Earthquake in Yushu Province, China. Linda Cortright

This was written by Linda Cortright

Often times I feel like a lone voice in the fiber community. I don’t have time to talk about sock patterns or colorways, much less indulge in an entire weekend of lace knitting. My job as editor of Wild Fibers is to try and get the millions and millions of knitters around the world to care about where their fibers come from. I try to get them to care about the animals, I try to get them to care about the people, and I try to get them to care about how their choices – their precious yarn stashes – impact the lives of complete strangers around the world. In fact, I truly believe that to not care about these things just reinforces a sadly held view of American culture. That many Americans are deeply committed to their own comfort and choose to either ignore, or acknowledge the world that revolves beyond their backyard.

And so with that in mind I will tell you that I have just gotten off of Skype with a man in Yushu Province, China. A severe earthquake struck his “backyard” several hours ago and has initially been categorized as a magnitude of 6.9-7.1. We chatted very briefly as he had to leave to take water and supplies to the WEAVERS and SPINNERS who create his yak yarn.

I don’t imagine anyone will be blogging very much about how this natural disaster effects the fiber community, but that’s exactly why I’m writing this here. I am holding a plane ticket for Yushu scheduled to leave in six weeks, it just so happens this is the cover story in an upcoming issue. My reason for choosing this story is because of the huge Muslim underground that is literally controlling the price point of wool in the Tibetan plateau. And now I have just learned that the buildings, to say nothing of the people themselves, may be standing (if they’re lucky) amidst a pile of rubble.

I know the fiber community is full of people with incredibly large hearts. I witnessed that first hand last year with the efforts they gave towards Keep the Fleece. But I can’t help but think that if even one tenth of the people on Ravelry (and that is thousands and thousands) had an interest in learning about the origin of their fibers, we could help make the fiber community not only a place with a big heart, but one with an informed mind as well.

Please check back for updates on Yushu.

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