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Knitting Natural Living

Fiber-conscious: Alternatives to superwash wool

December 11, 2014
sueprwash wool alternatives

A few weeks back I wrote a post about the processing of superwash wool, it’s use of chlorine gas and plastic. In my efforts to become more “fiber-conscious” I began purging my stash of superwash wool and encouraged other’s to take a closer look at the fibers they were using and find healthier and more sustainable alternatives. Which brings me to this follow-up post, the first of several, outlining alternatives to superwash, my favorite fiber-conscious yarns and some additional insights as they become apparent. Thank you for all your comments, emails and feedback regarding this topic and please share any resources you may have as well! I’ll be updating the Resources page with these companies and yarns, and add more as I become aware of them…the options are truly endless.

*Most yarns listed below must be washed by hand like most non-superwash wools, except for the few where I’ve noted a new organic superwash process is being used. Those are said to be machine washable, though I still say hand washing is best 😉

Alternatives to superwash sock yarn:
O-Wash Fingering by O-Wool (A certified organic superwash process)
Beaverslide 2-ply Sport sock weight (merino with mohair to add strength)
Beaverslide 3-ply DK sock weight  (merino with mohair to add strength)
MOCO Qivuit Musk Ox sock weight (Qivuit is stronger than wool and does not shrink)
Green Mountain Spinnery Meadow sock weight (Fine wool and mohair to add strength)
The Fibre Company Canopy Fingering weight

Alternatives to superwash sport, dk, worsted and aran weight yarns (see my favorite yarns below for more of all weights):
Swans Island Washable Wool Collection DK weight (A certified organic superwash process)
Sincere Sheep Luminous DK weight
O-Wash Sport (A certified organic superwash process)
A Verb For Keeping Warm Pioneer worsted weight
Jill Draper’s Empire Aran weight

Alternative to superwash bases for dyeing:
Imperial Stock Ranch Yarns
Yarn Undyed USA (Mostly non-superwash bases, and an exciting new line of Sustainable Merino)
Green Mountain Spinnery
Snoqualmie Valley Yarn
Echoview Fiber

My favorite fiber-conscious yarns, including breed specific and single farm yarns:
Beaverslide Mule-Spun Yarns
Swans Island Yarns
Ton of Wool Cormo Yarn
Twirl Yarn
O-Wool Yarns
Elsawool Yarns
Insouciant Fibers
Quince and Co
Brooklyn Tweed
Retrosaria by Rosa Pomar
Woolfolk Yarn
Vreseis Limited

Knitting Making Podcast Woolful Podcast

Episode 3: Jacqui Fink & Julia Billings – Local fiber, Natural Dyeing, Dreams and Revelations

December 9, 2014

I’m very excited to share the third episode of the Woolful podcast. Today we get to meet two incredibly talented women, both diverse and coincidently Austrailian, Jacqui Fink of Little Dandelion and Julia Billings of Woollenflower.


Sponsor: This week’s episode is sponsored by StashBot. Buy yarn smarter with Hannah Fettig’s new iOS app StashBot. If you find a yarn you can’t live without, StashBot will help you determine how much you should buy. It will pay for itself again and again as it saves you from purchasing more skeins of yarn than you need. Just as importantly it will keep your stash useful as you will be sure to have enough yarn to knit the projects you would like.  StashBot will soon be available for Android and is also available in print.  For more information head to


Fiber folk 1: Julia is a horticulturalist, experimenter and explorer of natural dyes, and purveyor of all things wool. Her knowledge of plants and natural dyeing was inspiring not only to continue natural dyeing, but around the foraging and identification of plants. You can find her at and on Instagram @woollenflower.


