How to Make Your Knitting Eco-Friendly


Kacey BradleySummertime is here, but if you're October dreaming in August and you love to knit, no doubt you're already dreaming of fuzzy fall sweaters and ordering some new patterns. But have you ever stopped to wonder how sustainable your knitting practices are?


Knitting is all about love. It's about crafting something by hand, investing hours of your time, just to make someone else — or yourself — feel special. The act of creation shouldn't be tainted with worries about the planet we share. Here are seven tips for how to make your knitting more eco-friendly so that you can keep those positive vibes flowing through your work.

1. Pop Some Tags

If you love to thrift shop and hit yard sales, you're already on your way to becoming a more eco-friendly knitter. You can reuse yarn, even from hideous sweaters available for pennies. And that's not all. When folks have estate sales, some contain homemade wares — both for reusing and for borrowing ideas for new projects.

2. Repurpose Old Items

Looking for the perfect color of yarn? You may need to look no further than your heirloom chest or your winter storage. Chances are, you have at least one item you no longer use, and the beauty of knitting means you can undo your work and reuse. Sure, you could drive these items to Goodwill, but doing so takes gas, increasing your carbon footprint.

Create a game out of making outdated items look new. You can add length to a too-small sweater, for example, or change the sleeve length to update an old look.

10/5/2019 7:36:35 PM

As a spinner, I can tell you that bast bamboo fiber is available, I just don't know if there are any companies that use it for commercial yarn. Bast fiber means that it is fiber that is taken out of a plant stem, like flax or hemp and such. Yeah, at least most of the bamboo fiber you get commercially is just rayon made with bamboo instead of pulp factory waste. If you are lucky it is tencel, which is like a third or fourth generation rayon. Tencel is alleged to be a greener fiber than regular rayon, and IMHO definitely superior to the older varieties, and has many of the virtues attributed to bamboo fiber regardless of what cellulose flavor it is made with..

10/5/2019 11:55:34 AM

i believe the process that makes bamboo into yarn involves some unpleasant chemicals as well, rather like the processes for making rayon. that makes bamboo yarn less "green" than i would like. add that to it comes from far away and i just don't use it. i use a little organic cotton, and a lot of wool. i also make hats for various groups from yarn that is given to me. that is usually acrylic. even worse than making petroleum into yarn is making petroleum into yarn and then wasting it...

10/4/2019 10:04:27 AM

Generally you just have to commit to hand washing and drying flat, though I have seen acrylic and other yarns that are blended with less than 10% wool that the label claims does not shrink "significantly". I have experimented with blending wool with all manner of natural fibers and several man made in varying quantities, and have found no joy of it. I've gone so far as to try pre-washing yarn after spinning it, under circumstances ranging from full on laundry abuse to repeated gentle washings, and mostly what I get is felted yarn (which does not shrink but is not what I was hoping for). Mind you it does vary some, certain breeds of wool do respond to repeated gentle washing to a degree; but there is not as enough consistency to it that I would call it reliable. Several articles a few years ago reported that the Army was working on developing a superwash (washable) wool using an enzymatic process. I have been waiting and hoping for this to happen and come into commercial usage. The current process for making superwash is so hideously polluting that the only country that I know of that allows it in production is China. It does not involve plastic, but rather quantities of chlorine and other harsh chemicals are used to strip away and flatten the scales on the surface of the individual fibers in the wool. Thus the individual fibers cannot interlock and felt, thus the wool does not shrink. The wool in this process has been rendered close enough in texture to acrylic that it is no surprise that you would think it feels similar.

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