We explain the plant-based varieties to know about and share a few of our favorite brands.

By Caroline Biggs
March 18, 2020

If you aren't already hip to vegan yarn, then now's the time to smarten up. Unlike traditional yarns, which are usually made of wool or silk, vegan yarn is composed of animal-friendly organic fibers like cotton, bamboo, linen, and hemp. "Natural, plant-based yarns have some great benefits," says Heidi Braacx of Vegan Yarn. "Along with not pilling, shrinking, or felting, vegan yarns are longer lasting and have a lower impact on the environment than wool—while being biodegradable and recyclable."

Vegan yarn also offers knitters a more sophisticated alternative to acrylic fibers—which were previously the only wool-free option for people with sensitive skin or allergies. "Acrylic is okay as a beginner, but loses its appeal after a while," Braacx says. "For the fiber artist with a little more experience, it can be really enjoyable to graduate to softer, more beautiful, hand-dyed, natural yarns.

Interested in employing vegan yarn in your next crafting project? Scroll down for a handful of the coolest plant-based yarn options on the market.

Related: How to Find (or Substitute) Discontinued Yarn

Pleiades at Vegan Yarn

Constructed of bamboo, cotton, and elastic yarn, the Pleiades series at Vegan Yarn is super soft and stretchy—making it great for knitters trying out plant-based yarns for the first time. "It's fantastic for garments, hats, mitts, socks, and shawls," Braacx says. "Plus, this yarn is very forgiving, and if your tension isn't quite what you'd like it to be, the elastic content smooths out these imperfections beautifully, so your knitting looks satisfyingly consistent."

Hand-Dyed Organic Cotton Yarn at Darn Good Yarn

Composed of 100 percent organic cotton, the Hand Dyed Organic Cotton Yarn at Darn Good Yarn is perfect for a plethora of knit, crochet, or weaving projects. "Due to the nature of hand-dyed yarns, each skein comes in a gorgeous shade of color," says Nicole Snow, founder of Darn Good Yarn. "You can't help but smile when you craft with these curated blends of color."

Soybean Soysilk at Things Human

If you're searching for a sleek and vegan-friendly alternative to traditional silk, then consider this find: Handspun in Scotland from natural soybean fibers and hand-dyed with flowers, Soybean Soysilk by Flora Fibres at Things Human is every bit as elegant as it is eco-conscious.

Pakucho Original at Vegan Yarn

Pronounced Pack-oo-choh, Pakucho Original at Vegan Yarn is certified organic, fair-trade cotton that is naturally pigmented. "It is grown in Peru, using traditional growing methods used for thousands of years, and is wonderful for any project you would like next to your skin," Braacx says. "This yarn is incredibly soft, and the soothing, earthy colors suit any skin tone."

Banana Fiber Yarn at Darn Good Yarn

Plush yet durable, the Banana Fiber Yarn at Darn Good Yarn is made from the decaying outer layers of banana tree bark that's been soaked in water, extruded into pulp, and then spun into yarn. "Thanks to its rich and glossy finish, crafting a shawl or scarf is ideal with this handmade and vegan yarn choice," Snow says.

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