Animal-friendly yarn alternatives

Lately, I have been researching the different animal species that provide us with wool—sheep, goats, alpacas, and rabbits, to name a few. Once again, I’ve found that often much suffering accompanies wool harvesting. The most commonly known torture is mulesing, where sheep (they supply us with merino wool) have their tails and surrounding flesh cut away while fully conscious so parasites cannot settle there. Cashmere goats, from which the ultra-fine cashmere comes, also suffer due to painful shearing, a hostile or non-existent human-animal relationship, overgrazing, and neglect of the animal’s basic needs, among other things. Angora rabbits are prone to various diseases due to their unnaturally long, thick coats and can even be considered torture breeds, according to animal welfare organizations.

These are a few examples that got me thinking about animal-friendly yarn alternatives. Plus, it’s summer right now, and it’s too warm for wool anyway. So here is my list of five vegetable and hence animal-friendly yarn alternatives:

1. Cotton:

Cotton is one of the most commonly used yarn alternatives. However, conventional cultivation of this delicate tropical and subtropical plant harms people, the environment, and animals. Therefore, buy only cotton from controlled organic cultivation. Here, no pollutants are used, organic fertilizer is used, water consumption is more economical, attention is paid to crop rotation so as not to leach out the soil, and harvesting is usually done by hand. The quality seals (GOTS, IVN-best, Fairtrade) guarantee socially acceptable working conditions.

Cotton is soft, breathable, and easy to care for. Clothing made of cotton is tear-resistant, durable, and skin-friendly.

Check out our Oeko-Tex® certified yarns Belle, Muskat, Paris, and Safran here. If you read this article carefully, you will find a coupon code to get 30% off all Drops yarn mentioned.

2. Linen:

Linen is the bast fiber from the stems of the flax plant. If it is an organically grown yarn, it is an environmentally and animal-friendly yarn. Linen has been known since early antiquity. It is very tear-resistant, durable, skin-friendly, and breathable. Linen is cool to the touch but wrinkles badly and is hardly stretchable. The smooth surface of linen accepts little dirt and has an antibacterial effect.

Our shop still has a few colors of our yarn Belle, which is Oeko-Tex® certified.

3. Hemp:


Hemp is derived from the hemp plant, a fast-growing and robust plant that requires little water and is impervious to insect infestation and disease, which usually eliminates the need for chemicals. Hemp cultivation is, therefore, actually organic cultivation.

Hemp textiles are durable, breathable, hard-wearing, and absorb moisture well. Hemp fiber is also impervious to bacteria, fungi, and moths and has an antibacterial effect.

We don’t offer any yarn with hemp in our shop. Use Coupon Code “plantyarn30” for the yarn mentioned in this article to receive 30% off. This is valid as long as we have the yarn in stock.

4. Bamboo:

Bamboo is a fast-growing, hardy plant and requires little fertilization or watering. It only becomes problematic when man cultivates huge monocultures or even clears other forests for bamboo plantations. In addition, the textile industry has, unfortunately, only rarely used natural bamboo fiber. Mainly viscose bamboo is processed, which is produced with the use of toxic chemicals. So here, too, you must pay attention to how the yarn was made.

Bamboo provides soft fibers with a silky sheen. From bamboo, you create a lightweight and breathable fabric. Bamboo has natural antibacterial agents and is odor resistant.

5. Tencel:

Tencel (Lyocell) is a soft, silk-like fiber derived from eucalyptus wood. Its production is ecological and sustainable, and therefore, Tencel is relatively environmentally friendly, provided that no huge eucalyptus forest monocultures are created and natural forests are even cut down for it.

Tencel is wonderfully soft, breathable, pleasantly cool, and slightly shiny. That’s why Tencel is a valid substitute for silk.

To sum it up, checking if a yarn is biologically produced, has quality seals such as, e.g., Oeko-Tex® certification, and is animal-friendly delivered is always a good idea. I must admit that sometimes I also am not very conscious, and of course, in our complex world, it is not always easy to be sure if something is environmental-friendly on all levels. However, a good step toward a more sustainable world is to be well-informed and raise awareness.

Tell me, which yarn will you start your next project with?

Happy Knitting!


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