One of the hardest things about choosing a new project is deciding which yarn to use. We have lots of yarns in the shop that are great for summer and lightweight knits. Our Summer Top KAL is in full swing, so over the next few weeks we will feature different fibres that we carry and highlight what makes them good for summer knits to help you decide on what to use. Some will be familiar to you, some may be a surprise! Our first fibre feature is cotton. Cotton is pretty well known for being a summer fabric. It is a plant fibre that is cool, soft and easy to clean. It has none of the 'prickle' factor that animal fibres can have, so it works equally well for those with skin sensitivities and for hot weather. Unfortunately, cotton has a bit of a contentious place in the global fibre industry at the moment. Due to the high quantity of water and pesticides needed to make cotton grow on an industrial level, commercial cotton can have disastrous results for the environment. This is why we do everything we can to carry yarns that come from companies that ensure their cotton comes from ethical and environmentally friendly sources. [caption id="attachment_783" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Debbie Bliss Eco Baby in solid colours Debbie Bliss Eco Baby in solid colours[/caption] Eco Baby is hands down the most environmentally friendly cotton in the shop. Not only is it organically grown, it is also dyed with non-toxic dyes in recycled water to minimize the impact on the communities that produce the yarn. Debbie Bliss has ensured that the yarns are produced in a way that benefits the producers in other ways as well, the labour is fair trade as well. Eco Baby comes in a range of solid pastels, as well as variegated. Perfect to mix and match. Debbie Bliss's Eco Baby and Eco Baby Print – a 100% certified organic and fair trade cotton. [caption id="attachment_781" align="aligncenter" width="482"]Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Prints Debbie Bliss Eco Baby Prints[/caption] We love our Manos yarns, and Serena is no exception. Manos del Uruguay is a non-profit social organization and a member of the World Fair Trade Organization. Since 1968, Manos has provided jobs for craftswomen living in Uruguay rural areas. The Manos mission is to eradicate poverty through sustainable economic growth and by enabling craftspeople to improve the quality of their craft products. Serena is a cotton and alpaca (yes! alpaca!) blend. The alpaca makes the yarn incredibly light, while the cotton makes it more appropriate for warm temperatures. We have 6 super sweet and summery colours in stock that range from pastel blue to bright pop orange. Manos Serena – 60% Baby Alpaca/40% Cotton. [caption id="attachment_782" align="aligncenter" width="500"]serena_glacier2318 Manos del Uruguay Serena[/caption] Mirasol is another company that works directly with the communities that produce it, this time in the Munani region of Puno in Peru. A percentage of each yarn sale goes directly to help fund a remote school. We have a range of 12 brights and neutrals that are perfect for any sunny day. Mirasol Pima Kuri - 100% ethically produced Pima Cotton [caption id="attachment_780" align="aligncenter" width="500"]Mirasol Yarn Collection Pima Kuri Mirasol Yarn Collection Pima Kuri[/caption] What can't you say about Noro?! This well established company from Japan ticks all the boxes. They are environmentally friendly, from the fibres to the dying, and boy to they know colour! Noro is personally involved with inspecting all aspects of production, from visiting the animal farms to checking the machinery used and keeping restrictions on the dye processes to maintain products that are as eco-friendly as possible. Between the unusual fibre combinations to the trademark long colour repeats, Noro is always recognizable on the shelf. We have Noro Kibou - 54% Cotton, 34% Wool, 12% Silk and Noro Tokonatsu - 40% Cotton 30% Silk 30% Viscose, in stock. [caption id="attachment_779" align="aligncenter" width="482"]Noro Kibou Noro Kibou[/caption] [caption id="attachment_778" align="aligncenter" width="482"]Noro Tokonatsu Noro Tokonatsu[/caption] Colour can be a bit tricky with cotton, which is one reason we are happy to work with Wool and the Gang. We also know that their yarns are all ethically produced in partnership with small producers in Peru. Their Shiny Happy Cotton is produced with no use of pesticides and comes in over 20 shades! It's hard to pick just one.  WATG Shiny Happy Cotton – 100% Cotton [caption id="attachment_777" align="aligncenter" width="482"]Wool and the Gang Shiny Happy Cotton Wool and the Gang Shiny Happy Cotton[/caption]