I am a knitwit. I knit, and I knit a lot, and I love it.I am never without a project. It’s a hobby that I had put on the back burner for several years, but have recently resumed, only to find myself just as addicted to the process, the projects, and to the yarns, than ever before. When I started craving the sound of clicking knitting needles again, I needed immediate gratification, and so it was to WalMart that I went. I picked up some inexpensive yarns, and needles and I was off and running.
The first project that I dove into was a simple, ribbed knit winter scarf for one of my sons. I had a skein of navy blue yarn and a skein of a deep gray yarn. I knit the scarf on size 11 needles using those two yarns together, which gave the scarf a terrific marled look. As I was knitting away, I was thinking about how nice the yarn was to work with, and to look at. It was soft, and did not have that Grandma’s Red Heart, all purpose acrylic yarn look at all. I marveled at the improvement in acrylic yarns in recent years.
Recycled Yarns-Caron Simply Soft Eco
One day I happened to actually look at the label on the skein of yarn that I was using. It was called Caron SimplySoft Eco. Then I saw the motto: “Saving the planet one stitch at a time.” Saving the planet with an acrylic yarn? How was that possible. I read on to find that each skein of yarn contained one recycled plastic pop bottle, the two liter kind, I hope. I was tickled pink, as the son for whom the knitting the scarf had worked for the State Recycling Department last summer. I knew that he would be thrilled.
When he came home for Spring break and was presented with the scarf, he loved it, saying that it was very soft and “looked like a professional did it.” I asked him to guess what the yarn was made of. He guessed wool, lamb’s wool, alpaca and so forth. When I told him, “Recycled pop bottles” he was amazed. Of course, the recycled plastic bottle only makes up a portion of the yarn, but a scarf is supposed to keep one bottle out of the landfill, so my scarf knit with doubled yarn had kept two plastic bottles out of a landfill. My next youngest, fashion conscious son, who had previously refused to let me make him a scarf said, upon seeing Nick’s scarf. “Well, if you want to, I guess that you can knit me one, too.” And so, I used the Caron Simply Soft, again with two colors knit together-a sage green and off white, and it turned our lovely, too.
The Caron Simply Soft Eco costs less then $3 a skein and can be found at Walmart, AC Moore, and other places of that sort. If you love to knit and want to go green while doing so, give the Simply Soft Eco a try. The price is certainly right, and as I said, it’s very nice for an acrylic yarn. Bernat has a yarn that is similar, containing recycled products, but I have not used it myself.
Bamboo Yarns-Plymouth Royal Bamboo Yarn, Paton Silk Bamboo, Patons Bamboo Angora
Not long after knitting the first several scarves- I have seven kids- our tax refund arrived and I was all set to order a whole lot of yarn that I had on my wish list on the Webs yarn website at www.yarn.com. One of the yarns that I ordered was Plymouth Yarns Royal Bamboo yarn. Bamboo is a renewable fiber and is not as hard on the planet as growing cotton is, so it is a popular fiber for yarn and fabric among those committed to go green and living a natural life. I ordered three different colors, a deep purple, a variegated blue/green, and a variegated tan/pink. They are are very soft and have a lovely sheen to them. Not a worsted weight yarn, but more of a sport weight, I was dying to give this yarn a try.
My youngest daughter requested a scarf of flowers, and purple was one of the specified colors for this scarf. A scarf made of flowers demanded that I move away from my knitting for a bit to crochet, which was the only way to make such a scarf. I found a pattern for an 100 flower scarf and got to crocheting. I used the purple Royal bamboo as one of the four colors. It is a very soft yarn and does not hold a shape as well as a cotton yarn, for instance. Also, the twist of the yarn is not particularly tight, so it splits easily. However, once I got used to the feel of it, I crocheted 25 flowers easily. They are a bit limp in comparison to the flowers I made using cotton, but it all balances out with the cotton flowers. The cost of the Royal Bamboo is $3.99 per 50 gram ball. I have since crocheted a long and skinny scarf with the blue/green yarn and the feel and drape is lovely, and more substantial with crocheted in a shell pattern.
Right now, I have two balls of Patons Silk Bamboo calling to me, in two of the many stunning shades available, deep purple orchid, and blue sea. The sheen on this lightweight yarn is superb, and the hand is very soft. I will probably make some long and skinny scarves with this yarn to try it out, then I may go wild on a bigger project. This yarn is 70% bamboo and 30% silk and costs $5.99 for a 50 gram ball, though it can be had cheaper on Amazon. This yarn comes in a ton of colors, and some online stores do not carry them all, so look around.
