ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Green Knitting for Everyone

Updated on March 7, 2020
kimberlyschimmel profile image

Kimberly is an enthusiastic knitter who also crochets, teaches knitting, sews, does alterations,and designs/tests knit and crochet patterns.

Use Those Yarn Leftovers

Knitting with Renewable or Reclaimed Fibers and Zero-Waste Knitting

Knitting is an activity that already has low impact on the environment. After all, we just need some pointy sticks and some sort of string,thread, or yarn to practice our craft. Our choice of new yarn, however, can help support small farms and green agriculture. Our reuse of yarn from old or unloved sweaters can save landfill space. Making use of every inch of yarn we purchase is also a green practice.

I offer the knitter (or the crochet enthusiast--I do both) some strategies for knitting with renewable fibers, reducing waste from knitting, and reclaiming the useful fiber in many discarded clothing items. Not only will we save natural resources, but we will create other resources: more closet space when you turn your collection of odd balls into a super scarf or more time as you make yarn from stuff in your house instead of driving to the store to buy a new skein. The scarf at the right was made while I was housebound after a snowstorm, so I had to use whatever I had in my yarn stash at home. It is funky and useful, if not perfectly colorized.

Let's get started and enjoy more knitting with less environmental impact.

Free Scrappy Scarf Pattern

Cast on enough stitches for desired length of scarf, minus fringe. Knit one garter ridge (2 rows) and break off yarn, leaving 8-inch tail. Join new yarn, leaving 8-inch tail. Knit one row and break yarn, leaving tail again. Continue joining yarn and leaving long tails, alternating color changes so that the number of tails at each end stays roughly the same. Cast off loosely. Tie an overhand knot using all the tails on one end of the scarf. Trim tails to an even length. Repeat on other end.

Favor Natural Fibers

Bamboo is a renewable resource. As a member of the grass family, it grows fast. It need not be replanted, since it is harvested above the roots. Manufacturers are now using bamboo as a substitute for wood flooring and--for our knitting purposes--to make rayon fiber for yarn! Go to a local yarn shop and touch some of the new bamboo blends. They are kitten-soft, whether blended with acrylic, silk, or cotton. Bamboo is great for summer knitting since it breathes, unlike synthetics.

Hemp fibers are strong and are often used for rope or strong cording for jewelry. When blended with flax (linen) or cotton, hemp is made soft enough for woven or knitted clothing. Use this yarn in any pattern that calls for a similar weight of linen or cotton yarn. (In my opinion, it is a waste for people to smoke such a versatile and useful fiber. Knitting is a great stress reliever--plus, you have a sweater or scarf when you are done! If you smoke it, it's gone.)

For winter knitting, wool will always reign supreme. Environmentally-friendly wool grows on a sheep, not in a laboratory. Wool is warm even when wet, yet breathably cool in the lighter weights.

Organic cotton is another choice for those who eschew pesticides and GMO plants, yet want the breathable comfort of cotton.

Using Remnants and Reusing Yarn

Use Those Remnants!

There are plenty of small projects that can be made with less than one skein of yarn. Use the leftover yarn from your last sweater or afghan to make baby hats for a pregnancy care center, afghan squares for Warm Up America or coasters for your coffee table. Making things from leftovers represents found money--it's like giving yourself a little raise every time you make something from what you already have.

Reclaim Yarn from Unloved Garments

I don't know about you, but sometimes I knit a project that doesn't turn out quite like I had hoped. Yes, the thought of unraveling that sweater that took so many hours makes one a bit ill, but think of turning that yarn into a new project you will want to wear instead of the orphan garment in the back of your sweater drawer. For easy unraveling, make sure you start at the point where you cast off--frogging goes in the reverse direction of the original knitting.

Creative folk have also made "yarn" by cutting old T-shirts or fabric remnants into strips. Narrow wool strips would make a good throw rug, while the t-shirt yarn could make a bath mat. Some enterprising crocheters and knitters have even come up with projects using "plarn"--yarn made from plastic bags.

Green Projects - Stash-Busting Ideas for Knitters

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Scrappy scarf made from small remnants.Lace scarf made with a single skein of bamboo-blend yarnBookmark made with tiny amounts of baby woolWaste-Not Amity Scarf uses scraps to create the color pattern
Scrappy scarf made from small remnants.
Scrappy scarf made from small remnants.
Lace scarf made with a single skein of bamboo-blend yarn
Lace scarf made with a single skein of bamboo-blend yarn
Bookmark made with tiny amounts of baby wool
Bookmark made with tiny amounts of baby wool
Waste-Not Amity Scarf uses scraps to create the color pattern
Waste-Not Amity Scarf uses scraps to create the color pattern

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)