Knitting with ethical yarn, Veganvibes

Løvfallgenser

I knitted my first sweater with ethical wool this November. And it was a wonderful experience! The yarn I used was Izzy Lane in the natural grey colourway. At first I wasn´t sure about what I thought about the wool. It seemed a bit scratchy, but I have experience with other wool yarns that appear scratchy at first, but that blooms after wash and wear, so I carried on.  It was a pleasure to knit with. Not splitty at all, and the knitted fabric got a nice halo. I haven´t worn it enough to comment on the amount of pilling yet, but all my woolies tend to pill, so I will get back to you on that.

This is Izzy Lane´s story in their own words:

“During an encounter with an organic producer I discovered that farmers were burning and burying their wool in protest. The pittance they were paid didn’t even cover their shearing costs. One look around the High Street showed very little wool and no British wool at all. What there was, was being imported from Australasia where there is dubious animal welfare with the practice of mulesing commonplace and the live export of hundreds of thousands of animals to the Middle East. I decided I would start a British fashion label using wool.
However, as a vegetarian, I needed wool from sheep which would not be killed. I looked across the UK and I researched across the world, and save a few pet sheep, I realised there were none. My only way forward would be to have my own flock. I wouldn’t breed them I would rescue them – which is what I did. In a short space of time I rescued 600 hundred of them – ewes which had miscarried or missed a pregnancy, male lambs – if it was going to be killed I would take it. I though of course had to pay the market prices. I focused on Shetlands and Wensleydales for the quality of their wool. Needless to say I ended up with some other breeds too – some which I intercepted which were on their way to a halal abattoir
I pieced together the chain of processors I would need. It took a long time. There were weavers, spinners and dyers, shutting down on a daily basis. I found the last of 52 worsted spinners in Calderdale – now shut. I tried to find a button maker, there used to be hundreds in Birmingham, the only remaining one was a working museum. Eventually in 2007 I launched my brand Izzy Lane with two imperatives – to help save the British textile industry – and closer to my heart – to give animals a voice in the fashion industry, as they had none. Up until now, there had been no traceability whatsoever of animal fibre.
As well as creating a cool fashion label, Izzy Lane was also a powerful platform to raise awareness and campaign for animal rights. It went on to win RSPCA Awards in 2008 and 2012, New Designer of the Year at the RE Awards and were finalists in the Observer Awards, the Daily Mirror Animal Heroes Awards and the Global Sustainable Luxury Awards. It has received extensive national and international press and was featured in two series of ITV The Dales and other BBC TV and radio shows. Our collections have been exhibited at London Fashion Week and in Paris, Milan, Berlin, Amsterdam, New York and Las Vegas and in a catwalk for the Queen !
Izzy Lane uses the wool from our beautiful sheep which will live out their lives in peace here in the Yorkshire Dales. Your support will secure their future and ensure their voice is heard – that sheep can exist without being eaten. Animal welfare is at the core of Izzy Lane, the animals will always come first.”

I knitted a pattern that is so far only available in Norwegian. It´s called Løvfallgenser and it´s made by Strikkelisa. I didn´t have any plans to knit a sweater, but then I saw this on Instagram and I just had to buy the pattern the same day it was released and I started knitting it right away. It´s a top down construction, and that is, by far, one of my favorite ways to knit sweaters!

I used my beloved Chiaogoo needles for this projects in sizes 2.75mm and 3.75mm. I chose to knit a size XL because I have a firm grip on my needles which gives me a rather tight gauge. I did not knit a swatch, and was happy to find out that the sweater was a perfect fit once it was done. I followed the pattern as written, did the short rows and all! (Yay me!) As always, I did german short rows, because everything else  just looks terrible when I knit it…

When I weighed my sweater I was surprised to find out that it only weighed a little less than 300g. That means that I used just 6 balls of yarn!

As far as my fear that the sweater would turn out scratchy goes, I just wore it with a simple strap top underneath the other day, and it didn´t scratch at all once it got the same temperature as my skin. I find that this is a issue I´m having with all my sweaters. Cold wool clothes always tend to feel a bit rough next to the skin before they are warmed up.

It´s hard to say what will be scratchy or not, people are different. But this is not merino soft wool. If you are afraid that it might not be for you, order a ball, you could maybe knit a swatch, try to wash it and see what you think, or what whomever you are planning to knit for thinks?

I know that Izzy Lane has a beautiful yellow color in their range, so I´m definitely using this yarn again! Thumbs up!

…I will …

Knitting with ethical yarn, Veganvibes

Roma mittens

This fall I knitted mittens for my mother´s birthday in November. I knew she had worn out the ones she knitted for herself, and I also wanted to try knitting with some of my ethical yarn. The yarn I knitted these mittens in is from Hooligan Yarn.

