It’s Earth Day 2011 today! Thread artists who want to reduce their carbon footprints consciously use eco-friendly, non-synthetic yarns for their projects since synthetic ones are made from petroleum. There are several “green” choices available from animal, plant to bio-synthetic fibers. If you decide to use any of these products, this post lists a brief description of these commonly used eco-friendly alternatives.
Animal Fibers: Many yarns fall under this category and mostly includes wool, alpaca, llama and cashmere. Fibers of this nature are warm, breathable, yet lightweight and are well-loved by spinners. Care must be taken when choosing these in that the animals need to be raised cruelty-free and according to organic specifications. In addition, fibers purchased from local farmers is said to best support one’s community. If local wool is not available, online options include those from: Knit Picks, Lion Brand Yarn, Jimmy Beans Wool, and Fiber Organics.
Plant Fibers: This category includes cotton, hemp and linen. Though inelastic, fibers made from plants sources are stronger and less itchy and provide a good alternative for those allergic to animal fibers. Because pesticide usage is commonly associated with plant fibers, it is best to go organic when choosing from this group. Online sources includeLanaKnits and WEBS.
Bio-synthetic Fibers: Because these are highly sustainable and bio-degradable, they make good choices for more eco-friendly projects. These commonly include bamboo, corn, and soy-silk. Unlike natural fibers, this group (though inelastic) has key features such as moth-proof, may be hypoallergenic, and machine washable. Bamboo is currently controversial as a “green” source because of the long process involved in its manufacturing. Online sources for bamboo are NobleKnits, and NearSeaNaturals. On the other hand, corn makes a good choice for children’s clothing because of its easy-care properties. Yarn companies offer fibers made of corn under the following labels: Cornucopia, Corntastic, and aMaizing. Made from the residue of soy beans in the manufacturing of tofu, soy-silk yarns are as soft as cashmere with a silk-like drape, yet it wicks away moisture. An online source is The South West Trading Company.
So here you have it– there are abundant choices for eco-friendly fibers. If you haven’t worked with any of these, why not consider using them in your next project and make every day an Earth Day.