In New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada you will find the home studio of Heidi and Jeremy, the dynamic duo behind Vegan Yarns. They spend their time in their studio dyeing yarn. What kind of yarn? Beautiful, environmentally friendly, vegan yarn.
When Heidi Braacx first started to get into knitting, she would frequent the local yarn stores in search of vegan yarn. Sadly, whenever she would ask if they carried any she would get shown to the “Acrylic Wall of Shame”.
Seeing an opportunity for a fun project, Heidi took a class in spinning yarn. Using this new skill and her previous experience dyeing fabric as a costuming and set decoration seamstress, Heidi started to dye and spin a variety of cruelty-free and sustainable fibers. In 2009, Heidi listed her first small batch of hand-dyed and hand-spun yarn online, and Vegan Yarns started to come to life.
“I've learned so much since then, mostly trial and error, and now this has become something I look forward to doing every day," Heidi says. "I feel so lucky to be able to do something I find so satisfying, which is also so much appreciated by other people at the same time.”
The time, detail, and love Vegan Yarns puts into their dyeing process does not go unnoticed. Here at Knit Purl, we carry Arcturus Worsted, a silky smooth, ever-so-slightly variegated, half Pima cotton and half Oro Blanco Tanquis cotton yarn.
Arcturus starts its journey with a good scouring, followed by being mordanted twice with natural items such as mayrobalan, oak tannin, and alum, then it meets the "tea" bath (this is made with the plant used for dyeing). And finally, once the yarn is dry, it is given a decent thwacking. This process can take anywhere from three days to two weeks, but the results are worth it.
“We work mindfully to create beautiful things that exist for more than their own sake, that do not exist at the expense of someone’s happiness but as works of art that are made of freedom, compassion and joy,” Heidi says.
It might be a little early, but I already have a few spring projects in mind for Arcturus Worsted: