Alt Fiber

alt fiber — Shannon Okey. Available September 2008 from Ten Speed Press, this book features 25+ patterns that use unusual plant fiber yarns such as soy, hemp, bamboo, kenaf, fique, allo and more. In addition, the book itself is printed on 50% recycled paper! Order Alt Fiber on Amazon.


Winner of the PETA 6th annual Proggy Award for Most Animal-Friendly Craft Book.

What do you get when you cross a love of animals with a love of knitting? You get Shannon Okey’s new cruelty-free craft book! Packed with fun and unique knitting projects suitable for newbie knitters and pro purlers alike, Alt Fiber focuses on alternative animal- and eco-friendly fibers, including seaweed, hemp, and soy-based yarn (a tofu byproduct). Tailor-made for people who want to knit but don’t want to hurt sheep, this book is a must-read for anyone interested in joining the cruelty-free craft community.

PETA's Sixth Annual Proggy Awards Winner

Reviews, fall 2008

It’s hard to review a book that’s dedicated to you [not kidding], but as the resident non-wool expert at Knitty, I’m the most qualified. So here goes…

This book is quite different from the one I wrote [No Sheep for You, Interweave Press, 2007], because I know you’d ask. Shannon Okey’s focus is “unusual plant-based yarns” and their impact on our environment.

She discusses so many different fibers that I could double the length of this review listing them all! She talks about how they’re manufactured, environmental concerns — explaining just WHY you’d want to use organic cotton over the other stuff, for example — and gives great info on dyeing the fibers with natural materials like indigo, madder root, osage orange and sandalwood.

There are more than 25 projects that cover you from head to toe. Not scratchy hemp potscrubbers — think shimmery bamboo cardigan and tank twinsets, linen skirts, hemp coats, lace yummies and a crazy-beautiful design that features scribble lace with undyed silk hankies as one of the ingredients! If I have a complaint it’s just about what’s missing: schematics for the garments, and more pictures for everything.

CRAFT magazine #9 The book offers a diversity of patterns that knitters of all skill levels will enjoy, as well as a couple of crochet patterns. … The bottom line is that if you like the idea of working with more plant-based alternative fibers, this is a great book for learning what’s out there and how to use them.

Sacramento Book Review, January 2009

Sample images

Some of Alt Fiber’s amazing photos by Sasha Gulish (shot on location around San Francisco).