I love working with Popcycle by HiKoo yarns. Each 305-yard skein is made from 50% “bamboo” and 50% polyester from two recycled bottles. It is smooth, silky, with no splitting. Sourced from bamboo and recycled bottles, it is also moderately eco-friendly.
Putting the ‘pop’ in Popcycle
As long as consumers refuse to let go of their plastic water bottles and soda-buying habits we are going to have mountains and mountains of plastic to deal with. Unfortunately, much of our plastic waste still goes into landfills or straight into the ocean. In 2017, only around 29% of PET bottles were recycled in the U.S. (the standard plastic soda or water bottle). But even those recycled bottles represent plastic that will remain in the environment for an estimated 500 years. The solution is to stop buying plastic already. But in the meantime – why not turn those empty soda bottles into yarn?
Bamboo = Rayon
The bamboo part is tricky. As I explain in a previous post, all of the nice soft silky fiber that is labeled “bamboo” is actually rayon, or viscose (rayon = viscose). That also means the bamboo/rayon/viscose has been processed using lots of chemicals potentially harmful to humans and the environment. Further, it has most certainly been made in China, meaning it had to travel thousands of miles to North America to my local yarn store.
Popcycle is truly a wonderful knitting yarn. It is smooth, with a nice sheen, but not so slippery that it slides off my needles. It comes in fun, summery colors, almost like the soda pop it used to contain. I chose the color Peaceful (a pale purple) and a cream color to make Rialto Ripples by Irina Anikeeva. I love the way it turned out, though it is on the heavy side as rayon yarn can be. But, this gives it a wonderful drape, suitable for shawls, tops, and tanks.
The yarn label suggests soaking the yarn to set the color, so I used the cold water and vinegar method and it worked beautifully:
- fill a sink with cold water and one cup of distilled vinegar
- soak the garment for about 30 minutes, occasionally swishing it around so all the yarn is covered
- drain the sink and rinse out the garment a couple of times to get the vinegar smell out
- gently towel dry and block as you usually would
Overall, this is a wonderful fingering weight yarn to work with, which is also moderately sustainable. It would rate higher for me if its production company HiKoo could ensure the bamboo is sourced from closed-loop bamboo production factories, that also follow strict worker safety standards. But it is certainly a step in the right direction.