Does anyone know what happened to yarns made of corn, milk, etc.? Did they not find a following? I ask because I made socks out of Cornucopia several years ago and they feel wonderful on my feet–I would like to make more someday. (I know that Kollage has been gone for a while, sadly.)
Keep in mind that these yarns are highly processed and (depending on the original source) are basically just rayon/tencel/viscose. It could be that these types of yarns have been relabeled (just like bamboo had to be relabeled as “tencel” or “tencel from bamboo” unless it was a true bamboo bast yarn (which is rare). So it may be that these fibers are still prevalent, but now with different fiber content labels. Also, if I had to guess, I’d say a percentage of people lost interest upon realizing that the fibers aren’t as eco friendly as they may have thought (it’s a very harsh chemical process)…or as fancy as they thought (because many of these yarns were selling at a premium). For example, I’ve used yarn made from sugarcane fibers. It was lovely, but not any nicer than most of the bamboo or other tencel yarns that I’ve used that were just as nice, but sold for less.
Anyway, those are just my thoughts, but it’s also a possibility that people have simply moved on to something different. Remember how much novelty yarn used to be around? Fun fur, etc. And highly variegated yarns were really huge (and still are to some extent), but many people moved to longer color changes, gradients, and of course speckles.
My original hope was that the ‘non-food’ part of corn had been used to make the fiber, but I think I had read that it was actually the ‘food’ part that was used. (Much like the ethanol problem.) I don’t really care so much for eco-friendly this or that, just using what might have been considered a waste being used for something good. Thanks for your knowledge on the yarns, I appreciate it!
@ExquisiteAutumn I think that the inedible plant parts (stalks and whatnot) are tilled into the fields to help replace nutrients in the soil. Sometimes they are burned in the fields as well (but I haven’t seen that in a while). So at least with that it’s not so much waste as it becomes mulch or compost to replenish. I’m not so concerned with eco-friendly yarns (as there are far worse things being done to the earth that I am concerned about), but I do think that the original labeling was misleading on many of these fibers. Many people see “corn” or “sugarcane” or “soy” and think that it’s natural when in fact it’s really just highly processed into man-made fibers. (Nothing wrong with man-made…just that it should be labeled appropriately.)
I agree that it is misleading to label the fibers in that way. I had just thought that if the waste from other uses of the corn, soy, sugarcane, etc., had been used in another way (like for yarn), that it would have been a creative and productive use. Thanks again for your information!
@knitterlady13 is correct; the stalks still are useful; some farmers actually bale them and use them for straw/bedding for their livestock. But even just having them compost back into the ground is healthy for the soil. My husband is a corn and soybean farmer and I at first thought too this was a good idea, to put stalks and leaves into yarn and I also thought it was a novel thing–to actually be able to knit yarn that comes from the corn we raise, but I think with all the processing needing to be done to it, it’s not as great of an idea as they had hoped. But that’s okay; they do use our checkoff dollars (removed from our pay for grain) for research to find ways to use our products and it’s worth checking out. It’s amazing how many ways soybeans and corn are used besides food and besides even ethanol!