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Raw Material
Raw Material: Working Wool in the West | Stephany Wilkes
5 posts | 2 read | 6 to read
Follow a sweater with an "Italian Merino" label back far enough and chances are its life began not in Milan, but in Montana. Many people want to look behind the label and know where their clothes come from, but the textile supply chain - one of the most toxic on the planet -- remains largely invisible. In Raw Material: Working Wool in the West, Stephany Wilkes tells the story of American wool through her own journey to becoming a certified sheep shearer. What begins as a search for local yarn becomes a dirty, unlikely, and irresistible side job. Wilkes leaves her comfortable high tech job for a way of life considered long dead in the American West. Along the way, she meets ornery sheep that weigh more than she does, carbon-sequestering ranchers, landless grazing operators, rare breed stewards, and small-batch yarn makers struggling with drought, unfair trade agreements, and faceless bureaucracies as they work to bring eco-friendly fleece to market. Raw Material demonstrates that the back must break to clothe the body, that excellence often comes by way of exhaustion. With humor and humility, Wilkes follows wool from the farm to the factory, through the hands of hardworking Americans trying to change the culture of clothing. Her story will appeal to anyone interested in the fiber arts or the textile industry, and especially to environmentally conscious consumers, as it extends the concerns of the sustainable food movement to fleece, fiber, and fashion.
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Lindy
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What started as a quest to find local wool to knit started Californian Stephany Wilkes on a life-changing path. She documents the many steps along the way from sheep to clothing, most important being the lack of infrastructure. Transformed, Wilkes ends up quitting her job in the tech industry to become a full time shearer. Informative + personal: I recommend this to #knittersofLitsy & anyone curious about where their clothing comes from.

Cathythoughts Nice one 👍🏻♥️ 2mo
Cathythoughts I loved the sheep‘s feet / legs ( boots ) and that they are wild mountain creatures 2mo
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Lindy @Cathythoughts Yes, the shepherding of land through judicious management of sheep—animals who serve a function in nature, particularly certain heritage breeds—it‘s all very interesting. 2mo
Cathythoughts They are so hardy ... we often see them jumping up the mountains & roaming about ... a beautiful sight 2mo
Lindy @Cathythoughts 😊🐑🐑🐑⛰ 2mo
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Lindy
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“The only thing better than the last sheep is the first sheep.”
[something sheep shearers say, before starting their backbreaking work]

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Lindy
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“Vendors apologize for not having much (or any) yarn to sell this year, because it smells too strongly of smoke. I want yarn that smells of smoke. Smoke is our terroir this year, the story and taste of our place…”

The part about the devastating fires in California in 2017 has an emotional impact in the epilogue, after readers have come to know the individual farmers and their flocks of sheep who were in the affected counties. #knittersofLitsy

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k.reads
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Loved it! I learned so much about the current U.S. wool industry and how much work it takes to go from “sheep to skein.” If you‘re interested in #knitting , #crochet , or #slowfashion , and even #climatechange , this book is for you! 🧶🐑

Godmotherx5 Did you say “knitting”?? 🧶 5mo
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k.reads
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Dolly “Not me” says the woman who plants pots of cotton in the Northeast US. I must remember to post fiber, spinning related photos to fish for others with the same affliction. 😁Do you have sheep? 5mo
k.reads No... but I‘ve 100% thought about it 😅 5mo
Bookish.SAM Truth! A very slippery slope! I went from recently learning to knit, to having my life‘s goal switch to wanting to own an alpaca farm 😂 🧶 🦙 (edited) 5mo
julesG @Bookish.SAM An Alpaca farm is my dream - my father's too. I might sow indigo. My family had sheep. And I had to learn processing wool from lamb to jumper. 😀 5mo
Suet624 So true. 5mo
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