2006-09-18: Vegetable Love

Treats from the plant world to try and spin.

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This installment of Runcible Spoon is dedicated to Swamp Thing, my favourite fictional Earth Elemental.

Until this weekend, I had only spun fibres that come from animals: wool, alpaca, mohair, angora, silk. Deciding I needed to expand my repetoire, I placed an order at www.ecoyarns.com.au for some stuff from the plant world.

A photo of all the fibre I received in my Ecoyarns order

So far I have tried out hemp and bamboo. The hemp came in 50g packets of what looked like off-white cotton batting. I was dubious that I would even be able to spin the stuff, since the individual hemp fibres seemed so short. But hemp has this curious ability to stick to itself. Without much twist to hold the fibre together, the hemp just sort of clamps down and makes... well, yarn isn't really the right word: I would say twine. Hemp seems pretty sturdy and easy to spin, but unalloyed with other fibres for softness, it's pretty papery and stiff. Flexible enough, but not soft or drapey.

Some unspun hemp fibre

The bamboo I haven't done much of yet, but it's really nice. It has a sheen like silk and it spreads apart smoothly so that I can get a very fine yarn. It needs a bit of twist to hold together. A few times I have let it unwind itself a little to find that it all starts falling apart again. I need to make sure I keep tension on it when I wind the spun single onto my spindle.

Carbonised bamboo fibre&mdash not frozen in carbonite Plain old vanilla bamboo fibre

Also in my package were: carbonised bamboo (not sure what precisely makes this different from regular bamboo, but it's an attractive smooth charcoal colour); soy silk, which is made from soybeans; organic cotton, some of which is naturally green instead of white (and gets greener as you wash it); silk latte, another silk substitute made from dairy waste; some stuff called "karaoke", which is a blend of soy silk and wool, and possibly my favourite, for quirkiness, even though it's not plant, is the wool & possum blend.

A lap full of fibre

That is real interesting I will need to keep an eye on your reports about how things spin up and maybe even knit up!!

Silvia 19 Sep 2006

Thanks Silvia, I'll be sure to post updates to the forum too.

ARJ roceal@jngm.net 20 Sep 2006