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.