Oy. I know...I just have a feeling that this is going to be a long blog post, so grab some...something you like to drink and settle in because I have a story for y'all. As I promised this will be installment #2 of "Vegan Knitter Rant" but before I get started, I have some things to say about the internet. Yes, the internet.
But let me back up a little bit. I have a little slice of sad in my world right now as my best friend is sort of...unavailable. It's a GOOD thing though, as she's finally pursuing her passion of being a beauty master (getting the paper anyways...she does NOT need it...) and it's a full time gig. When we finally had a chance to talk the other day, she was telling me about this cool nail art stuff and one phrase....struck me as funny...it was just an "aside" but FUNNY. "Well there's the whole controversy about this nail polish...I know that sounds stupid...but..."
But it didn't. I mean really, it didn't. On the internet there is controversy about EVER-ER-REE-THANG! I used to think it was just the small niche world I personally inhabited (at the time, natural parenting) but as my interests changed and grew, I realized...no matter WHAT the subject matter....if there is a group of people gathered on the internet, there is going to be controversy and debate and all this craziness (by the way, have you ever seen the Forum Lightbulb Joke?) Funny.
So really, none of you should be surprised (even if you think knitting is lame...I'll forgive you, only because I probably held that same opinion at some point in my life) that there can be controversy....about....
YARN. Yup. All kinds of controversy. (Stop laughing y'all, this is SERIOUS!!)
One of the biggest "hot topics" (oh...I'm dying...the pun here...you'll see in a bit) is natural yarns verses synthetic, or man made, yarns. There are those who SWEAR that if you do not knit with WOOL, you are not even worthy of the name knitter. There are those who defend to the DEATH that Red Heart Super Saver (cheapest, roughest and nastiest yarn you can buy) is the only thing you should use if you want your hard work to live long past any type of nuclear incident and then there are those who just sit back and watch...and read....and laugh. I would be the...well, you know (if you know me at all.)
And so a couple of days ago...it began. An innocuous thread where a kind knitter expressed her joy at her friend's announcement she was expecting....asking all the wise knitters for a bit of help because her friend was vegan and would not want a baby item made with animal fibers.
I knew what was coming. I mean, it ALWAYS does, but this time....it got funny.
Let me tell you what happens in a thread like this. People pipe up with their favorite non-animal yarns for about...oh...the first five posts. Someone inevitably mentions acrylic. Acrylic yarns, if you do not know, are completely man-made. Out of oil. They are about as far from anything natural as you are going to get. There are definitely no animals involved in the making of acrylic yarn, however...as the posters will point out...as it escalates....
It's really bad for the environment (This is true. It's a petroleum product and it's manufacture is really kind of gross. And in case you DOUBT this VERY REAL INFORMATION, here's a you tube video to PROVE IT. Okay, not really, I'm too lazy to look it up and I know no one is going to watch it, but in the interest of being honest, there was just such a video posted)
But, but, but....COTTON is even WORSE. (Yes, cotton is a pretty harsh crop in terms of what it does to the environment just because of the pesticides used...this is also true)
But....That is why I use ORGANIC COTTON. It's the ONLY THING I will use because it's like the only thing that ANY responsible knitter would use if they really card about their children, and grandchildren...and so on. Anything else is just downright IRRESPONSIBLE!!! (Hey, I have some organic cotton. It's lovely. Love it....great stuff)
BUT.....Did you KNOW...that in some areas where organic cotton is a lucrative industry, people are not allowed to use pesticides at ALL and because of that the indigent folk DIE of MALARIA. Therefore, organic cotton is KILLING PEOPLE and anyone who cares about their child or grandchildren and so on...should only use....(fill in the blank, I have no idea. This is news to me. Mosquitos suck. Literally. I'm all for their death and demise, but I think bats are a way cooler way to take care of this problem, but the vegans would probably have a problem with that too since using bats for anything would be abusive...)
Then...then you get the "I don't get it. Sheep and other fiber animals aren't KILLED in the process of collecting their fiber so why in the heck would you have anything against it..."
Bring on the PETA Saves the World Through You Tube videos showing all manner of animal abuse PROVING that any animal that has ever been used for fiber has been abused and mistreated. Duh. (Okay, listen up folks. I am very much against animal cruelty. But I believe with every ounce of my being that humans are the creatures higher up on the food ladder and as such, we are the GUARDIANS of animals. I do not believe in all this crap about how they are exploited if they are enjoyed and cared for. Sheep...they need sheared. Let to their own devices, they would not have survived this long on our planet. They are an animal that greatly benefits from a symbiotic relationship with humans. )
Then you have the small farm people who immediately get up in arms because THEIR animals are treated well (and they are, I am one such animal owner, although truth be known, I have no idea what I'm even going to do with the fiber once it's ready. I'm more interested in the fact that this crazy angora goat eats POKEY BALLS from my yard. She's awesome!) and how horrible it is to lump all fiber animal keepers in with mass producers of ANYTHING. (True, true...if you have an issue with yarn...know where it comes from. Not too hard, I promise you. Anyone who sells yarn on a small scale....they are going to tell you everything you want to know and more about the animal it came from. You think new grandparents are annoying with their stories and pictures? Then you've never met a small farm fiber producers. Those animals are their BABIES...)
