By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America
Thinking of Christmas presents yet? Pick up some colorful peppermint yarn and start knitting or crocheting this year’s gifts. Peppermint fiber has been kicking around textile circles for a bit, but only entered the United States yarn market in June 2017. It’s a novelty to some and a must-have for vegan fiber addicts who eschew animal fibers, but want all-natural options.
The yarn is made from the peppermint plant. But, it doesn’t smell like peppermint. That’s because the pulp is the “scrap” remaining from peppermint distillation. It could be consider upcycling what could have been a waste product. And, the yarn is organic by default. Peppermint, as herbies know, requires little cultivation and is easily renewable. (Read: Prolific!)
What might sound exotic becomes a mainstream when you consider plant fibers – cotton, flax, even bamboo – have historically been part of the fiber industry. It just took Chinese silk experts to develop a process for turning the hard, short fibers into yarn.
Dale Washburn, a Washington state-based entrepreneur and knitter, brought the yarn to the United States. He describes it as a product that feels good to work with, has a nice drape and takes well to bright colors.
“As a yarn it’s just awesome. It’s super soft, has a little sheen and a crepe-like feel,” he says. While it currently comes in jewel tones, he’s expanding the color palette this year.
Washburn’s company, Bellatrista, also sells yarn made from milk proteins and soy fibers. He is paying close attention to technology that may use green tea for fiber.
Peppermint yarns are currently available in 75 stores in the United States, but NOT online. However, some of the stores will sell the yarn online or mail order. Find a retailer near you.