Speaking of Wool…
SHOP CLOSED THURSDAY until 1 pm. I will be in San Antonio speaking and this is truly an awesome experience. SUBJECT: WHY BUY LOCAL?
The Texas Hill Country is rich with wool, angora and cotton history. While Cotton was
not a favored crop because of the landscape being too heavy with rock, fiber producing animals such as sheep and goats thrived. The 1870’s saw a huge shift from cattle raising to sheep ranching and by the 1880’s sheep outnumber cattle significantly. Approximately 300,000 pounds of wool were being shipped out in the 1880’s to the mills in the North.
Cotton production is experiencing a renaissance in Texas, though, thanks in part to several ambitious co-ops. The stand-out is the Texas Organic Cotton Marketing Cooperative. 40+ families participate in this program to maintain the integrity of cotton production through organic processes. Still, the U.S. is only 1% of the Worlds producers of cotton but Lubbock area farmers have created the “worlds largest cotton patch.” This is also the source for Appalachian Baby cotton yarns. The one thing that drives me is knowing that we all share a very similar desire to put back in to our communities.
What about other fibers in Texas? Alpaca raisers probably account for at least 40% of the
fiber raisers in Texas. While Suri is considered to be primo, the Huacaya actually produces a more usable hair that can have great crimp but still needs to be carried with wool if you desire elasticity. Alpaca is warm yet cool. It’s versatile and provides a different tactile experience. Much like wool, every part of the fleece serves its purpose.
So as you pick up your needles or ready yourself to warp a loom, remember that the yarn often finds the pattern but sometimes the pattern finds the yarn. Perhaps your next project will be in local wool or cotton!