Posts Tagged ‘natural yarns’

I made the decision to open my own online yarn shop, Hands with Hearts, for one reason. I want to make a difference. I want to offer people the most beautiful natural yarns for their fiber creations that also give back. You don’t even have to make a conscious decision. You have my promise that anything you buy in my shop supports one or several causes: empowering people in developing countries, teaching trades, providing livelihood, supporting health and education, supporting proper treatment of animals, protecting endangered species, supporting environmental practices in fiber development, supporting small farmers and other small artisans.

I want to introduce you to four of the companies that I support by offering their products in my shop. I encourage you to read more about them and to consider using their products in your future projects. They have all given me the inspiration and the motivation to join the world of online retailing.

Manos del Uruguay is a cooperative begun by five women in 1968. They offer training in dying and spinning, weaving and knitting fiber. They also teach women business skills. Each cooperative is individually owned. Since their creation, Manos has changed the lives of generations of families in Uruguay, providing health insurance, retirement pensions, paid vacations and paid maternity leave for their members. The company has recently been admitted into the World Fair Trade Organisation. You can read more about the history of the company here. They make extraordinarily beautiful kettle-dyed yarns.

Be Sweet is a company with a conscience. Founded in South Africa by the  American Nadine Curtis, Be Sweet trains and provides jobs for women in the poorest regions of South Africa. They also give back by supporting education programs. Read about these programs here. Be Sweet is most known their amazing hand spun mohair yarns, but they also have gorgeous organic cotton, bamboo, merino and recycled yarns.

Green Mountain Spinnery is also a worker owned cooperative. Located in Putney Vermont, The Spinnery embodies all the values of a company that I want to work with. Their goals, as you can read here,  are to create yarns of the highest quality, to help sustain regional sheep farming, and to develop environmentally sound ways to process natural fibers. They make every effort to purchase directly from individual growers. Their 100% wool yarns are spun entirely from New England fleece. Unlike most commercial mills, The Green Mountain Spinnery uses no chemicals to bleach, moth-proof or shrink-proof yarns. Their yarns are the “real deal,” beautiful, natural, socially and environmentally sound.

Snow Leopard Trust has been working for over 25 years to save the endangered snow leopards of Asia. The most wonderful aspect of this organisation is that they have studied to understand the causes of the conflicts between people and the cats. They have developed programs to train the nomad Peoples of Mongolia, for example to dye and spin beautiful camel-hair fiber. They also felt wool into clothing and toys. These new sources of revenue along with education about the snow leopards has reduced poaching and the killing of the cats for food.

I leave you today with a short video of these beautiful animals.


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