Man on the street: For this week’s “Man on the Street” I asked a couple of fiber enthusiasts to answer the following question, “What is one way knitting or another fiber art has changed your life?” We had some amazing replies from Tiffany (@knittingfarmer) and Sam (@samanthamaylamb)

Fiber folk 2: Over the past few months I’ve heard some amazing stories, but none quite as moving as our next guest Jacqui Fink’s story. A few years ago, Jacqui had a transformational experience that opened doors to her future she never even imagined possible, and all leading to this spectacular thing called unspun wool. You can find her at where she just launched her online shop full of extreme knitting yarn and needles and on Instagram @jacquifink


Giveaway: The winner of last week’s giveaway, sponsored by Monarch Knitting is Allison from You’ve won two skeins of Woolfolk’s Far yarn and the Knop hat pattern! Congratulations!

Our giveaway this week is a little different, but just as special. I spent last week in Idaho at our ranch where we converted an old milking parlor into a dye studio. It was our first time using the studio, and it was a surreal experience to dye with black walnut from our property and watch the beautiful caramel color emerge. Sooooo, this week we’re giving away those 3 skeins of naturally dyed Snoqualmie Valley Yarn created by Tolt Yarn and Wool, and naturally dyed by myself. To enter this giveaway, visit the giveaway post on Instagram @woolful and tag a friend in the comments. You can also enter by leaving a comment on this blog post.


Music by Jónsi.

Transcription of episode:

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Making Podcast Woolful Podcast

Episode 1: Jess Schriebstein & Kylie Gusset – Fiber travel, Cormo origins and being fiber-conscious

November 25, 2014

I’m really excited to share with you the very first Woolful podcast. Today we get to meet two very fiber passionate women, Jess Schriebstein of Witchin in the Kitchen and Kylie Gusset of Ton of Wool.

fringe supply co

Sponsor: Our very first episode is sponsored by Fringe Supply Co. In 2012, Karen Templer opened Fringe Supply Co. an online shop full of thoughtful tools for the sustainable and aesthetically mindful maker. From bento bags to rosewood needles, you’ll get lost in this carefully curated emporium. Visit


Fiber folk 1: Jess is a Baltimore based cook, artist, seasoned traveler, and lover of wool. You can find her at and on Instagram @thekitchenwitch. I was incredibly inspired as she shared her fiber journey and her experience in Oaxaca, where she spent a week learning the fiber customs and culture of the Oaxaca people. We dive into how her time there influenced her cooking, color and fiber choices as well as how she began the knitting group at NPR.


Man on the Street: For this week’s Man on the Street segment, I asked a handful of fiber folk to answer this question…”If you could travel to any country and immerse yourself in their fiber culture and customs, which country would you choose?” We got some great replies from Andi (My Sister’s Knitter), Nikki (@wildvioletknits) and Sonja (@atreebytheriver)

Fiber folk 2: I’m not sure I’ve met a more spunky, sheep loving Aussie than the next guest Kylie Gusset. She has a vast knowledge of the industry, in particular the breed that brings us some of the softest wool I’ve ever laid hands on, Cormo. In 2011 Kylie crowd funded one ton of Cormo, rallying knitters and makers alike. You can find her at and on Instagram @tonofwool. Whenever I have conversations with Kylie, I learn so much. From the birth of Cormo, to the Australian wool industry and the effects of super wash wool.


Giveaway: This week’s giveaway is sponsored by Stash, a local yarn shop in Corvallis Oregon.

One of Jess’s favorite yarns is The Fibre Company’s Canopy. Last year she knit an adorable pair of mittens and now we’re giving away 2 skeins of Canopy in the color of your choice from Stash.

To enter this giveaway, visit the giveaway post on Instagram @woolful and tag a friend in the comments. You can also enter by leaving a comment below.


Announcements: The first Woolful knit-along starts January 15th. We will be knitting a Little Woolens hat pattern in the incredibly soft Cormo from Ton of Wool. More details to come!


Tomorrow I am thrilled to say the Woolful Mercantile will be opening shop. Here you’ll be able to find Cormo yarn from Ton of Wool in both fingering and aran weights, along with special pattern and yarn kits, including the knit-along hat pattern.


Music by Jónsi.


Transcription of episode:

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