After the Green Mountain Spinnery skeins their yarn, they ship much of it out but sell some in their small front store.
This little creature watched as I stacked my choices by the cash register.
Although the store sells many colorful yarns, it was the pure sheepy colors that called my name. Aren't these gorgeous? I wish I had purchased some of the same yarn in natural gray, too.
This yarn is made from the fleeces of sheep raised organically by Vermont farmers. Some of the shepherds sell their fleeces outright to the Spinnery while others request that Green Mountain process the fleeces and return them as yarn. They then can sell the yarn from their own sheep to visitors to their farms. (More on this tomorrow.)
After the fleeces are brought into the Spinnery, they are cleaned, carded, and spun through a process Green Mountain calls GREENSPUN. Unlike most of the yarn available to knitters, GMS yarns do not use petroleum in the scouring, carding, or spinning processes. Only gentle scouring soap and nonpetroleum carding oils are used. (For the upsetting facts about most commercial yarns, see the Worsted Witch's series of posts about textiles and sustainability.)
The Spinnery is deeply committed to production that is environmentally sound. To meet their commitments, they created a more efficient water-saving scouring system and a lanolin-extracting wastewater system.
Because of Green Mountain Spinnery's developments in sustainable production, the Northeast Organic Farming Association has established organic standards for yarn processing.
In addition to purchasing fleeces from local shepherds, Green Mountain does business in other ways that support the local economy. Yarns not sold in the store are mailed out in recycled boxes from a local mailing company. Waste wool is spun into interior windings for baseballs--by a Vermont company. Mill ends are donated to charitable organizations that teach knitting or donate knitted items. Occasionally, special mill runs are created for fundraising to support relief efforts for national and international crises.
You can learn more about the Green Mountain Spinnery in their stunning book of patterns and history: The Green Mountain Spinnery Knitting Book: Contemporary and Classic Patterns.
This is really my first purchase that answers the Village Knittiot's call to join her in the Summer of Knitting Naturally. Stay tuned to tomorrow's post for details of my second purchase and future plans!