Before we begin: No, I’m not asking you to knit with marijuana! While they are both Cannabis sativa plants, hemp only contains trace amounts of THC and you cannot use it to get high. This misunderstood fiber has a history of unfounded hatred and mistrust, but the truth is that hemp is an incredibly useful plant that makes a great eco-friendly yarn. You can knit, crochet, and even spin with it!
There are two reasons hemp makes such great clothing and yarn: its length and its strength. The fiber diameter ranges from 16 to 50 microns (wool, another highly useful fiber, ranges from 16 to 40 microns). Hemp is great at conducting heat, dries well, resists mildew, and has natural anti-bacterial properties. And it’s an incredibly versatile plant—the seeds, oil, and fiber are all usable.
Hemp goes into everyday products like flour, dietary fiber, snacks, non-dairy milk, fuel, detergents, paint, fabric, insulation, paper, and even mulch. But hemp’s greatness doesn’t end there—here’s what using hemp yarn really means.
1. Helping the Earth.
Processing hemp fiber does not require chlorine, which makes dioxins (chemicals that are highly persistent in our environment).
2. Being mindful of and responsible with our water usage.
Hemp does not need much water to grow, especially when compared to animal and even other plant fibers.
3. Sustainable land usage.
Hemp has a high yield-per-area ratio; for example, a single acre of usable hemp fiber is equal to 2 acres of cotton.
4. Durable and wearable products.
Hemp yarn won’t shrink, stretch, or pill, and it softens with every wash.
5. The freedom of choice.
Long gone are the days of only white and brown hemp yarns—now there are so many colors to choose from!
Now that you’re as obsessed with this guilt-free yarn as I am, let’s spread the word and smash hemp’s silly stigmas!
(Originally posted on April 20, 2018; updated on April 19, 2019.)