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Topic: vegan knitters?  (Read 1242 times)
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missmuffcake
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« on: January 08, 2008 01:23:15 PM »

So after picking up knitting again I am starting to branch off from 'just scarves' with some simple projects. I am vegan and most (97% I would say) call for wool or some other animal based yarn that I will not use. I am not wanting to debate in this forum my choice of not using animal products, this is not the place. I just want to know what others use in place of certain yarns. When something calls for chunky or fun fur yarn it is easier but when it calls for something like 50% wool 50% angora I am at a loss. Thanks!!!
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sassy-pants
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2008 01:46:03 PM »

There's a bunch of no-cruelty wool available, if you google it.  I also frequently see people using hemp instead of wool.  Its not nearly as warm, but it could be a viable sub.  Cotton is a great alternative, though not as stretchy as wool.  You could also try googling corn yarn, I'm not sure what its called, but I've heard of it.
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« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2008 02:14:27 PM »

After a brief, probably mildly inaccurate scientific study (also known as my science fair project), acrylic falls into the "I insulate pretty well" category. The thing is, we used red heart supersaver which is a slightly heavy worsted weight, as compared to several other yarns which we believe are a true worsted, and a corn yarn, which was a sort of light worsted. I say go with a well made synthetic substitute- I think that plant fibers don't do well, as evidenced by the poor performance of corn and cotton in my science fair project.
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cdngreenie
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2008 02:20:52 PM »

it all depends on the weight of the yarn, really.  Unless, of course, you're trying to replicate the texture of the wool or alpaca or whatever, then I really don't know what to tell you. 

BUT if it's just finding substitutes, try to get the yarn weight (worsted, 2-ply, chunky, whatever) and find other yarns that approximate that.   I wouldn't even bat an eye at the fibre content, go straight to weight and gauge. My LYS actually classifies the yarns based on the gauges they produce, so they've done half the work for us, but all the same, you should easily be able to sort it out based on ball band information.

There are all kinds of vegan friendly yarns, from the everpresent (and often more affordable) acrylics, to linen, bamboo, cotton and a few other fibre choices.  Given the fibre strength, though, you may not be able to find plant-based substitutes for all weights of animal-sourced yarns. ... which is where acrylic comes in!
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missmuffcake
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« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2008 04:16:12 PM »

There's a bunch of no-cruelty wool available, if you google it.  I also frequently see people using hemp instead of wool.  Its not nearly as warm, but it could be a viable sub.  Cotton is a great alternative, though not as stretchy as wool.  You could also try googling corn yarn, I'm not sure what its called, but I've heard of it.

I am not a fan of how wool feels, like my boyfriend has a wool coat (he is not vegan), it makes me feel itchy. I really like how Lion Brand 'jiffy' is wool like but soft and not itchy for me.
I use cotton for dish clothes and cat toys...I am going to look at corn yarn!
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Millicent May
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2008 06:35:51 PM »

I'm a new knitter so I have no experience with substituting one yarn for another, but I just wanted to say that I love bamboo yarn. I'm currently knitting a scarf with a 70% bamboo/30% cotton blend, and it feels so nice and the fabric drapes beautifully. It's very cheap where I live, but it may be expensive elsewhere. I am pretty sure I have seen some shawl and sweater patterns that are designed for bamboo yarn. Try googling it!

Coincidentally, I just ran across this thread which might help you: http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=40201.0
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« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2008 07:29:53 PM »

it all depends on the weight of the yarn, really.  Unless, of course, you're trying to replicate the texture of the wool or alpaca or whatever, then I really don't know what to tell you. 

BUT if it's just finding substitutes, try to get the yarn weight (worsted, 2-ply, chunky, whatever) and find other yarns that approximate that.   I wouldn't even bat an eye at the fibre content, go straight to weight and gauge. My LYS actually classifies the yarns based on the gauges they produce, so they've done half the work for us, but all the same, you should easily be able to sort it out based on ball band information.

I agree Smiley 

I only use animal fiber when I felt.  I knit in almost 100% cotton, all the time. 
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stripey_cat
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2008 04:59:10 AM »

If you're OK with synthetics, some yarns have elastic in them.  Since wool tends to be a lot springier than plant-fibres, this can help.  Acrylics are often spun to be substitutable (is that a real word?) for wool, so may do.  (Rowan has a nice acrylic/cotton blend with a lot of bounce - Calmer, I think it's called.)

If you prefer to avoid petrochemical-derived too, you're running into more trouble.  Plant fibres (linen, cotton, hemp) aren't very stretchy, although they can have a very nice, soft drape.  Even the synthetic (or very heavily processed) cellulose fibres (rayons, the new bamboo-derived ones and that sort of thing) tend to be drapey rather than springy.  You need to pick patterns that work with these fibres, not try to turn them into something they're not.  Patterns for silk, and some alpaca yarns, are already designed to use this natural drapeyness, and will probably work better with plant fibres.

K.
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Xanthia
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2008 08:54:07 PM »

#1 rule when subbing yarns, especially vegan yarns. PAY ATTENTION to what the fiber is, not just gauge. Different fibers drape WAY differently. If you sub cotton or bamboo for wool in a pattern, you will get a more drapey garment, that doesn't always work out.

I'm not really a vegan, but I'm highly allergic to wool and lanolin so I sub all the time. I've found a lot of acrylic blends to be good for sweaters. There are some nice acrylics, really. Calmer is so nice (it has elasticity to it, but is expensive), but even Simply Soft is a great craft store find. I'm currently making a sweater out of Berrocco Comfort and it is really nice, and acrylic/nylon, and I have some Rowan Cotton Rope lined up for a cardigan.

PS, I just knit a scarf out of Maizy, a corn yarn, and it is really really nice yarn! If you have any questions, just hollah!
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2008 09:02:31 PM »

I can't believe no one has mentioned Soy...
I'm not 100% sure but I'm pretty sure I saw some soy fiber yarn that felts.
Linen is a good option, as it wears beautifully and gets softer over time.  Expensive, though.

If you decide to do cotton, which is not an evil in and of itself, go with a lightweight like Patons Grace (expensive) or Omega Sinfonia (sport weight, but often with knots in the skein) - don't do anything too heavy (like a giant sweater).

A good, inexpensive acrylic-cotton blend that I've been considering making a sweater out of is Lion Brand Cotton-Ease; I like the color palette (the blues, dark grey, lime, and terra cotta shades make me drool).  It's velvety soft and light enough to hold its shape well (it's a 50-50 blend) and is inexpensive.

The bamboo yarn here is beautiful, but $14 for a 25g ball.  This has led me 1.) not to knit with bamboo and 2.) to boycott my LYS (well, not just their ridiculous prices but also their annoying sales staff that talks trash about everyone who leaves the store and doesn't stop when you come back in because you forgot something!).

Good luck!
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