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Fibre Friday

October 8, 2010

Bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant on the planet. It is incredibly diverse both in its growing habits and its uses. It has a greater tensile strength than steel but is soft and comfortable to wear.

As a spinning fibre it is very smooth and fine. I have found it needs a very tight twist to make a stable yarn. I spin the singles quite fine and ply it. I like to ply and prefer the way a yarn both knits and weaves as a 2 ply. 

Carbonized bamboo was reportedly developed by Thomas Edison and used as a filament in his first electric light bulb. It is a beautiful charcoal colour. Shown on a handwoven satin weave shawl with a painted warp and bamboo weft. You can see the back of the shawl in the top left corner. In satin weave the back and front of the cloth is quite different.

The second fibre is a 50/50 blend of silk and yak. Spun in the same way as the bamboo. It is soft and is the colour of pewter.

Both fibres are wonderful to knit with and together with some handspun silk for a little accent colour I have started knitting a shawl from Vivian Hoxbro’s book “Domino Knitting”. The technique is a favorite of mine. It is easy to pick up and knit when you only have a few minutes.

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