Thursday, 14 February 2008

Exotic Fibres

Click for bigger image.

My favourite yarn shop, River City Yarns, was hosting an evening session on spinning exotic fibres the other week and I got to go! Yay! We spent three hours playing with all kinds of fibres new to most of us: cotton, bison down, silk, ramie, alpaca, bamboo, llama, and soy protein. Birgit Rasmussen guided us all along the way and was a fantastic instructor. Very patient! Above is a shot of my mini skeins from the session.

The alpaca blend was definitely the softest. It is verrrry cuddly. I have no idea what it was blended with however. We were just given a sample to spin and it was a mystery to the instructor as well as she had been gifted it earlier by the class organizer.

The bison down and cotton, both raw cotton and prepared roving, were definitely the most challenging. My drop spindle had quite a few crashes during those experiments, poor thing. The bamboo was quite lovely and the regular bamboo had a really nice sheen. The carbonized bamboo was interesting and still quite soft, though without any gleam at all. I didn't like the ramie and found it more difficult to spin than either silk or any of the other more slippery fibres.

All in all, it was a very interesting evening. I will definitely consider incorporating some of the nice shiny fibres into my spinning. Of course, since I have no way of blending the fibres, I am probably stuck with whatever I can buy for now!

A couple of years ago, I bought a beautiful merino silk blend and spun it into a thick and thin bulky weight two-ply yarn and knit a head-band for my sister-in-law. (No pictures sorry - we were on vacation during the knitting and gifting!) I am using her spinning wheel on indefinite loan ;-) and thought she deserved a gift. It spun up very nicely and I didn't find it too difficult. It ended up being a very pretty yarn.

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