For crafty upcyclers, knitting is a handy tool. Got an ugly holiday sweater? Vent your anger by ripping it apart — and reknitting it into something cute. Reknitting pre-loved yarn is one of my hobbies — a creative challenge that keeps my knitting green, too.
Upcycled yarn, in fact, is one of the many sustainable knitting options highlighted in Knitting Green: Conversations and Planet Friendly Projects, a new book by former Knits magazine senior editor Ann Budd. This eco-educational book highlights eco-friendly yarns from organic cotton to silky soy — with patterns for knitting projects using these yarns, complete with photos showcasing how good sustainable knitting can look.
In Knitting Green, would-be eco-DIYers are first given a rundown of the environmental issues associated with knitting — because while the human-powered act of knitting itself is an eco-friendly endeavor, the process of creating yarn is often not. For eco-fashionistas with some knowledge of sustainable fibers, many of the green knitting issues Ann brings up will be familiar. Conventional cotton is grown with a lot of pesticides, bamboo yarn is processed with noxious chemicals, and wool poses animal rights and chemical pesticide issues. And that’s even before the yarn gets dunked in un-green dyes and shipped half way across the world!
Knitting Green goes into solutions, highlighting eco-friendlier choices people can knit together using the many new greener yarns now on the market. Patterns range from the Back-to-Nature Hat made with organic O-Wool, an all-North-American hoodie made with wool that’s grown, harvested, and processed, in the U.S — and for the really crunchy knitters, soap nut vessels for the laundry, knit with hemp yarn.
I found many of the styles for the patterns rather busy — but being somewhat of a minimalist, that’s my complaint about most knitting books. The patterns I wanted to knit up were the accessories, like simple and functional socks and slippers I could wear around the house. My favorite pattern is the Paris Recycled Scarf (right). The “yarn” comes from lightweight silk fabric, sliced up!
Want to be an upcycling knitter yourself? Make that your Earth Week goal, because Knitting Green’s publisher Interweave’s launched the Knitting Green Challenge “to encourage the knitting community to rip up, repurpose and make their own yarn this Earth Day.” Then turn your favorite hobby green everyday with some help from Knitting Green, available for $24.95.