Yesterday I received an email of the manager of O-Wool concerning the organic merino in this post. I commented about the quality of this wool.
The merino of O-Wool has a good quality, but there were some problems early this year. I'm offered a partial replacement of the wool. The yarn I got turns out to be 'second quality', though this was not stated when I bought it in that coop.
Below a detailed explanation of the veggie problem. I have permission to quote O-Wool. I want to make clear this is NO LONGER a problem and that any veggie yarn they have in stock will clearly be sold to their shops as “seconds” (lesser quality yarn).
“Early this year (2007), we received shipments of O-Wool Classic with unacceptable amounts of vegetable matter (VM). Producing products with certified organic wool varies greatly from making products using conventional methods. One area where this is vastly different is how to work around this VM that gets caught in sheep’s wool between shearing cycles. VM includes many different substances including twigs, burrs, grass, and various seed matter.
In conventional wool processing the VM is removed by using carbonization. Carbonizing involves passing the wool through sulfuric acid bowls and ovens, before rollers crush the brittle VM that remains. This process eliminates virtually all the VM and is why most wool products on the market do not contain VM.
At the Vermont Organic Fiber Co (VTOF), we have helped establish and follow the Organic Trade Association’s Fiber Processing Standards. These standards were established to ensure organic certification could be followed through the whole production process. Under these standards carbonization is not allowed. This means we have to use alternative measures to remove the VM and from time to time VM will end up in the final product. We as a company are willing to accept minimal amounts of VM as a natural variation in the products that mimics nature and is part of the organic process. But this particular batch of yarn far exceeded an acceptable level, and therefore we could not, in good conscience, continue to sell this yarn at regular price. We still have much of this yarn in stock and have begun to sell it as “seconds”.
We have since added an organic combing process that eliminates most if not all of the VM. We have already processed and sold two lots of this combed fiber, and the yarn is beautiful and free of VM.
VTOF has been producing 100% certified organic wool yarns for the past eight years. We have learned a great deal about the benefits and challenges of upholding organic fiber processing standards. We strive to produce the best certified organic wool products for the textile market. Our goals as a company are to improve on production processes, support organic agriculture, clean up manufacturing processes, to make the world a better place and to focus on making our company and products more sustainable. We hope that you continue to believe in the integrity of our product, and we look forward to a long-lasting relationship.”