Image source: KnitGrrl
For the crafty out there in the audience, Shannon Okey, author of more than 10 knitting books, now launches a new book for "alternative" fibers - Alt Fiber: 25 Projects For Knitting Green With Bamboo, Soy, Hemp and More. Not sure when the next time will be that we're lost in the woods and desperately needing to fashion together some semblance of a loincloth together with only a pair of knitting needles and banana fiber, but one can never tell these days.
Other alternative fibers that Okey works with include milkweed, seacell yarn (a sea-weed material that provides nutrients to the skin when worn), wood pulp, pineapple, corn, ramie, kenaf, flax and milk proteins. With each pattern the author offers tips on how to work specifically with the alternative fiber, how to add it to current projects and any special instructions for how to hand-dye the fiber.We all know the dangers of conventional cotton and its love of pesticides, so knitting together scarves, purses, socks and outfits out of alternative materials will help you pass time on those cold winter nights, as well as add more green clothing to your wardrobe. Maybe that trendy cousin in New York will finally appreciate you when you successfully knit a messenger bag out of hemp.
Okey will be on tour this fall with Southwest Trading Company's Go Green Campaign. You can ask her all the technical questions on where to even locate enough milkweed for a scarf, to how to keep those banana fiber skeins in order. If you get really goof at alternative fibers, you may just have a new career, as Okey notes that the crafty website Etsy.com has over 185,000 sellers and has already sold over $35 million in 2008. You might just corner the market in pineapple string scarves.