We just debuted our new Guide to Vegan Knitting where you can find our list of many wonderful vegan yarn options available today. As an extension of that, we wanted to connect with other vegan knitting connoisseurs to see what knowledge they have to share with our readers at World of Vegan. Today we’re excited to speak with Heidi, the owner and creator of the popular shop Vegan Yarn.
Heidi makes a gorgeous, plant-based yarn that I’ve personally used for my own designs and love.
If you’ve ever used an inexpensive, sturdy “kitchen cotton” for a project, you may think you know what it’s like to knit with a plant-based, vegan yarn. But, I’m here to tell you that you’re about to be blown away!
Knitting with Heidi’s yarn is a heavenly experience. Her yarns are smooth, soft, and utterly luxurious. Vegan Yarn offers an amazing variety of yarn bases, like:
…and other beautiful blends. They come in the most brilliant colorways in a variety of solids, variegated, tonals, and even sometimes striped!
I’ve been completely spoiled knitting with this ethically crafted yarn and I have to tell you—it’s brought my knitting to an entirely new, magical level of enjoyment. Instead of knitting for the purpose of wearing a lovely garment, I’ve found myself taking more time to just concentrate on the yarn and how it feels to my hands. The texture, weight, and softness of quality yarns are a pleasure to experience and I know you’ll be as addicted as I am once you try it.
I also love how she offers eco-friendly packaging and other interesting and unique accessories, notions, and snacks on her website. Who doesn’t want to grab a few awesome gifts for knitting friends (or for yourself!) once in a while? I know I do!
We wanted to chat with Heidi about her experience with vegan knitting and how she found her way to creating a totally plant-based vegan yarn shop. Well, are you ready to dive into our interview? Welcome, Heidi!
I’ve been vegan for about 13 years. I was vegetarian off-and-on before that, but I think it was just the simple matter of taking the time to learn about why going vegan is a good idea, and internalizing those things.
At first, I was really attracted to the health benefits, but they weren’t enough for me to make the change permanently. It wasn’t until I exposed myself to the extent of suffering that animal exploitation and speciesism causes that I became convinced. Watching a few vegan documentaries and reading books was really all it took to show me what was going on, and I no longer wanted to participate in something I considered so deeply unjust.
I’ve been a knitter since childhood, and once I became vegan, I decided I was going to transition my yarn stash as well.
At the time, the plant-based yarn selection was awful! There were very few options and the quality was very low (in my opinion). There were also no hand dyers working with plant-based yarns that could coax anything but faded and drab looking shades on flat, boring bases.
About 12 years ago I started with a few commercial yarns here and there, and tried dyeing them myself. At first, they weren’t great, but I was intrigued by the various techniques, and kept at it. I took a spinning class, and that helped me understand yarn better as well. After a while I started listing the extras I had made on etsy to see if anyone else was interested, and in 2012 I started building the Vegan Yarn website, with yarn bases I had sourced from various producers that I liked, and dyed myself.
It has been a long and steady process. I’ve tested all kinds of yarns, but very few become ones I use in the shop. It’s quite tricky actually to track down mills that are willing to supply plant-based yarn to an independent dyer. I mostly work directly with mills, since most wholesalers that supply yarn for indie dyers only carry animal fiber, so I have to make very large orders and work my way through them.
Luckily, I have a family that’s tolerant of having hundreds of kilos of yarn in our specially built yarn shed and the living room, half of which is also my office. Vegan Yarn is a home-based business, and I love running it that way. It gives me the freedom to work without interruption, and be flexible enough to spend plenty of time with my son, and do other fun side projects like volunteering and activism.
Practicing compassion and non-violence while deriving joy from color and nurturing activity. I try to evoke these values in every aspect of the business, and my hope is that it is apparent in every box that I mail out.
I’m so grateful that I am in a position to do what I love and get so much joy from it. I love participating in a process, where each knitter, crocheter, or weaver can take this yarn and interpret it in their own way, turning into something uniquely their own.
Having to wear so many ‘hats.’ Since I’m a one-person operation, it’s up to me to make things happen, and that can get a little overwhelming at times. It has gotten easier with practice, and just this year, I’m finally handing my accounting over to a professional, which is so exciting, since that’s my least favorite part!
My favorite yarn is always the one I’m currently working with!
I’m working on Ripple Bralette with Pleiades Sock in colorway Raspberry Speckle, and it’s totally awesome! It’s doing this really cool fade that was totally unexpected. I made one already, but this time I’m doing it as a long line bra by extending the hem quite a bit.
My stitch markers by Kristan MacIntyre. They’re gorgeous, and I use them constantly.
Heidi, thank you so much for sharing with the World of Vegan community! Vegan knitters are a growing group of like-minded people and your company really does make a huge difference in people’s transition to veganism and also making their choice to become vegan even more secure knowing that they can continue their craft without contributing to animal cruelty.
Readers can get 15% off at veganyarn.com with the coupon code: worldofvegan