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Bananas for Banana Yarn

Completely and utterly, it’s driven me crazy, I’ve had ALL the emotions with this yarn! Spoiler alert, this post ends well, banana yarn is my new love!

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I originally wrote this with the title Banana Disaster! My first experience (note I say first) wasn’t a good one you see, it went wrong… horribly wrong… it ended up in the bin 😭

For me to say that, it must’ve been bad… trust me, it was.

It was smelly (moldy smell) and dirty, so I washed it. The dye ran…a lot… that was just the first hank I tried. After several handwashes, it was clean and smelled better. So on to the dye problem…

I tried setting the dye in salt… nope. I tried setting the dye in vinegar…. nope. I tried setting the dye in a proper commercial dye fixative (Simplicol Colour Fixer Expert)… YES, much better.

Hung it up to dry very happy that the bleeding was now at a low level and excited to get creating. But… when I started winding it into a ball I found ends… lots of them. And it snapped at the slightest tug 😭 Over 3/4 of the hank attempted, and I gave up and binned it. It was such a poor fiber that it was too weak to crochet with. I’m sure all my washing and dye setting attempts will have weakened it further sadly.

This hank was noticeably thinner than the other two I bought, although all were described the same which is quite unhelpful. With handspun yarn, variations in thickness between hanks and throughout the one hank are to be expected, but with this particular one was totally different to other two.

The other 2 were thicker and very slubby. One quite smelly and bleeds a bit, the other no smell and doesn’t bleed at all. But they are usable. Surprisingly this lovely coral coloured one is the better one. I’d have thought with its beautiful strong colour that the dye would run for sure, but no.

All due credit to the seller though, she kindly refunded my full order cost and said the dye problem wasn’t normal. It affected 5 of the hanks out of 6. 3 were banana, 3 recycled silk. I had no success setting the dye on the silks, but as long as I stick to one colour or similar toned colours they’ll be use able. I’ll write a post about them too.

Now for the great news. I tried another supplier and their banana yarn is so much softer and better spun, no odd smells and less breakages BUT the dye also runs a little!

As banana yarns are hand spun by individuals, the quality of workmanship and materials will vary immensely making each hank unique. Dyes are likely to bleed somewhat on wetting. This can be minimised by washing the hank first (cool water, very mild detergent) and I recommend you do this, and rinse several times if it’s leaking lots of dye.

If you are willing to be flexible with your creativity then working with banana yarn is highly rewarding, not just for the incredible and unique texture it creates but for the immensely ethical way it is made.

If you don’t know why it’s the most ethical yarn you can buy (my opinion), here’s why:

Banana yarn is spun from cellulose fibers from the bark of the outer layers of banana trees. These layers have to be removed from the trees as they mature or they rot and cause disease. Their removal is vital to continued fruit production. So, it is waste from the banana industry that is recycled and processed into cellulose fibers. The yarn is totally biodegradable too.

So that’s awesome in itself. But it gets even better…

The yarn is handspun by women working in Women’s Co-operatives across rural India and Nepal, providing a much needed (and fair) income for their families and this is helping get their villages out of poverty.

I want to support this. So I’m working on designing crochet patterns that work perfectly with this kind of yarn. I hope you’ll join me on this journey too, and subscribe to my blog if you haven’t already.

I’ll be posting again really soon with my first Banana yarn pattern. It’s already finished, just need to write up the pattern, I promise you’re gonna love it!

Here’s a sneaky peek…

If you want to get your hands on the same gorgeous Banana Yarn, it’s right here. If you want to get your supplies ready for the pattern, you’ll need 1 in royal blue and 1 in mint green and a 10mm crochet hook. I use the super comfy Knitpro for my chunkier yarn projects. You may also want some large hole beads.

See you soon x💚x

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