Patons also makes a bamboo/angora blend yarn called, aptly enough, Bamboo Angora, that also comes in numerous, delicious colors. With 55% bamboo, 35% wool and 17% angora, this yarn is a bit more all season and it looks like a keeper among the new bamboo yarns coming out now. If you want soft and sustainable, try out one of the many bamboo, or bamboo blend yarns now on the market.
Blue Sky Organic Cotton yarn
Also found at Webs, www.yarn.com, is a new product–an organic cotton yarn made by Blue Sky. Cotton may be a natural fiber, but the way regular cotton is grown and processed is very hard on the soil on which it is grown, and the environment due to the use of pesticides and such. Organic cotton is a kinder, gentler cotton and is making a splash into the garment world in the form of fabrics, and now yarn.
The Blue Sky Organic cotton yarn comes in natural, undyed colors. The colors are called bone, sand, nut and pebble. The bone is an ecru color and each color gets progressively darker in the tan to light brown color range. There is an image of a gorgeous crocheted pillow made from all four colors of this organic yarn, proving that the natural colors needed be dull.
I have been a bit hesitant to try this yarn simply because I like color, but I am planning to give it a go soon, as it just might make a lovely scarf done it stripes or a single color. I can also see it making pretty tank tops and camisoles. The cost of this new, organic cotton yarn is $9.70 for an 150 yarn skein.
Lion Brand Yarns also has an 100% organic, naturally colored cotton yarn that costs $6.49 for a 90 yard skein. The colors are very similar to the Blue Sky, and it is a worsted weight yarn. When you work out the cost, it is more expensive than the Blue Sky, but you can probably find it at a store near you, so you will pay for the convenience.
Fiesta Naturale Wool
Fiesta Natural Wool is a 100% wool yarn dyed with completely natural dyes. Priced at $6.99 per 100 gram hank, this yarn comes in 8 lovely colors. I have not tried this yarn yet, as I am fairly busy knitting and crocheting with more summer friendly yarns, but if you are in the mind and mood of getting started on some Fall and Winter knitting projects, then this yarn will provide you with a lovely canvas for your upcoming work of art.
Vermont Organic Fiber Co. 0-Wool Balance Organic Cotton/Wool Yarn
Head over to www.jimmybeanswool.com and take a look at the worsted weight, Vermont Organic Fiber Co. O-Wool, and organic wool and organic cotton blend, in a 50-50 ratio. This glorious, all season yarn comes in nine luscious colors, such as lapis, ruby, and rose quartz. This yarn is said to have an earthy look, but a soft feel, and at $8.20 for 120 yard skein, it is quite a steal. This is another yarn that I have added to my “must try” list for fall and winter.
Vermont Organic Fiber Co. 100% Organic Legacy DK
Another Vermont Organic Fiber Co offering at www.jimmybeanswool.com is the 100% certified organic merino wool Legacy DK weight. This yarn look truly beautiful, and the colors are delightful. From the mid green Grove, to the true red Lava, you will find a color for your upcoming fall and holiday knitting projects. A skein of this yarn costs $14.80, but don’t gasp yet, as the yardage is a very generous 305 yards! I might stray from my usual scarves to a sweater or two with this yarn.
Fleece Artists Organic Wool Yarn
I present this organic wool yarn to you, as the hand dyed colors are to dye for, pun intended. These 250 gram skeins come is such indescribable color combinations, that I urge you to go take a look at www.naturesongyarn.com to have a look. These variegated color skeins are lovely to look at, but surely a luxury to own at a cost of $36.95 per skein! Ooh, aah and ouch! This is a very special yarn for a very special project.
Over at www.knitpick.com, there is a wide array of natural fiber yarns, including undyed wool yarns available in worsted and bulky weights. If you have a hankering to try dying your own yarn using natural dyes, this is a great way to get started. You can dip dye for a tie dye effect, dye the yarn all one color, or any use any dyeing techniques that peaks your curiosity and imagination. Go green and go wild with this lovely undyed wool yarn.
I have merely touched on a few of the magnificent yarns appearing on the market for knitter who want a smaller carbon footprint without sacrificing options, yarn weights and colors. Some of these yarns, such as the bamboo, take a bit of getting used to, while others knit or crochet up much like their less eco friendly counterparts. My next scarf is going to be made from Patons SWS Natural Garden, and wool and soybean blend! What next? Now that you know about natural, green yarns, grab a skein and get knitting!