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.