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While seeking out the (surprisingly) many local fiber producers across the US and Canada, a whole new world has opened up to me. It's a world that is mostly hidden from the common consumer when they are buying a skein of yarn in their favorite local yarn store or online. It's the story of the yarn that we so love to touch, smell, and work with.

Have you every wondered what animal or plant your yarn comes from? On what farm or where in the world it was produced, grown, harvested, cleaned, dyed, and spun? Have you ever wondered what it takes to bring that skein of yarn in your hand to your doorstep?

Please join me and enjoy the interesting discoveries I have been making while assembling this online fiber resource directory.


Why Buy Local?

That is at the root of the question Tanis Gray asks in
her introduction to her new book "Knit Local" with
"Why Knit Local?"

Knit Local
by Tanis Gray

Visit her website

Buy it now on Amazon.com

If you are a fiber provider, submit your listing to the directory - it is FREE!

It's a great book that provides you with a glimps into the yarn life cycle of some of our local producers, kick-starts your curiosity about other local providers (you can find more right here on LocalFibers.com) and is paired with 30+ inspiring knitting patterns.

Now, isn't "Why Knit Local?" just about the same question you might want to ask yourself when you are buying fiber? Why buy local fiber? I think Tanis found some great reasons why to knit local or buy local fibers and she was so kind to let me use an excerpt from her book's introduction. Thank you, Tanis!

Why Knit Local? (Excerpt from "Knit Local" introduction)

What are the benefits to buying local? These days we find ourselves inundated with commercials and ads telling us to buy local, that local is better and that we should boycott overseas products. We are told to buy local without being told the benefits, and the benefits are what make it worhtwhile.

Local is a broad term, one with varied definitions. It can mean buying honey from your neighbor's beehives or buying something across the continent. By keeping your business in the same country, or even in your neighborhood, studies have shown that more of that money returns back to the community, strengthening the economy and providing more local jobs. By buying local you are in turn supporting yourself.

Another major benefit to purchasing local goods is the environmental impact. Local businesses tend to make more local purchases, which require lower or little transportation costs. Being able to send items on a truck or even a bicycle means no international shipping, less oil and gasoline, reduced fumes, less pollution and faster turnaround time. It gives the business owners more time to spend developing their product and getting to know their customers than waiting for freight and contributing to climate change and resouce consumption.

When purchasing yarn in a yarn shop, not every knitter thinks about where it came from, the farm they grew up on or who dyed it for them. They don't consider the fiber being processed or what it took to get the yarn from sheep to skein, so to speak. Buying local doesn't just stop at apples from the farmer's market or cotto T-shirts -- it can be found in the most surprising places!

Many of the yarn companies featured in this book have seen their product through its entire lifespan. They were there when the animal was born, raised and bred it, sheared it, processed the fiber, dyed it, spun it, put labels on it and got it to your local yarn shop. In today's society we've lost track of the journey our yarn makes. Living in a city myself, the only time I see animals is when I visit the National Zoo. Being a farmer is one of the most difficult jobs out there, with a 24/7, never-ending shift. To not only raise the animals but make the fleeses into beautiful yarn is the ultimate example of sustainability. [...]

Next time you find yourself in your local yarn shop or at your farmer's market, talk to someone about where the fiber in your hands is from. How was it made? Where was it milled? What kind of dye process was used? The more you understand about your fiber and where it came from, the more informed you will be and the more you'll appreciate the process.

There's so much more to yarn than going to our LYS and purchasing what's new and pretty. The yarn in your hands has a life cycle just like we do, and it's a fantastic journey.

Happy knitting!

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