So, we know there are animal products in, like, everything. Marshmallows, shampoo, car tires - nothing is safe from animal additives. But somehow I thought that cross stitching would be clean. Alas, no.
I've been looking at the advanced pretty kits - I figure I'll never be able to design really complex charts without first delving into one that's provided to me, floss and all, to get a feel for how things get put together. And one thing I've noticed is that a lot of them come with wool thread.
It's not just in the advanced kits either. I've seen in in the crappy little kits for children - the ones that come with 6 point plastic aida and what is essentially yarn. (Side topic - why do they make those things so damn ugly?) Looking into it, I found that DMC, the most popular manufacturer of stitching floss, makes 180 colors of wool floss.
Wool? Really? I mean, why? Sure, wool can be really useful for making coats, because it is good at keeping people warm. (Of course, in this modern age we have plenty of modern substitutes.) Wool yarn, while I certainly don't like it, at least makes some sense - people make wearable garments out of yarn. But we're talking about decorative needlepoint here - objects that, when finished, will be framed and hung on a wall or maybe be put on a pillow. Wool? Completely unnecessary. Unless of course you're afraid that your pillow and/or wall is going to get really cold? Um... yeah.
Wool is one of those animal items that doesn't need to be nearly as brutal as it is. It's much in the same category as eggs or milk; we can get these products with little or no harm to the animals that produce them... theoretically. But for some reason we choose not to. For some reason? Who am I kidding, we all know the reason: profit. How can we make more? How can we make it faster? Do whatever it takes! And who cares that these "products" come from living things.
Suffice it to say that if your kit incorporates wool floss, I won't be purchasing it - no matter how gorgeous it may be.
P.S. - Just noticed - of course there's silk stuff too...