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I am a neo-Victorian Steampunk Goth. I am a professional seamstress working in Las Vegas at "Le Reve," and an avid knitter. My friend and I have recently launched a podcast about Las Vegas, Knitting, and our educational experiences with both. My Ravelry username is RedQueen. Come friend me!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Green Shopping

So, I wanted to talk a little about why we're doing a Regional podcast, in addition to talking about the classes we're taking. There are actually a couple of reasons for this, the most obvious one being that our region (the American Southwest, encompassing California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Texas) is under-represented in the world of knitting.

Which is NOT to say that we don't have a lot of knitting. It means that, on the contrary, we have TONS of knitting and fiber, but it's poorly represented in the Knitting World. A few examples: Stephanie Japel (Glampyre Knits), Scout (of Scout's Swag), the Taos Wool Festival, Stitches West, the Monterrey Wool Auction, and the Texas Kid & Ewe Show are all from our region. And yet. So the first order of business is to find everything and everyone here, and then tell everybody about it. This is so that people will know about their local stuff, and then support it, so that there's more of it. Which leads to the second reason:

I am "green". I have a compost bin, am struggling to grow our own veggies, recycle, turn off the air conditioner, etc. I am not always successful, but I am aware of the choices I make. One of these choices is supporting local businesses. The "green" reason is that if I buy local, from vendors who also buy wholesale locally, then we are reducing our carbon footprint by limited the amount of fossil fuel we use. Which is cool.

The economic reason is one that not that many people address. Let's take a really crap local example (totally fictional, as I haven't actually done any research):

I want yarn. So I go to Knit Las Vegas, a LYS in Henderson. I buy a skein of handpainted Danido laceweight yarn. Danido is a local knitter who also works at Knit Las Vegas, and they have recently started carrying her yarn. Let's say it's $25/skein. KLV takes their profit, and pays Dani. Dani goes to "It's A Grind" (a local 24-hour coffee shop) and gets a large latte, and tips the barista a dollar. The barista gets paid, takes his tips, and realizes that he now has enough money to take his girlfriend to that show she's been wanting to see, "Le Reve." Which is where I work. His money pays me, which pays KLV, which pays Dani, which pays him, which pays me.... Do you see where I'm going?

Of course, this is a very simplistic example, but the premise is correct. Even if Dani went to Starbucks, that barista would probably buy groceries from the local Albertsons, and their cashier would get paid, and be able to pay their sewage bill, which pays my friend's dad, who is helping my friend buy a house. You get it.

Now, I'm not going to say that I've renounced internet purchases from KnitPicks or Amazon.com. I may be green, but I'm also a cheapskate. But I am aware of my choices, and I choose to go to KLV or Wooly Wonders instead of JoAnn Fabric or Michael's for my yarn. Even if I buy Cascade 220, some of that money still goes to Christine (the owner of KLV). And I plan on spending a LOT of dinero in Taos. Hopefully most of it will stay local, but I can't promise anything when I'm confronted with yarn fumes.

So we're here, not to smack other knitters around and demand that everyone go green, but to spread information about locals. If you don't know you have an option, how can you be expected to choose? Until recently, I didn't even know there WERE "local yarn shops," or that there was any difference in what they carried. Now that I know, I can decide for myself that yes, it is worth it to pay the extra $2/skein (or yard of fabric, or whatever I'm buying) so that that business stays open another day, and gives me that choice again.

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