As more and more of us change our lifestyles to embrace environmentally friendly activities, organic knitting yarn is becoming more popular. As a charity knitter, it’s pretty likely that you care about the world around you. One way to make that world even better is to start using organic products… including your yarn. But what is organic yarn, and why should you use it?
What Makes It Organic
Nowadays, you can find both organic wool and organic cotton yarn; whichever is your preference. Organic wool comes from organically raised livestock. This means the animals cannot be genetically engineered, given synthetic hormones, or treated with synthetic pesticides. There are also restrictions on how many animals can graze on a specific size of land, so as not to overwork the pasture. Similarly, organic cotton is grown without the use chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, and the land it’s grown on must be free of chemicals for at least three years. Many of these organic yarns, whether wool or cotton, are available in their natural color or shade–resulting in a dizzying array of gorgeous earth tones. For wools, the colors you find depends wholly upon the animal it was spun from. This includes sheep, alpaca, goat and even camel. The cotton shades are said to actually get darker the more they’re washed. You can also find suppliers who use “low impact” dye for their yarns. This means little or no harmful dye runoff into the ground or water from the dyeing process. In addition to organic wool and cotton, organic yarn is also being made from a variety of mind-blowing materials giving rise to a non-animal based family of yarns called “vegan.” Earth Friendly Yarns has a list that includes fibers from the nettle plant, corn, banana plant, and bamboo. There are also yarns made at least partially from recycling other products. Some are obvious, like recycled sarongs and other clothing, while some are more daring. Caron sells a line called Simply Soft Eco that boasts a content of 20% recycled water bottle and is marketed as a Medium Weight (#4) yarn. As with any new thing, it may take a little time to get used to organic yarns. But there are many varieties and colors available, from many different companies. So which organic knitting yarn will be your new favorite?