Lots of knitters and crocheters these days are interested in more sustainable knitting -- choosing organically produced fibers, naturally colored yarns, products sourced from local sheep and yarns made with recycled materials.
Yarn makers have responded in a variety of ways, giving knitters who want to knit greener more choices than ever.
A new player on the recycled fiber scene is Lion Brand's Hooked Fettuccini yarn, which has a funny name but is also a lot of fun to use.
- Content: 92 percent cotton, 8 percent elastane
- Yarn weight: super bulky
- Gauge: ball band says 8 stitches and 11 rows per 4 inches on size 15 US needles (10 mm); I got 9 stitches and 11 rows on size 15 needles
- Yardage: 55 yards per 312 gram ball
- Color availability: because the yarn is 100 percent recycled, colors cannot be guaranteed. When ordering from Lion Brand you would choose solids or prints and get whatever they send you. (There's at least one vendor of Ebay selling it as well; of course you'd know what color you were getting if you ordered from there.)
- Color used in swatch: solid (blue)
- Care instructions: hand wash; lay flat to dry
Note: As of this writing, Zpagetti was proving so popular that the solids were sold out and not expected to be replenished until mid-May.
I was really intrigued by this giant yarn and actually started working with it the same day my sample ball arrived in the mail, which is really unusual for me.
I started out knitting a bowl at a much tighter gauge than the ball band recommends, and I did find it hard going (though working with T-shirt yarn is often a strain and rather uncomfortable over long periods)> I found the stretchiness to be a bit of a problem, particularly when casting on and trying to increase stitches.
You also may find some knots in this yarn; I had one at the very beginning that ended up in my cast on and another much later in the ball that's on the knit swatch pictured here. I decided to leave them because when you make your own T-shirt yarn you end up with a lot more knots, so it's not the end of the world.
The stitches actually came out a lot more uniform than I expected and the yarn was nicer to knit with than homemade T-shirt yarn is. It was not as rough and didn't shed, which is great.
After I finished my first project I went ahead and knit a large swatch (I'm now calling it a washcloth) on the recommended needle size and found it a lot easier to work with, though it was still a bit of a strain and I found I needed to take a break in the middle.
Uses for Fettuccini
Because you can't be assured what color or pattern you're getting -- or even if you order multiple balls that they will all be the same -- this yarn is best suited for small projects that can be completed with a ball or less.
Knit bowls and baskets, washcloths, bags and jewelry are all things I would do with this yarn. It's great for sturdy, utilitarian projects, but it would also be fun to use in any of the non-knit jewelry applications that people have been finding for T-shirt fabric lately. I'm liking the idea of just braiding some of it together for a bracelet.
Fettuccini is actually kind of fun to knit with and it would be especially fun to knit with in public. Knitting with T-shirt yarn is an excellent conversation starter.
It's also excellent to know that this is a recycled (or maybe upcycled?) product that is diverting a lot of waste that might otherwise end up in landfills. And the convenience of not having to cut up your own shirts is well worth the retail price of about $9 a ball to me.