Guest post: Vegan knitting: crafty, fun, and cruelty-free! »
How many times have you been browsing patterns on Ravelry or clicking through the newest edition of Knitty thinking “GOD. I love this pattern but I’m vegan and I have no clue what yarn to use because the people at my local yarn shop are kind of mean about me being vegan and always try and sell me wool and then tell me that sheep like having chunks of their butts cut off without painkillers, so instead of knitting I’m going to go sit in the corner and cry.”
Yep, I’ve been through the same scenario quite a few times myself and it is not fun! The fact is, the vegan yarn market is severely underserved and being a new vegan, or knitter, or both can be quite daunting. Well consider me your brand-new personal LYS employee who won’t scorn your ethics with a withering, condescending gaze.*
Together we’re going to go through some of the most popular knitting patterns circulating the internet today and pick out which yarns will work best for the individual projects! [Ed.: While we’ve linked to the websites of those yarn companies with websites, be sure to look for the best deals on yarns at your local stores or other, online retailers.]
Clapotis, by Kate Gilbert
With Clapotis, I feel that there are unlimited possibilities and you probably can’t go wrong. I do think a 100 percent bamboo or soy would work beautifully as they both have a silk-like, luscious drape that will compliment the bias knit quite nicely. Since it’s a scarf it’s not imperative that you match the gauge precisely, so go with whatever yarn is calling to you regardless of weight as long as you don’t mind smaller stitches. A DK weight bamboo from Southwest Trading Company would look absolutely stunning. If you’re looking for a slightly chunkier yarn try Classic Elite’s worsted weight Bam Boo or Queensland Collection Bebe Cotsoy, a worsted cotton/soy blend. If you absolutely want to stick with an aran weight yarn, then Anchor’s cotton/soy blend Bamboolo would be a perfect match!
Cobblestone Pullover, by Jared Flood
For all you male knitters out there, this is the quintessential pullover. It calls for a wooly aran weight tweed yarn, so I must recommend Kraemer’s Tatamy Tweed Worsted (40 percent cotton, 60 percent acrylic), which you may have to adjust your needle size for, but no biggie!
February Lady sweater, by Pamela Wynne
This is an extremely popular pattern that calls for a worsted weight merino yarn. It’s a lovely spring cardigan so I bet a plain ol’ cotton, such as Blue Sky Alpacas Organic Cotton or Dyed Cotton, would work beautifully here. If you can’t afford that much per skein you can always try Lion Brand Cotton Solid or Knit Picks Simply Cotton. If you’re worried about shape retention then try a cotton/acrylic blend such as Lion Brand Cotton-Ease.
Fetching, by Cheryl Niamath
The Bay Area is the perfect place for fingerless mitts, especially for all that bike riding and stuffing our mouths full of food we do here. Make sure you’re prepared for the fall and knit Fetching. Crystal Palace Bamboozle (55 percent bamboo, 24 percent cotton, 21 percent elastic nylon) has just the right amount of bamboo to keep your hands toasty and plenty of elastic nylon to help them stay snug on your hands.
Monkey, by Cookie A.
If you haven’t knit socks yet, you simply must. They’re fun, quick, and turning the heel isn’t as scary as people make it out to be! This is a striking lacy pair of socks that any of the vegan Crystal Palace sock yarns would work well with. There is Maizy (82 percent corn fiber and 18 percent elastic nylon), Panda Cotton (59 percent bamboo, 25 percent cotton and 16 percent elastic nylon), or Panda Soy (49 percent bamboo, 33 percent soy and 18 percent elastic nylon) all of which come in both solid and variegated colors (choose variegated! Really!).
Owls, by Kate Davies
I’ve wondered just about twice a day my whole life why I don’t have a sweater with owls around the collar, and now here it is! The original pattern calls for a bulky weight wool yarn so Garnstudio’s Drops Ice (55 percent cotton, 45 percent acrylic) seems to have been made just for this pattern. Having a little acrylic blended with the cotton is important because you don’t want those owls to lose their shape and be sad, do you?!
As vegan bulky yarns can be a bit challenging to come by, I want to recommend a few other more budget friendly options, such as Berrocco Comfort Chunky or Knit Picks Comfy Bulky; both are cotton/acrylic blends.
*I have had nothing but amazing experiences at Bay Area yarn shops, but when I travel farther from our vegan paradise I tend run into downright bad manners.
Kristen is a graduate of San Francisco’s Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and is now stuck in the city without a paying job. Luckily, she recently landed a great internship with a local yarn company and is working towards becoming a knitwear designer. She spends most of her free time knitting, eating vegan food, and petting her cat named Cooper who surprisingly does not bother her while she knits (which is pretty much all the time, it’s kind of ridiculous). This is her first post for Vegansaurus, but she has her own fabulous vegan knitting blog, Tree Wool. Check it out!