustainable? It means that if I’m buying their patterns and making them, you might see one that your really like and buy it too. If the design is featured in a window or on social media even more people will see it. The result is added income for the maker which helps to improve quality of life. Yes, this is very small – a drop in the bucket. But we have to start somewhere. 

I am starting by making When the Rainbow is Enuf by Mara Licole. It’s a showstopping brioche and lace shawl which takes three skeins of fingering weight yarn. Wanna join me?


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