Tag Archives: recycled

Winter in June – How I Stay Sane During Bay Area “Summers”

1 Jun

Oh, the joys of living in San Francisco. The weather is hardly ever quite right. While my family and friends living in Texas are reporting temperatures well over 100 degrees, it has been cold and raining off and on for the past week. I suppose you learn to love it, and it certainly pays off in the actual winter months.

I recently treated myself to Julie Hasson’s new book Vegan Diner and have been eager to try some recipes. Even though it feels so wrong to be making soups and stews as the rest of the country eases into the first weeks of summer, I can’t help but crave comfort foods when the weather gets so dreary. So, I decided to try the recipe for veggies and dumplings.

I really enjoyed this recipe, and it was so easy to put together!  I can’t wait to try more from this book; I have my eyes on the  the mac-and-cheese, reuben, and Philly cheesesteak sliders for future meals.

I refuse to completely abandon hope that warm weather will come to San Francisco. If it doesn’t, I’ll never get the chance to wear the Comment (Norah Gaugah Vol. 6) tank I’ve been working on for the past week.

After knitting Watershed I had decided I wanted to work something a little more mindless for awhile. It’s a lot of stockinette.

Luckily, I had just enough Knit One Crochet Too 2nd Time Cotton in my stash for this project. If you’re not into subbing you’re in luck, the pattern calls  Berroco Bonsai (97% bamboo, 3% nylon) which is a vegan yarn!

So that’s about how my life has been since finishing up the semester. A lot of cooking, knitting, and glancing wistfully out the window wishing for warmer weather. What are your summer plans?

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Berroco Remix and the Great Silk Dilemma

26 Nov

The other day I was in Hill Country Weavers with my mom when I stumbled upon Berroco Remix. I was intrigued because the label said it was made of 100% recycled fibers, which is just so cool. In fact, I’ve used quite a few fabrics and yarns with recycled content for school projects in the past, but I’ve never seen a 100% recycled yarn.

As I read the content I grew more and more excited; 30% nylon, 27% cotton, 24% acrylic, 9% linen, and then I saw the measly 10% silk (not vegan!).

So now I’m experiencing an ethical dilemma. Basically, this would be my dream yarn, except for the silk.  I’ve always hated buying new synthetic fibers for environmental reasons, but in order to make a nice sweater it’s sometimes a necessity to buy new acrylic or nylon. This blend does seem like it would make a great sweater yarn. Even if the silk is recycled and makes up such a fraction of the content as a vegan is it still okay to use? Is not using this yarn and then choosing a new cotton/acrylic blend for my next sweater a more ethical decision?

This is what Berroco says about their manufacturing process:

“Garments and high-quality commercially knit fabric panels left over from the ready-to-wear industry are collected from across Europe and sorted by fiber, then color. Because these pieces are pre-dyed, there is no need to dye them again, which saves water and prevents water pollution. Instead, colors are created by carefully blending garnetted fibers. Garnetted fiber is the result of shredding old textiles to make a new, fleece-like fiber that is ready to be spun into a new yarn.”

So basically, a bunch of fabric scraps that would otherwise be tossed in the garbage are being reused to make new yarn. I’m still not sure what I think. I’m not sure if there is a right or wrong answer.

I would love to hear some opinions from other vegan knitters. Would you be inclined to use this yarn, or would the silk stop you?

Vegan Sweater Yarn Roundup

26 Oct

The question that pops up most often in vegan knitting groups and message boards is probably something along the lines of “what’s the best vegan sweater yarn?” Of course, this doesn’t take into account the different types of sweaters (cardigans, pullovers, shrugs) or different techniques (top down, fair isle, cabling), so choosing the perfect yarn isn’t as always as easy as finding a vegan yarn in the matching gauge.

So here’s a few options you might consider when the chilly weather gets you thinking about casting on for your next sweater.

Berroco Comfort is a 50/50 blend of nylon and acrylic, which makes it quite warm. The best thing about this yarn is the wide variety of weights it comes in, including worsted, DK, chunky, and sock! I wouldn’t recommend this yarn for any project that you want a lot of structure to, like a fitted cabled sweater because the nylon has a tendency to stretch a bit when worn. However if you have your eye on a looser fitting or drape-y cardigan designed to be worn open this could be the perfect blend for you.

The aptly name I Am Allergic to Wool by Farmhouse Yarns is a bulky blend of 85% cotton/15% rayon that comes in some very attractive colorways.

Cotton and acylic blends will always get the job done, by providing structure, elasticity and warmth without being too plasticy feeling. Perfect for your next pullover. Knit Picks Comfy comes in a few different weights (bulky, worsted, sport and fingering). For the more eco-conscious crafter there is Lion Brand Recycled Cotton which is a yarn made from recycled cotton fabric trimmings and acrylic. There is also Rowan Calmer, which is a cotton and microfiber blend.

If you want your knits to have a tweed look check out Tatamy Tweed (worsted and DK) from Kraemer Yarns. Lion Brand also just released a new acrylic called Tweed Stripes which as the name suggests is also self striping. The heathered tweed look is really trendy right now, so I would suggest snatching some up for a project this winter!

So now you’re like, hey thanks for the list but I really don’t like acrylic at all! I’m with you on that, but unfortunately vegans have been given the short end of the stick by yarn manufacturers when it comes to winter appropriate yarns; acrylic is going to be a bit of a necessary evil if you want both warmth and structure in your knitting. Personally, I would like to see yarns that incorporate natural and organic fibers blended with recycled polyesters and acrylics to create the perfect vegan yarns. Someone get on that project.

I will suggest trying out a 100% soy yarn, such as Southwest Trading Company’s Pure. Soy silk is a fairly warm fiber, however it does not have any natural elasticity, so reserve this for a project where you want to see a good amount of drape and a delicate hand. And of course if you don’t mind layering cotton will make a good sweater, but it’s not going to be very warm.

Austin Trip, a FO and a new WIP

17 Jun

I’m finally back from Austin! While I can’t say it was the best trip, I still had fun and I always love spending time with my mom. Living half a continent away can be tough sometimes!

The first day I was there I thought I might have broken my foot and spent the day laid up on the couch watching reruns of House. The next day my foot felt better, but I soon came down with an upper respiratory infection which I am still dealing with. All this down time meant I finally had a chance to finish Tuck! Photo courtesy of my mom.

Completed Project: Tuck

This project was so fun and I love the finished product. It may be my favorite garment I’ve knit to date.

Of course I did manage to venture out of the house a few times and so we paid a visit to the Old Oaks Ranch Fiber Arts Center in Wimberley.

This charming little shop is situated in a rural area and includes a sculpture garden, a herd of alpacas and a large room for weaving. It’s a bit of a journey from my parents house, but well worth the drive. When we arrived we were immediately greeted by the super friendly owner and offered a glass of water, which was great because it was well over 90 degrees outside. The shop is quite cozy and there were several people there chatting and working on various projects.

While there actually wasn’t much of  a selection of vegan fibers, I still picked up 2 skeins of Habu Textiles XS-32 20/18 Bamboo, which I think wants to be a shawl. I also picked up a few skeins of 2nd Time Cotton from Knit One, Crochet Too, which is made from recycled fabric scraps from the garment industry.

On the plane home I started the Arrowhead Shawl with the 2 skeins of Hempathy I had leftover from Tuck.

I don’t really wear shawls over my shoulders, but living in San Francisco means I’m always looking for light weight scarves for the summer, and I think this will be perfect!