Upcycled Handspun Yarn – Vegan Friendly – and The Scarf it Made

core wrapped banana fiber yarn still on the bobbin

core wrapped banana fiber yarn still on the bobbin

I made this yarn this past winter & it occurred to me that this upcycled handspun yarn is vegan friendly. Most of the yarns I spin are with animal fibers, but this was made using sari silk remnants (banana fibers that are similar to rayon – so not exactly “natural” as the name would suggest). I can’t always get these from the company in Vermont but when I see them I nab them. They are colorful and silky & usually I add them to my batts. This is my first time making a complete yarn out of them. I love the idea of up-cycling a discarded product.

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big honkin’ spool of dacron

After thinking it over, I decided the best way to showcase these fibers as well as keep it an even diameter was to core wrap spin it. Core wrapping is a technique where you wrap fibers – usually from a batt – around a finished yarn, the core. Many people use commercial yarns for the core. The banana fibers come in a bag in one big mass, so I found it easy to tease out a bit at a time and let it wrap around the core. I used this dacron yarn (polyester) as the core. I found this huge cone of it at a second-hand store for only $3.50! Score!

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To add a little more glitz, I added a commercial sequined thread at the same time I was wrapping the fibers. Another bargain find from the clearance section of the craft store. I am a bit of a magpie (or squirrel? Mouse?) when it comes to shiny and cheap things. :)

I made a really cool scarf with this yarn, I really wish the pictures would capture the texture better. It’s very organic in feel yet glitzy all at the same time, and naturally 100% unique. I love rocking this!

upcycled sari silk banana fiber yarn made into a continuous scarf - doubled over

upcycled sari silk banana fiber yarn made into a continuous scarf – doubled over

This is a continuous scarf knitted in the round using an elongated stitch. I made it really long (it’s approximately 36″ from top to bottom) because I wanted to be able to fold it over more than once for different looks.

lopped once at same length

lopped once at same length

I used size 11 circular needles. As I harp and preach about handspun yarn: go big or go home! ;) Always go with a larger needle to allow the fibers to open up and have room for any larger sections.

twice folded over and fanned out - cowl like

twice folded over and fanned out – cowl like

I love elongated stitches and use several methods when knitting my handspun. I love that airy, webby effect and I think it showcases the handspun so well. Not to mention it’s super simple and works up fast. I’ll have instructions for this stitch at the bottom of this post…

cowl-style not fanned out

cowl-style not fanned out

Because of the ease with these kind of stitches, I threw this project in my bag and worked on it when I had a passing minute while out on errands. You never have to remember where you left off because it’s all the same until binding off.

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Elongated Stitch for continuous scarf

CO desired number of stitches (I CO 110 with size 11 circular needles)
Be sure all stitches are facing the same way, and are not twisted then:
K1;
Insert your left needle into the front of the ST you just created and make a stitch within this stitch: just like a continental purl stitch only using your left needle instead of your right.

Insert left needle into the front of the knit stitch you just created, and essentially purl into this stitch

Insert left needle into the front of the knit stitch you just created, and essentially purl into this stitch

the elongated stitch

the elongated stitch

Continue until scarf is desired length & CO. It doesn’t get more easy than that!

signatureLeilani Cleveland Deveau is a self-taught jewelry artist with over sixteen years of experience. 4 years ago she added the fiber arts (wool processing/dyeing/carding/spinning, knitting, crochet and felting) to her long list of creative interests. Leilani welcomes questions or comments from other crafters and handmade artists, as well as requests for custom, wholesale or consignment jewelry. Her home studio is located in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. You can contact her by email: leilani@bb3.com or stay informed by subscribing to her monthly newsletter (a draw for a giveaway each month!). See sign up button at right on main blog page.

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