Moving on the Making Yarn

make_yarnI’ve finally finished all the fibers, ending with cellulosic (not to be confused with cellulose made from plants) that are plant-based such as rayon but extruded. This is complex – you’ll have to read the book! The last section was on synthetic fibers – something I’m really familiar with having worked for several yarn companies who specialize in yarns from synthetics. Basic take-away on these sections is that both cellulosic and synthetic fibers were created to replicate natural fibers such as wool.

So, moving along – I can see this year of reading is going to go pretty slowly if I don’t accelerate!

Making yarn starts talking about small spinners that make yarn – sometimes for themselves and sometimes for other small yarn companies. I must admit that most of my experience is with huge companies that create tons of yarn a year rather than a limited number of pounds/kilos.

Clara added an informative page with fiber festivals throughout the US by month. I didn’t know there is one in CT in April. Will add it to my list of must-dos this year.

Moving on to Cellulose Fibers

project_8OK! Finally done with Protein Fibers. The last was silk. Silk is considered a protein even though it isn’t shorn or plucked from an animal. My big take-away was the two different types of silk – from silk worms that eat only mulberry leaves (bombyx silk) and those who eat all kinds of leaves (tussah silk). Obviously, bombyx is finer and fancier. Bottom line: silk is great when mixed with other fibers.

Onward! Cellulose is today’s reading (actually yesterday – but I digress). These are cotton (mainly discussed) plus linen and hemp. My big take-away: I now know why I’ve always loved mercerized cotton the best – shiny, receptive to dyes, and less likely to stretch out of shape.

I’ve decided in this journey that I should make at least one project from each book. Right now I’m leaning to Princess Mitts from the 4-ply project #8. Let’s see if I change my mind as I read on….

Section 1 – Fiber Foundations

proteinFibersI’m off and running with the first section of the book. Today I started where many knitters begin – protein fibers. No they aren’t lean chicken or God forbid – steak. These protein fibers come from animals such as sheep and alpaca. Clara made it really easy to follow. I started out with sheep wool (the largest part of this section).

What did I learn about wool – It varies depending on breed. Also wool fibers are covered with scales – the more scales the finer the yarn (such as Merino. I learned how super wash wool is made – wouldn’t you like to know.

I also read sections about mohair and cashmere (both from goats) and a couple of other goat breeds that were new to me. On to angora (from bunnies), camels (yes, camels), alpaca, llama and I gave up at ! Who knew there were so many animals producing fibers – actually I did know, but learned interesting facts that hopefully I’ll store away for good cocktail banter…..