But then....after all the controversy seems to have died down...after you think it's all been said...and everyone has been sufficiently scolded for their stupidity and their lifestyle and their beliefs...(and this happens in EVERY SINGLE THREAD I have EVER SEEN asking about babies and yarn...).....
"I only use natural fibers when I am knitting for any baby because of the flammability issue...."
The Flammability Issue. Duh. You don't KNOW about the FLAMMABILITY ISSUE? Holy crap. I seriously hope you don't have children. Because if you do and don't know about this VERY IMPORTANT issue you have putting those precious children in harms way every day of their LIVES.
Sheesh. Let me educate you.
Sometimes things catch on fire. This has happened to yarn, I think. (It has to have happened to yarn because it's always brought up. It has to be really common right??) When wool comes near flame it will self-extinguish (in laymen terms, unless there is a direct flame....the wool will cease to burn. It just goes out) Cotton (which everyone seems to think is best) goes up like CRAZY (although the natural fiber snobs swear it's okay....they've obviously never been a yarn hunter and had to perform a burn test to determine fiber content, but I digress) Acrylic, on the other hand, being a plastic, melts. (And stinks. Oh MY LANDS..it STINKS) And so if....it catches on fire...it could like...melt instead of...burn. Which...if that was on a baby...that was in a fire...would be bad.
Okay, I get it. Certain yarns burn differently. Certain items in the entire natural WORLD burn differently, but why....oh why....is the first thing people think about when talking about what babies will wear....FIRE?
I'll just let you think about that for a minute and see if you can logically come to the same conclusion I have....
Wait for it...
Babies should not EVER EVER BE NEAR FIRE. Holy SHIZ people. Really?? I mean COME ON. In the event of a house fire (God forbid..seriously...) if...that fire...gets THAT CLOSE to your BABY, you have a very serious issue of smoke inhalation that has probably already taken the life of that baby (Okay this is SO MORBID, but the logic simply needs examined here)
So yesterday, as this thread is heating up surrounding whether or not vegans are stupid (I do not advocate putting down anyone who is sincerely trying to make the world a better place, no matter how misguided...that's their decision) someone throws out the standard "I never put babies in anything that will melt when they inevitably catch on fire" someone finally says....(paraphrasing, becaues I don't have permissionto quote)
"I just prefer keeping babies...out of fire...."
I wanted to stand up and cheer. Finallly. Someone said it. Out loud So I replied
"This always confuses me. The hyper-concern for what children are wearing if and when they catch on fire. Like it’s this very, very real possibility….the number of times it gets mentioned when people ask about knitting for children would have us all believe that fire is an inevitability or something. Totally off topic, but just something I find really odd….."
I got like 92 'agrees' and '14' funny clicks. So it's not just ME?? I am not the only one who wonders...wait, what?
And I thought that was funny. And I read it to the kids. And we had a good chuckle.
I went back to read the thread again, but at this point, it was locked. Uh-oh. That can't be good....what happened?
You want to know right? I know you do...
Well, someone else had a VERY PERTINENT piece of information to add to this thread. I mean, seriously guys, this is....Serious...Again, I'll paraphrase...
"So like...one time...this guy...set my really long hair on fire...and at the time...I was wearing this sweater. It was an ACRYLIC sweater. It burned me badly. So, yes, you should never, ever, ever use acrylic yarns for babies..."
I mean....what? Because?
When some dumb ass sets YOUR BABY'S hair on fire...that acrylic blanket you made....will like...melt your baby.
Oh. My. Gawd.
Y'all. This is not FUNNY. I am NOT LAUGHING that this person was harmed. That is awful. I mean, really it is....but then...when I thought it couldn't get any better....the person who said she didn't advocate keeping babies "in fires..." says...
"What kind of idiot sets someone's hair on FIRE?" Exactly!!! LOL!! And so, this poor girl, with her heartfelt plea...trying to save people from catching on fire (who didn't maybe...watch enough after school specials to realize her message should have been 'Choose who you hang around wisely...they may set you on fire...') started getting 'funny' clicks on her post....FUNNY CLICKS and she was indignant. I mean, hello? She could have DIED (she said this actually, in an edit) and how could anyone click her FUNNY button after sharing something so important....
I don't think she understood how not relevant her having her hair....set...PURPOSELY on fire....was (I have to believe that's why the funny clicks were given because I do believe humanity isn't THAT horrible. Being set on fire is NOT funny....at all...but I think we can all agree...if that happens, you have bigger problems than what the fiber content on your clothing says...right?)
And so the thread is locked now. Because it "derailed...." You think???
But that's ago, because this morning, a new one ALL about babies and their flammability and the history...and why wool rugs....is already morphing into a debate about chemicals put on clothing and how silly it is to make sure your child is safe WHEN you let them PLAY around fire....