Vogue Knitting: It’s Green

I just got my new issue of Vogue Knitting and was pleasantly surprised by a special section on knitting green. Of course, I expected greenwash, which is generally the case.

Vogue does a pretty good job, although it’s anemic…I like that it couches the enviro-friendliness of the yarns in practicality by saying that they’re actually better fibers to use in the summer because they’re cool in the heat. But the section is just a few patterns using yarns of organic cotton, bamboo and soy silk. And I think most of the yarns are more of the alternative fiber/vegan variety rather than the specifically “eco-friendly” kind.  The two are often linked, but not always.

While bamboo is rapidly renewable, the processes by which it’s turned into yarn are by no means “treading lightly on the earth.” Soy silk was a bit of mystery to me until I looked it up. I wasn’t sure why soy silk would be considered environmentally friendly. I thought maybe it was because of the associations with soy from tofu and other meat substitutes being an environmental choice…but that’s obviously a whole different thing–meat is environmentally intensive to produce compared with any vegetable product. Taken alone I would guess soy is as environmentally destructive as any other crop (though I’m not sure about the fertilizer/pesticide requirements).  It’s grown all over the place and is taking over much of Asia as the crop of choice–and I’m pretty sure it’s not organic in most places. Apparently, according to Knitter’s Review, soy silk is actually made from tofu manufacturing waste. That sounds good to me–unless it’s the same kind of energy/resource intensive process like with bamboo.

So, I’m not sure about the rush to label these fibers “green”….though I think they’re great substitutes for vegan knitters. I just think this stuff has to be questioned for it to be effective (the point I was trying to make in my rant against “optimism”).

I wasn’t incredibly inspired by the magazine but there were a couple of designs I really liked and will consider knitting later:

I love the sweater dress:

And the back:

I love this, whimsical and girly:


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