Tag Archives: vegan

Versatile Blogger Award

26 Feb

I’m so pleased to say that I have been nominated for a Versatile Blogger Award. I’m thrilled that people read Sockilism at all, and it means so much to me that they enjoy it!

The Versatile Blogger Award – passed on to me by Luminous Vegans (one of my favorite blogs) – is a way for bloggers to recognize each other and recommend quality blogs. If you are nominated you have won the award, and it comes with a few rules, according to the VBA blog, and those rules are:

  •  Thank the person who gave you this award. That’s common courtesy.
  •  Include a link to their blog. That’s also common courtesy — if you can figure out how to do it.
  •  Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly. ( I would add, pick blogs or bloggers that are excellent!)
  •  Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award — you might include a link to this site.
  •  Finally, tell the person who nominated you 7 things about yourself.

I must say, I don’t read a lot of WordPress blogs. I have a few that I subscribe to and stay regularly updated on, but for the most part I spend my time knitting, reading books, and trying to be a good wife/mother (note I said “trying” and bought myself some wiggle room there).

I read up on this award a bit after recognizing that it feels a bit like a chain letter. Essentially, it is a chain letter, but one that you use raise awareness of great blogs. The VBA Blog asserts that by selecting excellent blogs for your nominations, you can maintain the quality of the Versatile Blogger Award. With that in mind, I will only be nominating two blogs. I would be nominating three, but as I mentioned above, Luminous Vegans has already been awarded the VBA and passed it on to me.

The two blogs I nominate for the Versatile Blogger award are about things I really love: Libraries and veganism. Both of these blogs do a fantastic job of spreading great information with quality writing. My Versatile Blogger Award nominees are:

  1. Oregon College of Art and Craft Library
  2. Save the Kales!

There are many WordPress blogs that are well-written and can teach me so much, but I just haven’t explored them enough to include on my list of nominees. In the next year, I will try to read more new blogs and develop a better sense of the WordPress community.

On to the seven facts about me:

  1. I’ve practiced a vegan lifestyle for more than four years, and I approach it from the spiritual perspective of ahimsa: To Cause No Harm. Through this I respect the planet, my body, and the other living creatures that belong to the same web of life that I do.
  2. I sometimes will peel an avocado and eat it like an apple. This is messy and strange, and I don’t even care.
  3. When I travel, if I’m not with my family my body begins to shut down from stress. Within three days I’m totally sick and miserable, but within a couple of hours of returning home to my husband and my own bed I am right as rain. This is often inconvenient, but I think it says a lot about the way I love the people in my life.
  4. I have a vegan pet so I don’t have to compromise my values to take care of my companion rabbit.
  5. I met my husband in the comic book store where I worked as a teenager. I love that we have a cute, interesting story to tell people when they ask our history.
  6. In college I was a very controversial sex columnist. I feel this was blown out of proportion.
  7. I hope to become a special collections librarian within the next five years.

As I said, I am so pleased to have been nominated for this award, and I’m sorry I can’t follow through and pass it one to another 15 bloggers. I can only try to improve my knowledge for next year.

Thank you, Luminous Vegans, and thank you to all my other readers!

Why Vegan?

23 Jan

Cotton is the most common vegan fiber. Photo by scottchan.

You may have noticed that there is one common theme for all of my projects on this blog: The yarn is vegan. Veganism is a lifestyle in which you abstain to the best of your ability from eating or using any materials derived from or tested on animals. This includes meat, dairy products, most mainstream toiletries brands, leather, silk and wool.

I’ve lived a vegan lifestyle for four years, and was an ovo-lacto vegetarian for 6 years before that, which means I didn’t eat meat or fish, but I did eat eggs and dairy, and I used products made from and tested on animals. The switch came from my belief that human veganism is most in-line with my views on morality and biology. I believe humans are meant to be herbivores – though we can tolerate omnivorous diets – and I believe that I should respect the web of life that I am a part of by not causing any harm to other living creatures. This belief is also called “ahimsa” in Sanskrit, and literally means “to do no harm”. It is a term many people are familiar with because Mohandas Gandhi applied it to his non-violent revolution in India in the 1940s.

I have a tattoo on my forearm of "Ahimsa" in Sanskrit as a reminder to respect all life. Though many tattoo inks contain animal fat, this brand of tattoo ink is vegetable-based.

In the knitting world, I belong to a small, sometimes unwelcome community. Knitters who use animal fiber – wool, mohair, angora, silk, etc. – may believe that animals are intended for human use, and others still may work with those animals and have close relationships with them, seeing to their welfare and treating them fairly. I understand that some farms do treat their sheep, llamas or rabbits with respect and love. However, the idea of veganism promotes the respect of all animals, and not just the lucky few who live on nice small farms.

Say for instance that a small farm with less than 20 sheep produces high-quality yarn from their herd. This yarn will cost significantly more and be produced in tiny batches. Large companies that ship yarn to every craft store in America will need much more wool. They will likely use factory farms to get their wool. These factory farms are pretty much exactly what they sound like: Factories. The animals unlucky enough to be raised in these factories are not treated as individuals and often live short lives in filthy, cramped conditions. Because sheep are also killed for meat, much of this wool comes from sheared sheep on their way to slaughter, or even from their skin after slaughter. This mass production of wool means that skeins of yarn cost significantly less for the consumer, and many knitters will buy these brands because they are budget-friendly.

I don’t believe that these knitters are evil, careless people. But we live in a mass-production society, and often animals are caught in the cross-hairs of consumerism. If I purchased and used a wool yarn from a small farm where the sheep were loved and lived out long and happy lives, I would break solidarity with the unfortunate sheep serving their lives as cogs in a factory farm. If I knit a cute wool hat made with yarn from well-treated sheep, I may inspire another knitter to make that same hat out of factory-farmed wool.

Silkworm cocoons are boiled with the worms inside them to create silk (with the exception of “wild silk”, which uses found cocoons). Factory-farmed angora rabbits are tied spread-eagle and shaved, not carefully plucked by a hand-spinner. For every single animal raised with love, a thousand are treated with no regard for their life or comfort.

Some animals are harmed indirectly in the production of crops for plant fibers like cotton, bamboo, soy and corn silk. However, through vocal opposition of careless farming and harvesting practices, veganism continues to support a harmless alternative to animal fiber. Cotton may not be nearly as warm as wool, but at the end of the day I can wear my handknits and know that I did my best to live according to ahimsa.

I hope that non-vegan knitters read my blog. I want to share the joys and frustrations of knitting with all of you. But if anyone is turned away from my work because of my vegan lifestyle, I won’t apologize. I try my hardest to lead a good life, even when it places me out of the mainstream.

To learn more about veganism and mass wool production, visit the Vegan Society website.