With the concern over animal agriculture, then of course it makes sense to look at plant-based yarns for knitters too. These are kind and sustainable, and don’t support the agri-business industry. Plant-based yarns like cotton, linen & nettle or hemp are unique and don’t behave the same as wool. To show off their best properties, the right project can help you to cultivate them into beautifully finished designs.
Vegan Yarn (US) and Vegan Yarn (UK) are good online stores to stock up! The former sells colour-grown yarn (above) that needs no dyes. Use with lightweight bamboo knitting needles, which also have better grip for older knitters with arthritis. At end of use, they just biodegrade. Always keep needles safely stashed away from pets and children.
Knits from the Greenhouse is a book of knitting patterns for plant-based fibres. Find 18 knitwear patterns from designers, specifically designed for plant-based yarns. From soil to skein to finished project, working with plant-based fibres is a joy with this book. The projects include:
- Stonecrop Shawl
- Dappled-Leaves Scarf
- Parterre Wrap
- Puget Tote
- Spring Sprout Stole
- Pinatte Tote
- Trellis Tank
- Icicle Drop Tee
- Yellow Ivy Halter Top
- Villandry Tunic
- Lorate Top
- Seabrook Top
- Kenno Top
- Lace Leaf Tee
- Driftwood Vest
- Taos Tee
- Arizona Tee
- Puck’s Tunic
20 Beginner Sustainable Knitting Projects
Sustainable Knitting for Beginners is a collection of 20 projects from knitter and environmentalist Epipa, to show how to knit with bamboo, organic cotton, linen and flax, plus tips to reduce your yarn footprint. And knit with natural rather than synthetic fibres.
Drawing on her childhood when she was encouraged to reuse and recycle unwanted linen, there are tips to turn old t-shirts, bed linen and tablecloths into cotton yarn and how to restore unravelled yarn from unfinished projects to its former glory. Learn how to make shopping baskets for the larder, rugs and bathroom accessories. Make knitted tea towels, dish cloths and shopping bags, plus a knitted top and backpack.
Knitting to Help Others
- Snuggles Project has free patterns, to knot or crochet blankets to help shelter animals.
- Lynn’s Knitted Dog Coats (profits help dog charities)
- Knit for Life lists volunteers that knit blankets for preemies, burial gowns for angel babies and comfort blankets for dementia patients. Loving Hands welcomes donated wool.
- Knit for Peace teachers prisoners how to knit
- Battersea has a club to knit blankets for animals
- Knitted Knockers knits and crochets breast prosthesis for women who have undergone mastectomies. These are soft, warm and comfortable, when placed in a regular bra.
- Knots of Love has volunteers who knit warm hats for anyone going through chemo.