Sustainable & Alternative Fibers: The Spinner’s Guide to Vegan, Natural & Wool-Free Yarns

Spinners have worked with wool for thousands of years, and with good reason: it dyes easily, wears well, and comes from cute sheep. But it’s not the only option available nowadays. We can spin fiber produced from other animals, from plants, or from manufacturing processes. Bamboo, soy, and corn can all be made into yarn. So can wood pulp and seaweed: if you’ve never heard of Seacell, Modal, or Lyocell, read on.

Do all of these spinnable fibers qualify as natural? Are they vegan or at least sustainable? How sustainable are the different production methods? It depends on your personal definitions and choices. Some people might see rayon, extruded from wood pulp, as too far removed from nature, while others might prefer rayon to water-intensive hemp retting. You’ll read about protein and cellulose fibers in the first article, then find others on plant-based fibers, either directly from the plant or processed in some way. If you want to spin something other than wool, you can find the perfect substitute here.



Sustainable yarn types can be found; you just have to look for them.

Making vegan yarn is easy with this free tutorial.

Learn tips about preparing natural fibers for spinning!

From hemp to yucca, use these tips and beautiful projects to transform your spinning experience.

This yarn comparison takes vegan and sustainable yarns and compares their properties with woollen yarns.

All About Sustainable Yarns

If you’ve been wondering about the benefits of rayon vs soy silk vs hemp yarn and more, this is what you need to read. Learn all about bamboo fiber properties, plus yarns made out of seaweed, corn, and more.

spinning naturally colored cotton

The Ultimate Guide to Naturally Colored Cotton Spinning

Did you know cotton grows in more colors than just white? Colored cotton is back in vogue, but beware! The staples can vary dramatically based on color. Here’s what you need to know about spinning colored cotton.

Spin silk to make a crochet chain necklace or bracelet

How to Spin Yucca

Native Americans of the southwest United States have long used the fibers from yucca leaves for many products, including sandals, baskets, carry bags, and cordage. Now you can do it too, with leaves plucked off lilies from your very own backyard.

Spinning silk for embroidery

How to Finish Soy Silk, Rayon Fiber and Lyocell

If you’ve managed to get your hands on manufactured natural fibers from bamboo, soy or seaweed, you’ll know they have plenty of sheen but should be treated a little differently. We experiment with different spinning and finishing techniques and compare the results.

Don’t wait to get started!

The experts at SD are excited to introduce you to the fascinating art of making natural yarn.

Naturally colored cotton bolls