Recycled Luxury – NorthCoast Knittery

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Recycled Luxury

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     I believe that as fiber artists, we are already well aware of the value of our textiles. We know what it takes to create fabrics and garments. We know that clothing doesn't appear out of thin air- despite the availability that most of our society takes for granted. We care for, mend, and cherish clothes because we understand their worth- which is unfortunately a rare trait in today's disposable fashion mindset.

     Recycling is not often described as a luxurious activity (care for a little escargot while you separate those cans and bottles?). But there's more to it than just dealing with an extra bin on garbage night. It's about diverting "waste" from meeting a sad fate in a landfill. It's about getting as much mileage as possible out of everything we eat and use. Luckily for us knitters (crocheters, weavers, etc), the minds at Jade Sapphire and Furaz were able to create pure luxury out of recycled fiber- for us to indulge in while feelin' a good conscience. 

     Instead of old cashmere clothing and fabrics ending up in a dump, Jade Sapphire comes to the rescue. They collect those unusable cashmere garments and bits, and separates them into colors. They then shred it up and respin the fiber into the ultra-squishy and soft balls of Re-Luxe, which are $47 for 142 yards. This bulky weight yarn has a quick-knit gauge, and works up fast into full bodied and very warm fabrics. Did I mention it feels incredible? It's cashmere, duh.

     Furaz is another yarn company that found an issue with perfectly good fiber going to waste. While it isn't as popular here in the U.S.A, rabbits are commonly raised as livestock for eating- especially in European countries. While the food industry puts good use to the meat, they have no purpose for the furs, so they are either thrown away or burnt up! What a shame, right? Angora is an amazingly soft fiber, and the people of Furaz knew it was outrageous that so much of it was being destroyed. So the Luxurious Rabbit Fur Yarn was born! Sourced from France and Spain, this yarn is 100% recycled rabbit fur. The strong core at the center of this lofty yarn is actually the leather spun up, which allows maximum fluffiness with minimum waste. This Rabbit Fur yarn is $72 and knits up with a bulky gauge, but to get the flexibility and feel of a normal knit fabric, it's recommended you alternate rows with another yarn.... Oh, hello again Re-Luxe! You two make a lovely couple.

     We realize that these two luxurious yarns, are, well, priced luxuriously. So Laura designed two stylish patterns using both yarns, and just one skein of each will allow you to complete both of these easy to knit projects. The patterns are free with your yarn purchase, and hard copies will be included with your yarn shipment. Electronic versions of the patterns are also available with yarn purchase upon request!

     The Luxury Mitts use the Rabbit Fur to embellish the cast on and first two rows, and then the Re-Luxe is used to finish up the rest of the hand. It's mostly stockinette and 2x2 ribbing, with a basic thumb gusset for a clean and sophisticated look. Since they're knit on US size 9 double points, they finish up quickly.

     The Luxury Cowl uses the remaining yarn once the Luxury Mitts are finished. This soft accessory can be made into a cowl or a collar that you can wear closed with a shawl pin or button. The stitches are large enough to not be damaged by a shawl pin, and are also large enough to easily pass a button through- so you don't even need to worry about incorporating a button hole into the pattern. This cowl is knit flat on 16" circular US size 13 needles, and the two yarns are alternated between rows.

     These yarns look good, feel good, and do good too. Furaz and Jade Sapphire are giving a useful life to fiber that was almost lost forever, and we're all benefitting. Happy knitting!

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