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Spinning an Eco-Friendly Yarn: Knitting Goes Green

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This sock yarn is made from a blend of fibers derived from wool, soy, cotton, and shrimp and crab shells. The manufacturer, South West Trading Co., is one of a growing number of companies marketing ecologically friendly knitting products. (Courtesy of SWTC Inc.)


A group of workers at Thirteen Mile Farm shear wool from organically raised sheep. The process of making wool into yarn is conducted with as little impact on the environment as possible. (Courtesy of Thirteen Mile Lamb and Wool Co.)


A flock of organically reared sheep await shearing at Thirteen Mile Lamb and Wool Co. in Bozeman, Mont. Their wool is processed into yarn using methods that have minimal impact on the environment. (Courtesy of Thirteen Mile Lamb and Wool Co.)


Yarn from Thirteen Mile Lamb and Wool Co. gets its earthy colors from vegetable-based dyes. Plant-based dyes are more environmentally friendly than chemical versions, but they produce a limited spectrum of shades. (Courtesy of Thirteen Mile Lamb and Wool Co.)

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Yarn manufacturing is toxic and can be highly destructive to the environment. A number of companies have responded with all-natural, eco-friendly yarns. Will knitting mavens be willing to sacrifice beloved shades and textures in order to save the planet?