Each week in one of the Facebook Groups I am in I do pollings because I am a nerd and I love statistics and.. well because science and yarn! This week the group and I pooled our resources to put together data about where our yarn was made. Because there are so many different types of yarn and brands I narrowed the playing field down to the brands that were the most popular from another poll I did a few weeks ago. I blogged about it here. Below is the inserted post I made in the group discussing what we discovered.
“I read in an article that Turkey was one of the top three countries in the world of cotton. So I thought, you know there is a lot of yarn made in Turkey. I’ll bet that’s why, it makes sense. But I don’t want to assume, so lets ask in a poll to get evidence. I was right, and I was wrong…
Together we managed to add 55 total sleeves of yarn into the data. (From the Brands that we asked for.)
50.90% of all the yarns polled are manufactured in Turkey
12.72% in the USA
9.09% in China
5.45% in India and South Africa
3.63% in Australia
1.81% in Italy, Bulgaria, Peru and Romania
Of these yarns 69.09% are either 100% acrylic or an acrylic blend.
84.21% of all the acrylic/blends are made in Turkey.
This is a staggering number in my mind. I was fully prepared for most cotton blends to be manufactured in Turkey but not acrylic.
23.63% of our data is cotton or a cotton blend of yarns.
38.46% of our cotton yarns are manufactured in Turkey
15.38% in South Africa and India
7.69% for Australia, Peru, Bulgaria and Canada
In regards to the hunch I needed validation for, it is correct. Turkey has come in at the top for manufacturing yarn; at least for our groups most used yarns. However it has brought new and what I feel are more pressing questions regarding the situation.
I think most people I know immediately think of China or India when we hear the words “mass-produced.” Turkey has certainly never came into my mind until this polling. I understand most of the cotton yarns being manufactured there, as I said in the beginning it makes sense. However, acrylic is a man made fiber and could be made anywhere. So, why Turkey? Why are the vast majority of brands going to Turkey for their yarn production? I am perplexed. My brain keeps wandering to images, studies, documentaries on working conditions in China and India that I’m sure we’ve all seen but I keep pushing them away. I remain hopeful that I will be able to uncover another reason for this. I do not want to have stumbled upon discovery that Turkey is to yarn what China and India are for so many other mass-produced items in the world. So please, if any of you have any information or even evidence of why these companies are flocking to Turkey please chime in below. Answers must be found.
Some other interesting tid-bits I learned this week:
Australia and South Africa get a gold star. In our polling a few weeks ago their countries had native brands at the top of their stats. This week I learned that those brands are not only top ranking for their countries but they are also manufactured in those countries. It is also the only brands (of our top brands) who exclusively manufacture their products in their native countries.
A very curious situation has taken place with Scheepjes. The brand does not list on their sleeves where their yarns are manufactured. A native of the Netherlands chimed in on our data gathering thread and reported that it seems companies are not obliged to state where items are made in the Netherlands and that none of the native yarns she had in her stash listed where they were made. That being said, photo evidence from New Zealand came in with what appears to be rebranded Scheepjes yarn under the Lincraft name. The yarns, two different lines both with Scheepjes pull-tabs are listed as being made in China. It is my understanding that rebranded merchandize does not mean switch a label and switch to a different factory half way across the world. It just means labels have been switched/changed. Emails have been sent to both Scheepjes and Lincraft in an attempt to gain confirmation but as of this writing have gone unanswered. I’m not certain what to think about this situation. If any of you have more knowledge of manufacturing and rebranding I’d love if you’d chime in below with your thoughts on this. I am feeling a bit deflated if I am being honest at the thought of my beloved Dutch yarn not really being Dutch at all. Not that it makes it any less squishy and lovely, I am just personally a little deflated at the thought.
While we’re on the topic of feeling deflated:
A total of 13 sleeves from Red Heart were offered. That is 13 different lines under the Red Heart brand. Only 4 of them were manufactured in the USA. I like most people assumed that Red Heart was made in the USA. It was pointed out to me that what Red Heart actually claims is that they are “proud of the fact that many of our yarns are made right here in the USA.” I don’t know about you but many to me means more than 13%. I walked through Walmart myself last night taking pictures and counting. There were 7 total lines on the shelves at Walmart and 4 of them were not made in the USA. I’m pretty confident when I say that Stylecraft has proven that it doesn’t matter where the yarn is manufactured. It ranked #1 in our poll of preferred yarns a few weeks ago, globally. And by an extreme margin I might add. I am just not okay with discovering that claims made by a company aren’t true. Red Heart is my go to yarn as it is the most readily available to me and I’d be lying if I said that this discovery would change that. It won’t but that doesn’t mean that I won’t be grumbling every step to the cash register. I’ve sent an email to Red Heart questioning their wording with the statistics because I am that person.
On a happy note, and I sincerely hope you’ve all made it down this far…
I have to point out something phenomenal that I learned this week that I am certain most of you, like me did not know. Vinnis Yarns, a South African brand are hand dyed and balled by women from an economically depressed rural area of South Africa. The sale of each product has empowered them and brought economic benefits to their community. I think that is absolutely amazing of them! It is amazing that one of the top brands, of all the yarn brands in the world, one of the top brands from our polling gives work to women who so desperately need it, exclusively. If a gold star were the highest star I could give to a company I’d create platinum just for Vinnis. I’ve never used it, have no idea how to get it in my country but I am going to make it a mission to find out how.
If any of you know of any other brands doing wonderful things like Vinnis please share below!
Conclusion: Don’t assume. If you do there is a very good chance that like Jon Snow, you’ll find out you know nothing… just like me.”
There has been massive discussion on the topic in the group and sadly I’ve learned that aside from Turkey giving extreme tax breaks to companies their working conditions are in fact on the same level with what our minds envision when we think of China or India. I am doing more research on the topic. I’ve sent some emails out and am waiting for responses. I may or may not be waiting for eternity, we shall see. One thing is clear though, Turkey is in fact to yarn what China and India are in our eyes to most other manufacturing in the world. It’s a sad state of affairs. Apparently they’ve been trying to join the EU for quite a number of years but cannot because they haven’t changed their policies.
I am seriously toying with the idea of starting a new series on my YouTube channel to talk about yarn brands. The history of the companies, where they manufacture etc.. I think it’s important because a lot of people assume and never look at the sleeves of their yarn. In fact most that were involved in this data gathering got a shock once or twice.