Sunday, 11 May 2008

"whacky fibres"

Whackies to follow - but first a picture of the sunset from yesterday evening. the day had been rather hazy, even cloudy during the afternoon, but all that vanished and the sun came out nicely for a brief visit before it set.... the Nephin mountain looks a bit like a volcano with a smoke flag rising out of it:)) but it's not - the area (quite far away from us) is boggy and heathery and not at all like a volcano (at least not one I would imagine!)
but now to the Whackies... we have begun a new workshop in the OLG at the beginning of may - whacky fibres. now, what falls under that hat? of course the really whacky fibres are the ones that are not obtainable from any shop, such as cotton grass, milkweeds, broom or even dandelion and thistle fluff. but there has been quite a development in the commercial fibre area, too! I am not sure that all of them are really necessary, but I wanted to give them a try anyway. so I ordered a few samples from Ros at Forest Fibres and received my packet on friday (of all the days - I had to leave the bags and do the shopping first:))). I already had some soy (on the upper left corner, apricot colour), some linen (white upper right), bamboo in white (lower right) and viscose (lower left - all tops). the rest are ingeo, banana silk and tencel above the card and trilobal nylon, milk protein and black diamond bamboo below the card (all from left to right).
the fibres are very different in looks; while ingeo, black diamond and milk protein are all very fine, they are rather matte in appearance - the black diamond (more grey than black) looks like the pelt of a mole! the banana fibres are super shiny - but a bit of a mess. I didn't try to spin them yet, but apparently they give nice yarns either spun from that mass - or carded into rolags.
the tencel looks pretty much like the viscose, feels similar, too. the trilobal feels as artificial as it is - I suspect I'd use it in blends to give a bit of sparkle, but not as a yarn in pure form!
all the fibres I tried so far have a slightly "dead" feel to them; no crimp, no elasticity, even though it seems to be quite easy to spin fine and even yarns. I am waiting for the part in the workshop where we do blends - in the meantime I'll try the rest of the lot to see how they spin up - so far I did the soy, the bamboo and the black diamond bamboo' all of them worsted or semi-worsted, and all of them fairly fine and even, in 2ply.
I am not too sure about the production of some of them either. ok, soy is supposedly done with leftovers from the tofu production. I am all for using what goes to waste otherwise - but what about the milk protein? wouldn't that be useful in feeding others - rather than use it for fibre production? and nearly all of those "new" fibres are produced not like linen or hemp, directly from the plant, but like viscose or tencel, i.e. with a chemical process, where everything is turned into a "liquid" of some kind, that is pressed through nozzles later into another chemical (acid?) to form fibres. I am aware that producing other fibres doesn't work without water and energy either - but is it really as "eco" as the producers want us to believe?

just a bit of colour at the end of my entry - I couldn't resist the shocking pink of the pelargonium. it looked nearly dead over winter, but recovered miraculously and is in full flower just now - a change from all the light yellow and light purple that is covering the countryside just now (primulas and violas). the bees and bumble bees go haywire over it - though I don't think that it has much to offer as reward.......


Leigh said...

Rats. You're making me wish I'd participated in the whacky fibers workshop :( Also, the hummingbird shrug looks lovely!

Bettina said...

it's not too late, Leigh:)) though I tried the black bamboo - I think I can live without that one! the white stuff has more texture, the black one is just too smooth (and non-descript somehow) to be of much interest to me! from the looks the banana is fantastic - though I didn't try that one yet....

Juliana said...

Hallo Bettina,
deine Fasern sehen gut aus. Ich hab ganz unterschiedliche Qualitäten, wobei man manche wirklich erst kardieren muss und dann lassen sie sich immer noch nicht gut spinnen. Muss mal ein Bild machen, wenn es nicht so zeitaufwendig wäre .....
Jetzt geht aber erst mal der Garten vor, bevor es regnet. Gruß Juliana