Exploring the world of fiber, one draft at a time

My posting can be as frequent or infrequent as my spinning, so be as patient as that fiber, sitting in my stash.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Spinning Tencel and bamboo

Episode 31 of Yarnspinnerstales is posted and is available here or on Itunes.

This podcast is part one of two podcasts on spinning non wool fibers. I asked my daughter to join me for these podcasts, because these are the types of fibers she spins all the time. Although calling them non wool is not exactly right (because non wool can include other animals like alpaca and angora) we can't just call them plant fibers either (because silk falls in this non wool category). So we decided to base the categories on their sources, which affect mainly how the fibers are dyed. The categories are cellulose and protein derived.

Cellulose fibers include bamboo, tencel, and cotton. Although hemp and flax are plant derived, they are considered bast fibers and will have a podcast of their own. And cotton was covered extensively in episodes 12, 13, and 15. So for this podcast we talk about bamboo and tencel, going into the process of their production, as well as spinning and dyeing with these fibers.

As you can see in the photo, bamboo and tencel have an amazing shine. They do feel slippery as you spin them, and for that reason require higher twist and want to spin very thin. This makes many spinners afraid to spin these fibers. We hope that this podcast will help those spinners learn how to handle the fibers so they can enjoy the lovely yarns they create.

Because sometimes a verbal description of a process is not always enough, I have posted a video on youtube that shows tencel being spun on a Lendrum wheel with a very fast flyer.

I am currently spinning a combined combed top of targhee and bamboo fiber on my Ashford with the lace flyer. It is a beautiful white, the targhee being non shiny and the bamboo shining through. The singles are very fine, and a test self 2 ply is measuring 23 WPI. It's going to be a lovely lace weight yarn.


Jody said...

I just carded some lovely batts made of alpaca, merino and bamboo. Yesterday I purchased some 60/40 Seacell and silk blend to try. I luv blending my alpaca fleeces with these fibres.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to share that I have been really enjoying your podcasts. So glad you had fun at the Woolery - I made it there once before they left Murfreesboro, but as we're moving soon to SE Indiana, I might have to make the drive down to Frankfort for some supplies!

Found something today I thought you'd like, if you don't already know about it - are you familiar with The Spinning Loft? They have a wide range of raw fleece available by breed. http://www.thespinningloft.com/store.php?crn=229&start=2

Anonymous said...

I'm a brand new baby spinner and have begun listening to your (older) podcasts which directed me to the blog.

I love to (try to) spin while listening to your stories - they are captivating!!

Thanks for what you do - Mary

jane said...

Hello - This (#31) is the first episode I chose to try for your podcast, and I found it enjoyable aond informative; will definitely try more. I did have one issue - you included rayon (along with nylon) in the category of petroleum-based synthetics. Big oops on a podcast dedicated to Tencel and bamboo.

Rayon is the category name for regenerated cellulose fibers - including bamboo and Lyocell/Tencel as well as many others. It's worth noting that the FTC has recently cracked down on manufacturers who tried to make their products sound more environmentally friendly by labelling them "bamboo". Newer labels say "rayon derived from bamboo".

YST said...

Good catch, Jane. I just listened to this episode again and heard where we did say nylon and then rayon was petroleum based. In the beginning of the podcast, Digitaldurga was clear that rayon was a cellulose process but I guess when she was just talking off the cuff so to speak, rayon slipped into the wrong statement. And I missed it in the editing process. I won't correct that right now, but I will if and when I finally put these episodes out in CD format.

Thanks for listening, and for leaving the comment.