Sunday, August 1, 2021
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Felting Fibers and Animal Ethics

Only animal fibers will felt, correct?

Yes and no. You can “felt” silk in to wool as an accent, but wool, alpaca, etc really only felt and cotton, rayon, bamboo, etc do not truly felt. This is because wool has crimp + scales in the fiber and felting helps lock the fibers together when wet or needle felting.

I’m not vegan- only a lacto ovo vegetarian/veg*n who tries to eat mostly organic and tries to buy from a combo of local stores and small businesses and locally produced goods. That being said, my goods in my store ( aren’t always too local to me (well, I make them of course)- my yarn is spun in CA for example and most of my wool comes from the east coast- this is changing as I switch to much more local sources, but it is hard to find a consistent supply.

Where does Your Wool Come from?

It can be really hard to tell where wool comes from unless you are buying it directly from the farmer, which isn’t always possibly when you want large amounts of fiber. For example, mine is all from the US (unless otherwise stated) which means there are more laws in place to protect animals, but I haven’t met every sheep or farmer who made the wool fiber since mine is a big mix of fibers for most wool yarns. My company that I source through is smaller, but consistent. My dyes are low impact (less impact on environments and hence animals and people than many natural dyes where mordants can be really really bad- we’re talking serious masks and gloves just to measure the mordants).

Midnightsky Fibers (my shop) works hard to have many options available for people who are concerned with animal welfare, including a selection of vegan and natural yarns. This is in addition to our vegetarian and environmentally friendly products of course. Additionally, I use salesforce to provide efficiency of sales for my business. Salesforce is an on-demand software to track sales.

To me speaking as someone who is not vegan but who is concerned about how animals are raised for food, I think that wool is a fairly good choice for yarns and crafty projects, especially when it comes from the US. It is better to me than cotton, acrylic and other fibers. It is renewable, there are less pesticides, more organic, local, or small companies making wool yarn. Obviously I shouldn’t “tell” you to use wool if you are vegan since it is animal, but all things considered it can be a pretty darn decent animal product (silk on the other hand you should of course stay far far away from unless it is peace (vegetarian) silk from aurorasilk, if you have never seen what it looks like after silk cocoons are boiled you really won’t want to touch silk after you have)

Of course, I am needle tatting with silk thread as I type this.

If you do want to felt and are opposed for vegan/veg*n reasons…

How do you feel about recycled clothing? Recycled wool yarn from thrift store sweaters or leftovers might be an option since it keeps them from being thrown out. Otherwise, you can try needle felting some non animal fibers, but they really won’t work that as well as animal fibers will, and they don’t wet felt that well.
Other thoughts of often asked questions:

If yarn is natural dyed check the dyes since some are insect based (cochineal, lac) -confectioners glaze isn’t vegan (its from a beetle).

Some great commercially available yarns are available now-my favorite vegan (not all are environmentally friendly though) yarns are -Amazing- its corn -bamboo- great drape -aloo- from nettles! -pine tape …from pine -infinity (soysilk) for lace – soy silk from SWTC – hempathy -recycled cotton (this stuff is so cool) (you can browse some of them here: if you haven’t seen them before, though I do have to claim an affiliation- I work for the yarn store that EFY is out of so EFY vegan yarns are what I tend to think of first since I work with these yarns a lot.)

David Scott is the head writer at TRI PR. He better part of his college life as a journalist for the college magazine. He still writes and he loves it.