fake sheep

a website about vegan knitting

on vegan spinning

the new issue of knitty is up, and besides the excitement of cute new things to think about knitting (revolution!) and the always-interesting articles, this issue introduces a new regular column: knittyspin. yep, it’s all about spinning, but the best part is that it’s written by knitty’s editor amy, a beginning spinner who is allergic to wool, and is learning to spin plant fibres! (and silk)

most beginners’ spinning information i’ve read online has suggested that you start spinning with wool because it’s the easiest, but as amy writes in her article, i’ve been wondering if that means other fibres are really hard to learn with, or that they’re just different.

for a while, i’ve been fascinated with the handspun yarns i’ve seen online (see fiber friday for lots of examples, and pluckyfluff for a book i’m considering buying that shares some of the techniques she uses). i haven’t bought any because of the animal-fibreness, but i have admired the photos, and wondered what kinds of things could be done with plant fibres (the occasional boutique handspun yarn website has the occasional ball of plant yarn, i’m currently coveting pink soy silk by midnight sky fibers, organic cotton/ hemp by miss hawklet and bamboo silk by lampe’s lumps)

a few weeks ago, i bought spin-spin zine by heidi, who spins yarn and makes things for her website my paper crane. it’s great! there are instructions on making a drop spindle with cheap or free materials, some discussion about where to find plant or animal fibres for cheap or free, how to prepare and dye fibre (including a list of natural dyes) and some simple instructions for spinning, plying and making a niddy noddy, with hand-drawn diagrams that look really clear.

so i’m thinking about making a drop spindle, but also: my parents have a spinning wheel they don’t use! i think i could get my mum to show me some basics, possibly (her parents used to spin a lot).

besides all this, yarn traders has started selling soy silk and ingeo (corn) fibre for spinning.

& if that wasn’t enough to convince me that i should start spinning plants, miss insubordiknit commented on my last blog entry, which led to me reading her blog, in which she writes about her recent experiments with spinning plant fibres! some of her gorgeous handspun yarn is for sale on her website, and there’s a whole plant fiber section (but you can’t have the crepple, i already bagsed that one.


  Anna wrote @

I’m up for the plant fibre spinning, it’s something I’ve been thinking about on and off for a while now. I’ve got a catalogue for a UK place that does drop spindles for cotton and also several other types of fibre.

Now I’m just waiting to find the cash and an excuse to start yet another hobby!


  moira wrote @

awesome! i’d be interested to hear about your spinning experiments. i’d love to spin cotton. i think i’ll be getting some ingeo and soy silk soon to try out.

  cynthia wrote @

I also want to knit Revolution from the new Knitty. I’m thinking maybe in a bulky hemp/cotton. But the sources of this yarn only sell it in its natural colour! I’m wondering how easy it would be to dye it an army green.

What kind of yarn do you envision Revolution if you were going to knit it?

Also, I’m really glad I found your site… very inspiring and I hope to get my hands on some banana silk soon!

  moira wrote @

hi cynthia! i’m glad you like my site.

i hadn’t gotten as far as thinking about what yarn to make “revolution” in, but a nice cotton/hemp blend sounds like it would be perfect! i’d imagine you could dye it using commercial cotton dyes (which aren’t the same as what you dye wool with – and i think “kool aid” type dye wouldn’t work – most plant fibres need different types of dye to protein-based/animal fibres generally).

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