Many customers have recently asked why we are not currently using organic cotton yarns for our baby wraps. The question is both a supply issue and a sustainability issue.
We have to find a yarn supplier who is able to provide yarn in the appropriate weight and strength. It has to be compatible with the looms the fabric will be woven on. It has to be on cones large enough such that weavers are not changing the spool every 30 seconds.
All of these factors combined are why Poe Wovens, an American woven baby wrap manufacturer, does not currently offer organic cotton baby wraps and slings in our machine woven collections.
American textile mill representitive Bethanne Knudson, of Oriole Mill, said it best in a correspondence we had last summer,
"Most organic cotton is used only for knitted fabric as it is often not strong enough to be used in weaving, unless it is coated with gunk to make it strong enough. After weaving the gunk has to be removed. I don't like exposing my crew to those agents -- so we choose instead to use top quality yarns instead of using yarns that have to be coated.
The reason it can be used for knitting is that there is very little tension or stress on the yarn during knitting. The warp yarn, the yarn that is stretched taut on the loom, is under tremendous tension and is subjected to friction and hundreds of pounds per square inch in the beating, in the weaving process. Weak organic yarns can be used as weft but not warp. Using it in the weft when the warp is not organic doesn't make sense for most people who prefer the organic.
The organic yarn is more expensive but in most cases low quality. So far, I have not found an organic cotton worth weaving. A yarn that pills in the first few washings is not worthy of all the resources invested in making the fabric. The most sustainable manufacturing is to produce that which never needs to be replaced, in my opinion. We decided to go for top quality in all our yarn and so far, the organic cotton is just not good enough. It is too bad."
Our handwoven collections however, are another story... (stay tuned!)