cashmere goats in upshi

Cashmere Goats

Earlier today I reviewed the book AwareKnits: Knit & Crochet Projects for the Eco-Conscious Stitcher. I’ve learned so much about different yarn types from this book. You definitely need to check out the whole book to get the full story, but here are some of the things that I’ve learned:

  1. Alpaca is naturally lanolin-free. This means that no chemicals are necessary when processing it. That’s good news for the air and water and for you, too.
  2. Bamboo is a highly sustainable natural resource. It grows quickly and can be processed in an environmentally-safe way although that method is costly, which is why good bamboo yarn is pricey.
  3. Camel yarn is similar to alpaca yarn but it’s nicer for the animal because it requires no shearing. It’s coat molts each spring on its own.
  4. Cheap cashmere has caused significant air pollution in China. A huge demand for affordable cashmere yarn means that herds of starving goats eat the grasslands there to non-existence, creating polluted dust storms in the area. It’s worth it for the earth to invest in higher-quality cashmere from organic companies.
  5. Corn yarn exists. I didn’t know this. Did you?
  6. Hemp grows almost anywhere. It is naturally eco-friendly, requiring very little in the way of pesticides and other chemicals. Plus it gets softer every time you wear it so it’s durable in terms of a crochet fabric!
  7. Jute is a biodegradable, sustainable plant fiber that is very affordable. I should look into this since I haven’t ever crocheted anything with jute before. Have you? It’s rough but would be good for something like a rug.
  8. Organic cotton means that the cotton plant is not genetically modified, comes from a pesticide-free field and isn’t processed using a chemically-intensive process.
  9. Organic wool refers to wool from free-range sheep that are raised humanely. They are also fed organic food, raised on pesticide-free land and the wool is not chemically processed.
  10. Silk yarn decomposes easily. You can get Wild Silk yarn, which means that the silkworms were allowed to emerge unharmed from the cocoon before the silk was harvested. How sweet.
  11. Soy yarn is made from recycling what would otherwise go to waste in tofu production but it’s not completely eco-friendly. That’s because it requires chemically intensive processing.
Do you use any of these types of eco-friendly yarn?

San Francisco based and crochet-obsessed writer, dreamer and creative spirit!


  1. Tracey McNamee Reply

    Wow, I didn’t know most of that! Corn yarn? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, corn does EVERYTHING.

    • Kathryn Reply

      @Tracey – It’s so true – what don’t we use corn for?!

  2. Well, this was interesting to read. I didn’t know about no. 4 and 5.
    As per no..7 my grandma had (in her teens) made embroidered jute pillows. They were so tough lasted us for decades.

  3. Well, this was interesting to read. I didn’t know about no. 4 and 5.
    As per no..7 my grandma had (in her teens) made embroidered jute pillows. They were so tough lasted us for decades.

    • Kathryn Reply

      @Maya – That’s awesome that your grandma embroidered with jute! Wow!

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  5. Pingback: The Ethics and Issues of Cashmere Wool — Crochet Concupiscence

  6. rootsandbones Reply

    I have just learnt about corn yarn today. A friend brought me some that’s part wool, part corn fibre because she didn’t have a use for it. I have no idea how it’s made, but it feels like it will be nice to wear/use.

    • CrochetBlogger Reply

      @rootsandbones How fun! I haven’t tried it but I’d love to know more about it as you work with it.

      • rootsandbones Reply

        @CrochetBlogger I’ll have another look at it tomorrow, but yes, I will try to remember to let you know!

  7. HicksNeunertStephanie Reply

    I’m so glad you posted this! I love knitting with wool, but then I learned that sheep are subjected to cruel conditions and practices and that just broke my heart. So I’m glad to know that there are places to get organic wool. This is a great resource for me.

    • CrochetBlogger Reply

      @HicksNeunertStephanie Yes, I actually posted it because I saw it in my archives when writing a post for this week all about wool issues including using organic wool!

  8. WhiteRavenSoars Reply

    I LOVE corn yarn, it is super soft!!!! And, shearing is necessary for alpacas and sheep…without it they would gather so much wool it gets too heavy and can hurt them. Also, many people who are allergic to wool are not allergic to Alpaca…

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