The mittens are Roma mittens by Matilda Kruse, and I knitted them on 2.75mm needles, to get a dense fabric that will last for a long while. My mother uses her mittens when she walks the dogs, and I knew from the quality of the yarn, that these would felt in the palm of the hand, and be perfect for the intended use. (Her previous mittens were in superwash yarn, and they don´t felt, but sadly get holes rather quick if you have eager dogs…)

Now, let´s talk about the yarn. Hooligan Yarns have the following message on their page:

“It’s essential for the welfare of sheep that they’re shorn at least once a year, but the fleece is often disposed of or given away for next to nothing. I liked the idea of producing a ‘single sheep’ yarn that promoted a high welfare message.
The boys were originally called The Hooligans because of their boisterous behaviour and unerring knack of seeking out trouble, and although the girls are generally better behaved, they also have their moments. And so Hooligan Yarns was born!
We have mostly Gotland sheep, with some interesting crosses with Teeswater and Shetland that make unusual, beautiful wool. Some new additions of rescued Jacobs and Lleyn crosses provide a traditional alternative to the Gotland blends. Our yarns are machine spun in UK mills. Batches are produced by individual sheep fleece with the name and details of each boy or girl provided as a story postcard with every order, including a photo. So you know exactly who you’re knitting, and who you’re wearing.”

I got the most lovely package when I got the yarn I ordered. Pictures of the sheep, in this case from the sheep Guthrie who is a Gotland sheep. (The yarn is a DK ply with  160m per 100g ball from their spring 2017 shearing.) And a story about who Guthrie is. Truly charming mail!

This yarn was perfect for mittens, and I suspect also for socks, but I don´t think I´d knit shawls or sweaters with it, because it was quite rough. The fabric got a nice halo, which I think is beautiful, but it wasn´t perhaps the best match with the pattern of choice. But my mother was very happy when she unwrapped them, so I suspect I´m too judgy…

The patterning on the top of the mittens disappeared  into the fluff the yarn created. But you sort of get the idea…

My mother has by now used the mittens many many times, and she can confirm that they are warm and that they have felted by wear to be perfect for dog walking! And I have enough yarn left to knit another pair of mittens!

Podcast

Ep. 13 – The one in front of the Christmas tree

Shownotes:

I´m wearing the Løvfallgenser by Strikkelisa. This pattern is so far only in Norwegian. I knitted a size XL and it worked wonders with my firm knitting style. I´ve used slaughter-free yarn from Izzy Lane for this project and I loved it! I will be knitting more items with this yarn! For this project I used the colourway natural grey.

I´m working on:

Bellatrix cowl by Heidi Braacx using yarn from her store which you can find at veganyarn.com.

A pair of legwarmers called Mirry Dancers by Gudrun Johnston. I´m using yarn from a finnish hand dyer (Lanitium Ex Machina)

My last knitted work in progress is Gaïa by Marie Adeline Boyer. It´s a shawl pattern, but I´m gifting it as a baby blanket once it´s done. I´m using Malsen og Mor Shetland soft in the colourway skog for this project.

I also talked about my latest spinning project. I got a hold of washed fleece from Scruffydogyarn on Etsy, and I´m having a lot of fun with it! This wool comes from a pet sheep that will not end up as someone´s dinner. I have a big bag of this wool, so stay tuned to see what it will become!

I´m also raving about my beautiful bag from Busy Pottering on Etsy.

I also drew the last 4 winners of the 2017 gift making KAL. So if you participated with projects and/or chatter, you should have a look at this episode.

I´ve started a reading challenge and I´m continuing with the gift making KAL. Every craft can join, as long as you are making gifts. Go to the group on Ravelry to find out more!…

Podcast

Ep. 12 – When Gustav met Qarma

I´m podcasting in my PJs. Why not?

Show notes:

I´ve started a new project! Løvfallgenser by Strikkelisa. I´m knitting it in slaughter-free yarn from Izzy Lane.

My lovely bag is from Busy Pottering and inside I keep the Almost Ribbed Socks by louleigh.

I´m also working on a pair of simple socks in Opal yarn.

And allthough it´s dimly lit, I´m trying to show you my finished Under the bridge shawl by Renate Dalmo. (Click on the link to see a better photo!)

This podcast´s ethical yarn project is a pair of mittens I knitted for my mother. The pattern is

Roma Mittens by Matilda Kruse and I´ve used yarn from Hooligan yarns. And the name of the sheep who gave the yarn is Guthrie.

If you like dogs, you will enjoy the footage of Gustav and the puppy Qarma (Not our dog!)

And last but not least I´m showing you a book I got from a dear viewer. Hand made, recycled, hand dyed. It´s precious!

 …