New Yarn: Nurturing Fibres – Eco-Lush

There has been a lot of love for plant fibres lately here at Knit With Attitude. I think we are getting excited about summer and dreaming of all those outdoor knitting days. Also what is more exciting than introducing a new yarn! So here we go…. Nurturing Fibres Eco-Lush. A unique bamboo and cotton yarn from Nurturing Fibres.

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Nurturing Fibres is an Eco-friendly yarn range, hand dyed near Cape Town by Carle Dehning and her team. Nurturing fibres strive to conserve as much energy and waste during their production process. They make use of borehole water that is heated by solar power for their dye baths. After dyeing, the PH levels in the dyebaths are neutralized and the water is used to irrigate an olive grove near the dye studio. Their whole production process, from receiving the spun yarn, is done by hand.

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Eco-Lush is a 4ply 40% Bamboo and 60% Cotton yarn plied together with a cotton strand and a bamboo one. The quality of these two fibres bring something unique to the yarn. The cotton is matte in texture and provides a slightly muted base for the dye. The bamboo on the other hand is glossy, with sheen and takes the dye in a much brighter and more vibrant way. The bamboo adds a bright flash to this yarn that catches the light in a pleasing way. This yarn has good body and weight, will drape well, be cool and perfect for summer items.

Lets take a look at some projects that would look great knit up in Eco-Lush, by focusing on simple summer tees:
eco-lush091Edie by Isabell Kraemer is a simple t-shirt worked from the top down with raglan increases. Interest is given by textural stripes. This top will look stunning in the blend of Eco-Lush. The simplicity of it highlighting the yarns qualities.

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Waterlily by Meghan Fernandes. This charming top is not only pretty but also cool. A lacey leaf panel around the neck, which extends to the top of the capped sleeves. Worked from the bottom up in one piece, for the perfect seamless knitting. There is even a Latvian braid that marks the transition into the lace pattern.

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Linum Tee by Bristol Ivy. The very graphic shape of this top enhances its lightness. Made for a drapey yarn and perfect for Eco-Lush. An angular fisherman’s rib panel, top’s off the design and gives a bit of flair.

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Walk Along by AnkeStrick is an intriguing two colour design which creates the illusion of two tops in one. Perfect if you can’t decide on just one colour! The top is worked seamlessly from top down with a wide raglan shape that carries down the body. A flattering and practical piece.

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Folded by Veera Välimäki. With a wide round neck for non stifling summer comfort, this top is stylish and cool. Pleats at the centre front add a nice design detail, but also help highlight and give interest to the shape.

So here we have some inspiring designs for summer tees and the perfect projects for the new Eco-Lush.

Fibre Fridays: Soy and Bamboo

As knitters become more conscious of where their yarns come from, we are getting more interest in what are often categorized as vegan yarns. These are yarns that do not come from an animal. We’ve already talked about the most obvious ones, cotton and linen, but there are a few others that we carry in the shop as well that are less well known. These are soy and bamboo.

Now, the question is, how the heck do you get a yarn out of soy and bamboo?! and what’s it’s impact on the environment?

Soy and bamboo are both synthesized fibres, which means that they start as a natural product, and are chemically altered into fibres in a lab. Bamboo especially has been heralded as the new natural wonder fibre due to it’s renewability as a plant, but it’s journey from farm to knitting needles is not without it’s pitfalls. There is no denying that the process of producing these yarns is a chemical one. The fibres are broken down with sodium hydroxide and carbon disulphide into a viscose cellulose solution, which is then pushed through spinnerets. The fibre then solidifies into the fibre that can then be spun into yarn. Luckily, with newer technology this system is quoted as being a 99% closed loop system, where the chemicals are recycled and re-used for each batch of fibre.

South West Trading Company - Pure Soy

South West Trading Company – Pure Soy

Soy fibre was first developed by Henry Ford (of Ford cars) in the 1930’s as a synthetic alternative to silk, but it only made it to market recently. Unsurprisingly then, soy yarn has a lot of similarities with silk when it comes to how it looks and behaves. It has incredible lustre and shine, with great drape. Soy fibre is made as a byproduct of other soy product industries such as food. After the soy bean is used it is left with high levels of amino acid lysine. These amino acids are broken apart and lined up again to form the threads that form the yarn. This means that soy yarns can actually be classified as protein fibres in the same category chemically as wool and alpaca!

South West Trading Company - Bamboo

South West Trading Company – Bamboo

All of our soy and bamboo yarns come from South West Trading Company. The company is family run and pride themselves on being one of the first companies to develop these fibres for the handknitting market and staying at the forefront of the industry. The yarns come in a range of super bright saturated colours that are just perfect for warm weather knits. Think flowy garments that have a lot of drape and some positive ease. We love the idea of knitting up Emery from Pom Pom Quarterly Issue 9 in either yarn for a luxurious summer shawl. A project perfect for our Summer KAL!

Pom Pom Quarterly, Issue 9 - Emery

Pom Pom Quarterly, Issue 9 – Emery

If you want to read more about the chemical structures of these unusual fibres, check out this blog post by Gnome Spun Yarns. The focus there is on how the chemical structures of the yarns affect dying. It is very informative and interesting!