For my next Spin Flora not Fauna project, I thought I would spin a bit of rose top. Rose fibre is another one of the ‘new’ vegan handspinning fibres, made from roses. The rose fibre has been extracted from the natural waste of rose bushes and stems. The fibre has been stripped and processed to create a luxurious and soft handspinning spinning fibre, similar to silk.
The banana plant has been cultivated in Japan since the 13th Century for use in making fabrics and textiles. The tender shoots of the banana plant were harvested and boiled in lye to soften them. The banana fibre was spun into yarn and woven for making kimono and kamishimo.
In Nepal, the trunk of the banana plant was used instead of the shoots. The aged bark or outer layers were soaked in water and allowed to decay to dissolve the chlorofyl leaving the cellulose fibres that are softened into a pulp. The pulp is dried and spun into yarn.
Banana is a strong fibre with a shiny appearance. Banana is a light weight fibre with high moisture absorption as well as quick moisture release, so banana fibre dries quickly. Banana fiber is bio-degradable and has no negative impact on the environment.
With the recent invention of banana fiber extraction machines, banana fibre waste can now be processed into high quality silk grade fibres that are now readily available to handspinners, weavers and crafters.
I bought a new spinning wheel recently-
A Kromski Polonaise from Wingham Woolwork.
This is a Ferrari of spinning wheels.
In order to give this new wheel a true test of what it can do, I then went to London’s local weaving centre – located in North London – Handweavers Studio and Gallery where they have a sumptious selection of handspinning fibres.There I discovered milk protein fibre top. I had heard of it but had never had the opportunity to test it out. What fun!Innovative fibres such as milk casein and soya fibre were developed during the early 40’s as a substitute for wool, which was needed by the men on the front line. These virtually faded from existence as other synthetic yarns such as nylon were developed. Some of these fibres are now making a comeback as there is more emphasis on environmentally safe products and eco-friendly textiles.Milk casein fibre is made by separating the oils and fats from the protein. The curd is rinsed, dried and dissolved to form a ‘dope’ that is pushed through spinnerets into an acid bath that forms the fibre. The fibre goes through further salt and formaldehyde processing to soften and improve the quality.Because milk casein is a protein fiber it can be dyed with CIBA acid dyes.I did find the milk fibre very soft and silky to spin.
Mudchute Farm - Did you know that you can find farm animals in the centre of London?
A free knitting pattern for a ribknit with a twist -
Shetland Squares - Cable Wobble Knitting Pattern
Textile clipart - carding wool, weaving rag rugs
Craft clipart - flax retting, flax drying