Sustainable Ethical Yarn 2022

Sustainable Ethical Yarn

There’s been an explosion in crafting all over the world as a result of the Covid-19s movement restrictions. It’s one of the best ways to take a mental break from all the craziness that’s going on at the moment. If you like indulging your knitting passion but want to do it in a planet positive way here’s a list of some makers and suppliers of  sustainable ethical yarn in Ireland, Britain and Europe.

Nothing mentioned in this article has been sponsored. It’s all just my own personal opinion.
Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash

Defining sustainable and ethical is always tricky and differs from person to person. I’ve included the following;

  • locally sourced and made yarn, I don’t include yarn in Ireland made from imported fibre unless it includes some Irish fibre. I’ve extended local to include Britain to give us some choice.
  • organic fibres
  • recycled fibres
  • Irish companies with environmentally conscious & ethical practices.

Ciaran McLoughlin is a young shepherd of Border Leicester and Ryeland sheep offering medium double knit and light worsted 3 ply yarn from his own sheep in Meath. You can buy his yarn from his shop on Etsy, and contact him at ciaranmcl22011 @ gmail . com (spaces added to fool bots) .

Joyce Country Wool in Co Galway spin wool from local sheep, which they dye using only natural dye like Lichens, berries, plants and vegetables

Boyne Valley Yarns makes and sells handspun, undyed white yarn and Jacob sheep yarn from her own sheep.

Natural Wool Shops in Wicklow sells yarn from her own sheep, spun in a fully traceable mill in Cornwall and handyed by herself. The sheep are raised on a farm that has been in the family for generations and is farmed without synthetic chemicals.

Markree Woolcraft sells fleece and yarn sourced from Irish farmers. She sells via Etsy and has a workshop in the Markree Estate in Sligo.

Iona Wool offer 100% single source Iona yarn which is sorted, washed and spun on the island of Iona

Zwartbles Ireland sell 100g undyed, un-treated double knit yarn from Irish Zwartbles sheep.

Studio Donegal has two ranges that use Irish wool. Irish Heather is a 3 ply Aran weight yarn that contains 60% Irish wool, and homespun multi-colour is a two ply Aran weight made in-house with 90% Irish wool. You can buy their yarn from their website and in post-corona times in their shop in Donegal, in the Donegal Shop in Dublin 2 or the Sheep & Wool Centre in Connemara.

Cushendale Mills sells 100% pure wool yarn, source from Irish sheep farmers.

Kerry Woollen Mills blends fibre from Irish sheep and wool from other sources into roving and carded wool, and Aran yarn.

Yarn Vibes produce yarn from 100% Irish wool and now they have a range of Irish organic wool, grown and spun in Ireland!

Hushabye Alpaca Farm spin some of their Alpaca fleece into yarn every year.

Hedgehog Fibres is an Irish based dyer that uses museling-free yarn from South America and zero waste dye method which they say results in no dye being sent down the drain. They also use food grade citric acid as setting agent. They reuse as packing boxes and donate to a local animal charity every month.

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Other Resources & Info

The group Irish Fibre Crafters are just crazy about everything to do with Irish wool. Sign up for their newsletter to get inspiration. They also run workshops out of their base in Galway.

You can educate yourself on the various fibre choices in my article on Sustainable Ethical Fibres.

The podcaster and blogger Knit British is also a useful resource if you want to learn more about British wool.

I just recently learned that machine-washable wool has been given a polyamide resin (plastic) coating. Interestingly researchers in New Zealand found that machine-washable yarn biodegraded quicker than non-treated wool and that the polyamide resin coating didn’t add to microfibre pollution. It’s worth noting that this study was commissioned by Australian Wool Innovation and I can’t find a link to the original study. Also while researching this topic I came across this very thorough article on the environmentally damaging process of making superwash wool.

Happy knitting, happy reading

Elaine

Published by Elaine Butler

I am a circular design consultant helping manfacturers prepare for the circular economy

6 thoughts on “Sustainable Ethical Yarn 2022

  1. jkaybay – I have two sites, both focused on ethical consumerism. The Green Stars Project (https://greenstarsproject.org/) aims to start a movement based on crowd-sourced ethical ratings. Ethical Bargains (https://ethicalbargains.org/) is focused on new products that I've bought at the Grocery Outlet.
    jkaybay says:

    Hey Elaine.
    I’ve one more too add – Hedgehog fibers in Cork.
    You can read my Green Stars review here: https://www.yelp.com/biz/hedgehog-fibers-castleview?hrid=3k9whDmeSUtxezvX39HZzg

    1. Oh great. Thanks for that recommendation. Now that I’ve finished this semester’s college work I intend to do a full update of the blog. Will add this onto the list.

  2. Hi my name is Olivia Ashmore I have a group on fb called the irish wool discussion group originally I set it up to join the dots between farmers and crafters I would encourage you to join as we are pushing for a wool forum pippa Hackett is watching the group so maybe something will happen. Regards Olivia Ashmore

    1. Well done you. All the best with your forum. Hope something develops out of it for all sheep farmers. Elaine

    1. Ah, so glad you like it. Helping others live more sustainably gives me such a buzz

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