Organic Cotton and Wool Yarn for Eco Knitting

Easy ways to give back to the environment one stitch at a time.

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Homemade knits created from natural yarns are healthier for babies and the earth.

Photo by Stephen Jessup

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If you're knitting winter woolies, why not dip your needles into organic yarns? Increasingly, organic cottons and wools are available in yarn shops or on the Internet. Here's what you need to know to cast on without chemicals.

Bah-bah black sheep

Most conventional wool products are treated with chemicals, including alkaline baths (to remove dirt and grease), acid baths (to remove vegetable matter), bleach, dye, mothproofing and fire retardant.

Organic wool: Produced from the fleece of animals reared on organically farmed, pesticide-free land. The yarn is washed using vegetable-based soaps and oils; no chemicals are used to bleach or treat it.

Undyed fleece yarn: Organic wool yarns that get their color from the natural shade of the sheep.

Cottoning to the idea

Organic cotton: Grown and harvested without agrochemicals.

Undyed organic cotton (or "natural" cotton): Some cotton is bred so the intensity of color comes from the cotton bud itself.

Naturally dyed: Wool or cotton blends colored using processes and plant pigments.

New and natural

You can also find eco-friendly yarns made from hemp; recycled cotton, rayon and silk; soybean fiber (from tofu-making byproduct); bamboo; and viscose (derived from tree pulp).

Finding yarn

Earth Friendly Yarns
(206) 706-4197

Garthenor Organic Pure Wool 

Green Mountain Spinnery
(800) 321-9665

NearSea Naturals
(877) 573-2913

Tierra Wools
(888) 709-0979