I’m a happy vegan and a happy knitter. I’m trying to find some alternatives to wool, and while I know they are out there, are there any downsides? Will my socks suffer if made with cotton? Is there warping or any odd side affects from using un-natural fibers? And if anyone has a favorite source for some animal friendly fibers, please share!
Have you looked at the Soy sox yarn?
i’ve heard that cotton socks fall down alot. Something to do with cotton have less elasticity.
And also www.yarnmarket.com and click on their “eco-friendly” section. Not all are animal free, but some are.
Sorry-- this is an easier link to the yarnmarket stuff:
Try this site. They have some very nice synthetic yarns.
Don’t forget Southwest Trading Company
Can I ask the political question of “why?”
I am sincerely curious what your rationale is behind not wearing wool – or any animal-based fiber – from animals who are not harmed in the acquisition of their fur? It isn’t like leather where the animal has to be killed.
Not being antagonistic - I am sincerely curious…
I’ve wondered that myself, Carrie. I’m looking forward to an answer.
I am also vegan and the reason that I don’t choose to use wool or other animal-based fibers is because I believe all animals deserve to be on this earth on their own terms, not just for another species’ use. As far as them not being hurt that’s not actually true in all cases. Some wool “manufacturers” have a problem with blow flies laying eggs in the wool so, in order to keep the eggs out of the wool they will take a chunk of the sheep’s skin off so that the flies have somewhere else to lay.
AKCampbell, would it make a difference to you if you knew that the wool was humanely harvested? I worked the Renaissance Faire for a number of years and as “village folk,” there were handful of women who kept their own sheep, sheared their own wool, and then combed and spun their own yarn. There are a number of places that produce “friendly” wool like the following: http://www.localharvest.org/wool.jsp
Would/could a place like that be a consideration?
A number of LYS have promised not to buy any yarn spun from wool harvested in Australia because of the inhmane treatment of sheep with blowfly. One of the LYS in my area is participating in the boycott.
If there weren’t so many alternatives to wool I might be inclined to use one that is “friendly” but that doesn’t mean to me that the animals are treated humanely. But, again, I don’t feel any species should exist solely to service another no matter how nicely they’re treated. There are lot of “what if” scenarios with being vegan and believe me, I’ve heard a ton o’ them. I can’t speak for everyone but I suppose the bottom line for me is I just don’t believe it’s necessary to use animals in any way. I hope I’m not coming across as a jerk or anything…
I agree. While I’m not vegan, I am vegetarian, and I don’t use/wear materials made from animals. I know there are people out there who do not harm the sheep they get the wool from, however, just because a person claims they don’t harm the sheep doesn’t always mean that’s true. I think one would have to do a lot of research on an individual/company to be sure no sheep are being harmed.
An example (though not related to sheep) is the Ringling Bros. Circus. Recently I took part in the Denny’s boycott because they were supporting the Ringling Bros. Circus. I wrote to Denny’s expressing my disappointment and stating I would no longer patronize their restaurant until they stopped supporting the circus. I received an e-mail back from Denny’s and they pointed out they had done research on Barnum and Bailey and they were absolutely confident there was no animal abuse taking place within the circus. They even directed me to a website that was filled with all this information about how the Ringling Bros. treats the animals humanely and the animals receive the utmost care. What I found rather humorous is it was Ringling’s OWN site! Of course they are going to say they treat the animals humanely and take the utmost care of them! Like they’re really going to come right out and say, “yes, we abuse the elephants, come see the show!”
I don’t use animal fibers because more times than not, there is going to be some kind of abuse or inhumane treatment towards the animals (trust me, I’ve done a TON of research, from the time I was 17 to the present, on animal rights issues) that are used for their wool or fur or hides, whatever and, with the selection of non-animal fibers available I do not need to use animal based fibers. Even if a person claims their animals are not hurt in the process, I would rather play it safe and not buy the fiber at all than risk being lied to and have an animal suffer for my vanity.
Wow, Thanks everyone for such a great response to my question! I had heard about cotton being tough for socks, has anyone tried anything else successfully?
I hadn’t expected my question to flourish into such a lively discussion. It’s wonderful to see this is a community with an open mind where everyone can share their ideas. As for myself, I chose to be vegan when I realized my love for the animals. Humane treatment is very important to me, so a friend who produces their own wool would be a wonderful substitute for me. A happy sheep makes for a much happier knitting experience.
Thanks for the websites, keep them coming if you have them!
As a Native American, I wear leather, wool and just about any other animal. As a Christian, I follow God. He put US with dominion over the animals. If HE did not want us to use them, HE would have provide other things over 2000 years ago. Just because non animal substitutes have come around does not mean that GOD has changed HIS rules.
What they do for sheep for flies do not lay eggs on them is much more humane than letting the sheep die from the larvae.
trywww.littleknits.com go to their crystal palace section and check out their panda cotton section its a mix of bamboo, cotton and elastic. that should work pretty good for socks.
This is a sensitive topic and while everyone has a right to his/her opinion, let us please try to keep things friendly. As always, keep in mind that seeing the words online lacks context and the sensitivity of the speaker. Most people are just trying to express their own feelings, not attack anyone else.
Thanks scout52! I think that is the best suggestion I have gotten so far. I’m in love with sock knitting and am glad to have found a great alternative to wool. The color choices are beautiful and its very affordable.