Tools + Supplies

Published on April 16th, 2009 | by Kelly Rand

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Yearn Worthy Yarn: Caron, Simply Soft Eco

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I’m on the fence about this yarn and not so sure that it is “yearn worthy” but felt that a good discussion about it was.

Caron yarns has a new entry into our yarn vernacular called Simply Soft Eco. Simply Soft Eco is similar to Caron’s other yarns made from acrylic, but contains 20% of recycled PET content.

If you recall PET is plastic water or soda bottles and is popping up in recycled form in various places such as EcoFelt, fabric blends, clothing, bags, and even boats! What I find really wonderful about this yarn is that it has recycled content, a huge selection of colors and that it is available in big box stores – great for when you don’t have access to a small indie shop.

What makes me pause is the low amount of recycled content to begin with, but I guess it is better than none. Caron is already boasting 1 million bottles recycled and that “every 10 skeins of Simply Soft Eco saves 6 plastic bottles from America’s landfills.” Huh? I’m not so sure I would talk that statistic up. How about 6 bottles saved per skein?

The other thought provoking thing about this yarn is that Caron has had to already answer some interesting questions about the safty of PET. Consumers wanted to know about phthalates in the yarn (there aren’t any), clearly referring to CIPSA, if the bottles used in the yarn are clean (they are) and if it would cause allergies (everyone is different). There are also concerns about the plastic bits or “flecks” in the yarn itself, making me wonder of the craftsmanship of the yarn.

For those who do not use wool, it is possibly a good animal free product for your knitting and crochet needs. But I’m still stuck on the 20%. What do you think? Would you use this yarn? Is it a large company trying to get in on the green band wagon or a good acrylic yarn alternative? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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About the Author

Kelly covers visual arts in and around Washington, DC for DCist and is editor of Crafting a Green World. Kelly has also been published by Bust Magazine and you can find her byline at Indie Fixx and Etsy’s Storque and has taught in Etsy’s virtual lab on the topic of green crafting. Kelly helps organize Crafty Bastards: Arts and Crafts Fair, one of the largest indie craft fairs on the east coast and has served on the Craft Bastard’s jury since 2007. Kelly is also co-founder of Hello Craft a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the advancement of independent crafters and the handmade movement. Kelly resides in Washington, D.C. and believes that handmade will save the world.



  • chppie

    I think it’s a step in the right direction. If they make a product that people like then they may be motivated by the requests of their customers to make it more eco. Large companies are slow to change gears and a step as long as its not an end is good. I do think it needs to be pleasant to use as well. Just eco isn’t enough.

  • http://cosaverde.com/paperelle Lauren

    I really like Caron Simply Soft, since I’m allergic to wool. I’ll buy this instead for projects that call for it, so it works for me. I do like that Lion’s recycled content is 70%, which is a lot more substantial than 20%. I’m in the 20% is better than nothing boat!

  • Lisa

    It’s great, let’s keep encouraging these companies to keep doing more in this direction by buying it!!!

  • Elisa

    I’m new to knitting so I’m no expert, but I love this yarn. I’m using it for the things I’m knitting for my baby on the way. It is SO soft, easy to work, and because its acrylic and PET it won’t shrink like cotton can.

    I’m also on the 20% is better than nothing, and I haven’t felt the other eco friendly yarns, but the feel of this one sold me.

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