Saturday, November 20, 2010

Vegan Sweater Knitting - A Yarn Guide

While I'm on the subject of vegan yarn, I thought I'd share some thoughts on sweater knitting.  Like I said in my last post, I get a lot of questions about vegan yarn  and crafting in general so I'm hoping these posts will help new vegan knitters or even non-vegan knitters who are looking for something a little different :)

Since I live in Minnesota, keeping warm during the Fall and Winter is a big consideration.  The best yarn I've found for warmth is Tatamy Tweed Worsted, a worsted weight machine washable yarn - the dk version is also top notch!  Tatamy Tweed is a cotton/acrylic blend that comes in many lovely tweedy colors.  Tweeds are rare in the world of vegan yarn and Kraemer Yarns has definitely done it right.  I wear my Cobblestone Pullover that I knit in this yarn a few years ago pretty often it the winter and it keeps me warm but also breathes because of the cotton content.

Another of my favorite sweater yarns is Berroco Comfort.  Comfort, just like it's sock weight cousin, is nice to work with, affordable, easy to care for, and comes in tons of beautiful colors.  I knit this Tree Jacket in the Agean Sea colorway and love how it came out:

What I also love about Tatamy Tweed and Berroco Comfort is that they're great for all kinds of cold weather accessories, I made a pair of tweed mittens that I wore constantly (sadly I lost one!) and kept me nice and toasty.

Fiber content is the most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a sweater yarn, you need to think about how much warmth you're looking for (for instance, don't knit a sweater from 100% cotton and expect it to work in sub zero temps) and how much structure you want.  Synthetic yarns will generally have a bit more structure than drapey natural fibers like linen or hemp, so just make sure you match up the right yarn with the right project :)  Ravelry is great for helping with that, just find a pattern you'd like to knit and see if anyone has used a yarn that you're interested in using (or one with similar properties). 

So what's your all time favorite sweater yarn?



Stacey said...

I agree about the Comfort... it's a fabulously soft yarn, and has great stitch definition.
I also like Knit Picks Comfy (75% cotton, 25% acrylic). I've only used the bulky, but I would bet the worsted is great, too.
My ABSOLUTE favorite cotton yarn is Blue Sky Alpacas Worsted Cotton- it's super soft, and works up beautifully!

Melissa said...

Your sweaters look gorgeous. I haven't made that many sweaters.

I have used Encore and Comfy to make washable sweaters for my baby niece.

Kelly said...

I just discovered Tatamy Tweed, and I love it so much! I've yet to knit a sweater (I did make a sweater vest for my brother...), but I definitely plan on using this yarn when I do!

Thanks for sharing!

Angela said...

I'm an equal opportunity knitter, with an obsession with tweed. It's nice to know that there's a good cotton substitution. :)

tiffannysketchbook said...

thanks for this post! It seriously helps!

I really like Knit One Crochet Too recycled cotton yarn, but you definitely need to swatch it and wash the swatch because of massive shrinkage. Awesomely, when it shrinks, it makes a dense, wind-proof sweater. My husband LOVES it. I've knit him many sweaters, and the one knit with this yarn is his favorite. Soft on the skin too.

Again thanks for your post. I really enjoy your blog and I'm always excited when you post.

Carla said...

Your sweaters are gorgeous!! =D

I haven't gotten around to making a sweater yet, I really should at somepoint

urban muser said...

great sweaters!! i got my package from your etsy shop yesterday. thanks for the little surprise magnet, it is so cute! and the notebook is perfect. thanks again.

Sarah said...

Great post! I actually saw the vegan sweater yarn guide at the Treewool blog a couple weeks ago (LOVE how many vegan craft blogs there are now!) and was inspired to start my first sweater. I'm using Rowan Calmer in their tree (green) color. Highly recommend it!

tommy said...

I don't quite get it. Wool is a renewable resource which doesn't harm the sheep, alpaca, etc. Acrylic is a petroleum based product which is very destructive, in all aspects, to our environment. Cotton is great, but useless in cold, wet environments.
I don't quite get it.

treewool said...

Tommy, I encourage you to do a little research about how the wool industry actually does harm sheep.

Sheep are subject to everything from the cruel practice of museling, being castrated without anesthetic, to being slaughtered after they are no longer considered a viable economic resource.

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