Tag Archives: bamboo

Spin Flora – Bamboo Staple

Bamboo Staple

Bamboo staple fibre is produced mechanically via a retting process, similar to flax production. The woody bamboo stems are crushed and natural enzymes break down the stems so the fibres can be combed out and spun. This is a very labour intensive process.

Bamboo Staple Fibre
Bamboo Staple Fibre

I have spun bamboo staple fibre before and the fibers were quite long and easy to spin in a worsted spinning style. For this particular batch of bamboo fibre, the fibers are quite short and feel much like cotton. So I decided to use a cotton spinning method. I carded some of the fibre on my drum carder and rolled it into small rolags.

I reduced the tension on my brake to slow down the takeup on the bobbin.
I used the point-of-twist drafting style allowing the twist to enter the enter the tip of the rolag and then pull slowly to release the fibre from the bundle. The resulting yarn is a bit lumpy, bumpy as I didn’t card this to a smooth roving. I wanted to have a bit of texture in this yarn. I plan to leave it as a singles and use it as weft in some handwoven.

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I also thought that this bamboo staple would be lovely when blended and carded with wool. I carded a 20% bamboo, 80 % merino blend and also spun this.

Handspun Bamboo Staple and Merino
Handspun Bamboo Staple and Merino

Handspun Bamboo Staple Single Ply
30 grams
350 m/100 grams

Handspun Bamboo Staple 20%/ Merino 80%
100 grans
145 m/100 grams

Saxon Blue Indigo Dye

Saxon Blue is a natural Indigo dye extract that has been made from an 18th Century recipe using indigo, sulphuric acid and calcium carbonate. Although you could mix up your own Saxon blue, I prefer to use a ready made mix as Sulphuric Acid is highly corrosive and the fumes are toxic. On the other hand, Saxon Blue extract is quite easy to use, even for the beginner natural dyer.

Fill the dyepot with clean water and the required amount of Saxon Blue extract. Put in the wetted fiber and bring the dye mixture to boil and simmer for about 30 minutes.
To dye 100 grams of yarn, I put 10 grams of Saxon Blue extract into the dyepot. I put both skeins of yarn into the dyepot (merino/bamboo blend, and bamboo singly ply)
Dyebath pH +3

Dyeing Bamboo with Saxon Blue Indigo
Dyeing Bamboo with Saxon Blue Indigo

The colour after about 15 minutes in the dyebath looked hopeful, so I let this simmer for about an hour. The merino/bamboo blend soaked up all of the dye, but the bamboo singles was almost white – lighter than it had been earlier.

I removed the merino/bamboo blend yarn and added a bit more of the Saxon Blue extract. I also decided to change the pH of the bath to +9 by adding some washing soda to see if this would help the bamboo fibre to retain more colour. After an hour, the blue colour did darken, so I turned off the dyepot and let the yarn sit in the dyebath overnight. In the morning when I pulled the skein out of the dyebath, it had turned a lovely turquoise blue. Unfortunately, when I washed it, most of the colour washed out.
Only use Saxon blue on wool, not on cellulose.

Handspun Merino/Bamboo dyed with Saxon Blue Indigo
Handspun Merino/Bamboo dyed with Saxon Blue Indigo

I purchased the Saxon Blue extract from DT Craft and Design.

Buy Bamboo Staple on Etsy

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Bamboo Textile – Wikipedia
About Mechanically Processed Bamboo
Bamboo as a Renewable Textile Fibre

Spin Flora

Spin Flora – Banana Viscose Fibre
Spin Flora – Rose Viscose Fibre
Spin Flora – Bamboo Top
Flax dyed with Indigo Fructose Vat

Handspinning Books

The Practical Spinner’s Guide – Cotton, Flax, Hemp (Practical Spinner’s Guides)
Spin Flax & Cotton: Traditional Techniques with Norman Kennedy
The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning: Being A Compendium of Information, Advice, and Opinions On the Noble Art & Craft

Natural Dye Books

Harvesting Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes
A Heritage of Colour: Natural Dyes Past and Present by Jenny Dean (2014-06-10)
Wild Color, Revised and Updated Edition: The Complete Guide to Making and Using Natural Dyes
The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing: Traditional Recipes for Modern Use

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Spin Flora not Fauna

I am very pleased and delighted to hear that my workshop is full for the upcoming AGWSD Summer School 2017. This summer school will be held at Sparsholt College in Hampshire, August 13 – 20, 2017.
The Summer School is hosted by the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, UK and is a bi-annual week long event where participants spend their days working in intensive workshops on their passion. Here is a diary of the AGWSD Summer School 2015.

Kukka Transparency Hand Spun Flax
Kukka Transparency Hand Spun Flax

My week long workshop will focus on handspinning flora not fauna – so plant fibres instead of animal. I will try to cover a number of different plants, depending on what will be available at the time. Spinning fibres such as flax, hemp, soya, banana, bamboo, seaweed, ramie, corn, rose.

Over the coming weeks as I make samples, I will try to write a few preview articles about spinning and working with these new fibres.

Spin Flora – Banana Fibre
How to spin using banana fibre.
Spin Flora – Rose Top
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Spin, Weave and Knit with Flora
Spin, Weave and Knit with Flora

Handspinning Books

The Practical Spinner’s Guide – Cotton, Flax, Hemp (Practical Spinner’s Guides)
Spin Flax & Cotton: Traditional Techniques with Norman Kennedy

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Ashford Spinning Wheel

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Rare Vintage Made In Holland Louet S10 Wooden Spinning Wheel Clothing Spool

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Louet Spinning Wheel S 50/51 Plus Stool And Skein Winder

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Biosteel Yarn

Peat Moss
Peatmoss can be blended with wool to create unusual and beautiful yarns and textiles.

Curds and Whey
Handspinning milk protein fiber

Ramie: Old Fiber – New Image
Ramie is strong and silky in appearance, with better absorbency than linen. This Ohio State University site gives a good overview of ramie and its history.

Handspinning Books: Exotic Yarns

The Intentional Spinner
Offering a blend of technical knowledge, history, and easy-to-use tips, this inspiring collection of spinning wisdom deftly explores the three fundamental areas of yarn production: understanding fibers, managing yarn structure, and making yarns that precisely meet the spinner’s needs.
UK: Intentional Spinner

The Whole Craft of Spinning: From the Raw Material to the Finished Yarn
Everything you need to know from set-up to finished product in order to create distinctive yarns for use in knitting, weaving, crocheting, needlepoint, embroidery, and macrame.
UK: Whole Craft of Spinning

..more Handspinning books..

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