Why vegan yarns? I have just one word for you and that word is ‘mulesing’. I don’t think I will ever buy wool again after finding this word on a PETA site and innocently looking it up. Nope, no wool for me.
One of the things that I like about Portland is that when I walked into my local yarn shop and asked for vegan yarn–no wool, cashmere, silk, merino, alpaca, mink top coat blend, or angora–the shop owner didn’t even hesitate, and, pointed me to a section of vegetable fiber yarns. The prices ranged from $8-$18 for yarns made of bamboo, hemp, modal [rayon made form birch tree cellulose], cotton, and linen. The bamboo yarn was incredibly, unbelievably soft but the linen was at the far end of stiff and scratchy. One problem was that the skeins were the size and gauge of baby yarn. The knitting needles that were recommended started at 2 and went only as high as 5. I prefer a nice size 9 needle so this was disappointing. Another issue was the limited number of skeins in the same dye lot. Since the skeins are so small, it would take a lot of yarn to make a sweater and there was no guarantee that I could get enough from the same dye lot. It seemed that the best solutions were 1] find a supplier with larger size yarn gauges, 2] find a cheap polyester, rayon, acrylic yarn that doesn’t become frizzy and ruin hundreds of hours of hard work, and 3] learn to use several colors to make the best use of small dye lots. I purchased two skeins of a hemp, modal, cotton blend and decided to finally learn how to carry color. Since this was a vegan project I decided to make a row of bunnies as my test swatch. You can also check out my project description on the knitting website Ravelry at http://www.ravelry.com/projects/shellbackgirl/vegan-yarn-test-swatch