You walk into a grocery store and look for organic fruits and vegetables, humanely raised meat, non-GMO snacks, and handmade, artisan bread. Not only does this food taste so much better than pre-packaged meals with a questionably long shelf life, but how the food is made also aligns with your moral standards. By buying ingredients that are sourced ethically and humanely, you are are helping change the landscape of the industry.
So, why should buying yarn be any different?
As knitters and crocheters, we think of our yarn as our ingredients. What yarn do we need to make the coziest scarf for our mother? What fiber will make the softest baby blanket for our new little niece? What can we use to knit a pair of gloves for our friend who has incredibly sensitive skin? How can we knit a hat and help reduce landfill waste across the world?
Ethically made vegan and recycled yarn gives knitters and crocheters the freedom to create one of a kind, beautiful projects, while simultaneously bringing positive change to the crafting industry. Here are some reasons to start at love, and buy sustainable yarn:
When many people hear of a vegan lifestyle, they often correlate it directly with diets. In fact, veganism correlates to lifestyle choices that expand beyond the kitchen. Buying vegan means that the product in question was not created using any animal by product at all. In terms of yarn, this means that there is no wool or silk base in the fiber.
There are many options for those looking to buy vegan fibers. Plant based fibers such as banana fiber, hemp, cotton and linen are some popular yarns used in knitting and crocheting.
For a listing of our vegan yarns, click here
Not only does animal free products promote cruelty free environments, but it also helps increase environmental sustainability. In general, plants require less inputs (food, water, hand-to-hand care) than animals do. Plant based products such as hemp, cotton, linen, and banana fiber help cultivate a continual “green”, environment.
Due to the beauty and regality of silk, it is often overlooked from an ethical standpoint. Most silk is made from killing silkworm pupae, by either placing them in boiling water or blasting them with hot steam. This process allows silk harvesters to gather the threads (if the cocoon hatches, the threads get destroyed), and it also makes the silk filaments easier to unwind.
While silk is not vegan, there are ways to purchase silk yarn in a more socially conscious manner. One option is recycled silk yarn, which is made from silk fabric scraps that were originally used for clothing production. The yarn is hand torn, sown, and spun from these leftover manufacturing remnants. Recycled silk yarn allows knitters and crocheters to decrease waste across the globe, while simultaneously increasing the lifetime of the silk from the silk worms.
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Similar to how recycled silk yarn is created, yarn can be created from other material in a similar manner. The landscape of the fashion industry is forever changing - new styles, trends, and color palettes are released on a highly frequent basis. Many clothing companies can get their clothing produced and delivered to stores within 3 weeks of the final design approval. (H&M can reportedly introduces new styles to their stores every 2 days)
The increase in clothing production inevitably brings an increase in manufacturing waste. Perfectly usable leftover fabric from clothing templates are dumped into landfills or incinerators, adding to the billions of pounds of clothing that is thrown out per year. Recycled yarn can help decrease the amount of waste per year by using old material to create new material (Darn Good Yarn alone has helped recycled over a million pounds of silk since 2008) and also by introducing more durable handmade clothes to the market.
Check out our recycled silk yarn here
Buying recycled yarn means that each project you make will truly be one of a kind. As opposed to the highly manufactured yarn that is spun and dyed through machinery, each skein of handmade yarn is a little different. The hands-on nature of recycled yarn gives each individual fiber, and subsequent knit or purl stitch, a unique feel and look.
Looking to try out some of Vegan and Recycled Yarns in your next project? Check out our Darn Good Yarn “Vegan and Recycled Starter Pack” here