Tools + Supplies

Published on August 27th, 2009 | by Kelly Rand

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Yearn Worthy Yarn: Lorna’s Laces Green Line

Lorna’s Laces is a small yarn company located in Chicago, IL. They offer a great variety of hand-dyed yarns whose color palettes are carefully and lovingly created. Early in 2008, Lorna’s Laces jumped on the opportunity to expand their line and offer an organic yarn option.

And so the Green Line was born.

The yarn, offered in a DK and Worsted wieght, is spun from 100% organic merino wool and was hand-painted with all natural dyes. The wool is raised and certified as organic on a ranch in Argentina. Then is taken to an organically certified (IMO certification) mill in Europe for combing and carding. Then it goes on to the spinning mill where it’s conventionally processed.

So, it’s not perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction and we thought it was important to start taking those steps as soon as we could.

says Lorna’s Laces.

The Green Line comes in a great range of bright and wonderful colors including Hope, Silence, Solitude, Courage, Mirth, Dusk, Growth, Echo and Chagrin. Great names too!

Lorna’s Laces started out using all natural dyes on the organic merino to try and be as environmentally friendly as possible. It was an exciting new challenge and fun new process for them. But after much experimentation and trying to scale up the natural dye process, the Green Line ended up being conventionally dyed.

Betsy of Lorna’s Laces explains in a blog post on the subject:

To dye the Purple Line [their non-organic yarns], we use a single part process that takes about 7 gallons of water to dye 10 pounds of yarn and 2 rinse cycles in a standard washer to get all the dye out. We don’t need an extra step to mordant, in fact we don’t mordant our Shepherd line at all. From start to finish, a dye lot takes about 90 minutes. Forty minutes of that time involves the use of electricity to boil water.

With the Green line, the natural dyes create a three-part process. First we scour, then we mordant and then we dye. Each part takes about 12 gallons of water for a total of 36 gallons. That seemed pretty skewed, but what really shook me up was that we need to rinse once or twice after each of the first two steps and another 5-6 times after the last step! We also were heating water for 8 hours! Things just weren’t adding up environmentally or fiscally.

The company has not ruled out natural dyes and they continue to have an open dialogue with their dye suppliers on the subject. You can continue to read the full explanation on the decision to use conventional dyes on their blog.

It is hard to find fault in a decision that was so well researched and thoroughly thought out. The Green Line continues to be conventionally dyed but the fiber is still sourced from organic merino and combed and carded in an organic mill and it is still hand dyed, which is pretty nifty.

So what say you? Could the Green Line be more environmentally friendly? Which would you choose, the natural or conventional dye?



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About the Author

Kelly covers visual arts in and around Washington, DC for DCist and is editor of Crafting a Green World. Kelly has also been published by Bust Magazine and you can find her byline at Indie Fixx and Etsy’s Storque and has taught in Etsy’s virtual lab on the topic of green crafting. Kelly helps organize Crafty Bastards: Arts and Crafts Fair, one of the largest indie craft fairs on the east coast and has served on the Craft Bastard’s jury since 2007. Kelly is also co-founder of Hello Craft a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the advancement of independent crafters and the handmade movement. Kelly resides in Washington, D.C. and believes that handmade will save the world.



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