12 Months of Mindful Fiber: April with Quo Vadis Handspun and Bamboo

**This Giveaway is closed! Please check back in May for more Mindful Fiber!**

As the positive trend of sustainability spreads, I suspect we’ll see more and more plant-based fibers in knitting yarn. Modal, rayon, and soy silk are already well known as ‘alternative’ yarns, but it’s bamboo that makes me believe that people can make yarn out of anything.

Bamboo might be the most sustainable plant on the planet. It is fast-growing (it’s considered an ‘invasive species’ down here), doesn’t require pesticides or fertilizers, replants itself, you don’t have to kill it to harvest it and it’s ready to be harvested again in months. This grass is deceptively strong for its weight and has been used to make flooring, furniture, kitchenware and bicycles (I am not kidding). Bamboo products are unique in that they are both durable and biodegradable.

bamboozled haha

This is Lucky Bamboo (not the fiber kind or the kind Pandas eat),
but you get the idea.

Most bamboo clothing is produced as “regenerated cellulose fiber” (like rayon). This basically means that the bamboo is shredded, separated, filtered and put back together in fiber form. Like making paper from trees, this requires lots and lots of water and chemicals, so most bamboo fabrics are not considered organic and the process is not sustainable. Several companies are exploring ways to make refining process as environmentally friendly as the growing process. Various oxides and alcohols can be used (and, for extra greenness points, re-used) to dissolve the bamboo and then the resulting liquid is hardened into cellulose fiber threads that can be spun into yarn.

And what yarn. Bamboo yarn is strong, incredibly soft (unbelievably soft when you consider the source), shimmery, biodegradable and has a fabulous drape. It’s no wonder that bamboo fiber is so appealing to knitters.

A great place to find bamboo yarns (and more!) in unique and engaging colors is Quo Vadis Handspun.

Heidi opened shop shortly after she began producing artisan yarns to satisfy her own fiber cravings. As a vegan (someone who doesn’t use animal products of any kind), Heidi’s focus is on providing exciting and unique plant-based, environmentally friendly and creature-free yarns to her customers. To that end, she has amassed an enormous collection of fiber types!

yarn yarn yarn

Heidi and her stock at Fibers West.

Tencel, microfiber, organic cotton, color grown cotton, corn silk, viscose are all listed for sale as spinning fiber, hand spun yarn or hand dyed yarn. All the yarns and dyes are vegan and 100% cruelty-free, but Heidi says: “Not vegan? Thats ok! My yarns are a fun way to get some veggies in your knitting diet.”

My personal favorites are the yarns that are dyed with natural materials: indigo straight from the plant, madder, marigold, logwood, wood resins, saffron (pink not yellow!). Each yarn’s description contains the dye notes. It’s a little like reading a life story and a little like reading a recipe. Some yarns stay in their dye baths for days to achieve a marvelous intensity of color.

Heidi uses two commercially spun bamboo yarns as a base for her hand dyed sock yarns: Crystal Palace’s Panda Cotton, a bamboo and cotton blend with elastic, and Kertzer’s On Your Toes Bamboo, bamboo with nylon for structure. Since many people have Strong Feelings about elastic in knitting yarn, I chose the Kertzer for April’s Mindful Fiber giveaway.

mmmm shimmery

Because of the shimmer, I had a terrible time getting a picture of this yarn! It’s actually darker than shown – like a storm cloud.

Heidi calls this colorway Anuvittasana, or “standing backbend” (it’s yoga). But to me, it looks like a summer storm where everything suddenly goes dark blue-green and the rain shimmers down. Maybe it’s a Gulf Coast thing, but I’ve picked a sock pattern that matches my April Showers inclinations:

I’ve got a crush on these socks by KellyK! Is there anything better than paw prints all over your socks? I think not! Except maybe cables all over your socks, but this pattern has those too. Yay!

**This Giveaway is closed! Please check back in May for more Mindful Fiber!**

To win April’s Mindful Fiber Giveaway, just leave a comment on this post. The random number generator knows what to do. For more chances to win, refer your friends and have them mention your name in their comment (this is to raise awareness after all). Aprilโ€™s Mindful Fiber Giveaway will be open for almost two weeks (until Monday, April 30).

You can find Quo Vadis Handspun and Heidi on her blog, on Facebook, and, of course, on Etsy.

The bamboo picture and the pictures of the featured yarn are mine, Heidi Hizsa holds the copyright on all of the other yarn pictures. The illustration for the “It’s Raining Cats & Dogs Socks” belongs to KellyK (that’s what it says on the pattern page, so that’s what I’m going with). The pictures that aren’t mine are used with permission.

32 thoughts on “12 Months of Mindful Fiber: April with Quo Vadis Handspun and Bamboo

  1. Dawn

    Ooooh, thank you for posting about her Etsy shop, as I ‘need’ more yarn for this allergic to wool household!

    Thank you!

  2. melissa

    As if her colorway names weren’t enough – she even has Castle in the Sky inspired colors! *drools* And she has fiber for spinning?! I think I’m in love! (:

  3. Susan

    Ooh! I could get some yummy bamboo yarn for me, and some lovely cotton for my spinning husband to play with (or should that be ply with?) … And we have an anniversary coming up …

  4. kathy b

    What a find> Im off to her sites

    I LOVE bamboo yarns. I have only bamboo plants in my home now. THey use water only. No soil for kittens to play in. You must use sterile water or bottled water or boiled water….they are very sensitive to chlorine and chemicals in town water.
    A woman at my gum dentist had gorgeous bamboo plants in the office. She gave me a mini workshop on raising them> SHe takes hers out of the pots and trims the roots with a scissors once in a while…

  5. Dorothy

    I love bamboo yarn! I’m always interested in dyes that are natural. Some of the 16th/17th century historic villages in the Northeast offer classes in such things. I’d love to take one someday!

  6. Becky

    Such pretty yarn and patterns. I’m missing my knitting mojo, maybe this is just the thing to get me going again. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Margaret Williams

    Wow! Vegan yarn! Never would have known this. That is awesome and amazing that she incorporate her personal way of life into her knitting! Love it!!!

  8. Beth

    I *love* bamboo yarn! (And all other things bamboo, really; kitchen utensils, flooring, the actual plants.) And that pattern is really pretty, too.

  9. Kavya

    I’ve never tried knitting with bamboo but I’d love to! Soft yarns are my favorite. I’ve recently started knitting with cotton and it’s great. It’s always nice to hear about new veggie-friendly yarns!

  10. Susan

    I am in love with the stormy color.. I love blues. I definitly prefer soft yarn and have a hard time convincing myself to order some yarn online because of that but maybe in the future i’ll branch out. I have seen bamboo yarns in the shops but never thought about how they are made and it’s definitly got me thinking. I don’t eat a lot of veggies so maybe I can get it in on my knitting. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Anonymous

    Hmm, I almost ordered some bamboo roving to spin last week. I’m really interested in doing more sustainable fibers. Heidi’s yarns are beautiful and so inspiring. Please random number generator pick me!

  12. Cassie Moon

    Hmm, I almost ordered some bamboo roving to spin last week. I’m really interested in doing more sustainable fibers. Heidi’s yarns are beautiful and so inspiring. Please random number generator pick me!

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  14. Barbara

    Well, I wasn’t going to enter this month (give everyone else a bit better chance) since I don’t know when I would have time to knit socks! But you make that yarn look way too tempting, and I can’t help myself.

  15. Debbie Hallamek

    I love bamboo yarn. So soft and drapey. I mentioning my sister’s name, Suzanne Shattuck for her extra entry. thanks!

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