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joe_doufu
01-05-2007, 06:09 AM
I finally found a big professional wool market in Beijing. It's called 毛纺城市场 and I'll post more about it when I have photos from my friend's camera.

While there I got the wool pictured below. The two big bunches (is "hanks" the word?) are wool yarn which is translated directly from chinese as "sheep hair line" so I know what it is. The smaller, er, rolls(?) are from another animal, and I don't know the english name, and can't imagine what it might be. Look at the picture and tell me what you think it is. Maybe otter wool? The yarn is nice and soft and to my untrained fingers doesn't feel any different from sheep wool.

The otter is going to make a nice hat for one of my female co-workers. You can't see in the scan but the lighter one is a super pale blue that she likes.

The rust and brown yarns look good together (to me only, apparently) and are similar to the colors of a robin. I don't know how to describe the thickness in English except that it's thicker than worsted weight. It feels soft and is relatively low on "frizzyness". I got quite a bit of it. Any project suggestion?

PurpleMittens
01-05-2007, 06:55 AM
That's definitely an otter / ferret / mink, etc. I was unaware you could make yarn out of their hair though, maybe it is just an emblem? Their fur is very very soft, and perhaps the label is simply meant to indicate that the yarn is similarly soft, if not necessarily actually made from the actual animal.

joe_doufu
01-05-2007, 07:09 AM
Nope, I talked to the lady. They told me the animal is called "diu" in Mandarin, but I'm not sure to which animal that label corresponds to.

I also saw a very stringy yarn today from an animal described as "a kind of a bird that lives in Africa or some place like that"... ostrich or penguin down, perhaps? I didn't buy that one though.

five_six
01-05-2007, 07:11 AM
The rust and brown yarns look good together (to me only, apparently)

Well i happen to think that is a beautiful colour combination myself - exactly my colours! :heart:

niffer
01-05-2007, 07:20 AM
I've been having a google about this one - couldn't find any reference to the name of the wool, and Diu is either a region in india or an extremely rude word in cantonese (Care of wikipedia).

I'm still looking though - very interested in otter wool :teehee:

I'm also about to shave a cat who seems content to become a part of my knitting one way or another! :teehee:

niffer
01-05-2007, 07:23 AM
Care of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diu_%28Cantonese%29

Warning - swear words and explicit language on that page! Please please don't read it if you don't want to read that kind of stuff.

"Diu is indeed an old word in the vernacular Chinese language. Anyone familiar with the classic novel Water Margin should know the word by heart, where it is written as 鳥 (which indeed means "birds") "

So maybe it is bird - I hope so as some of the other options on that page would worry me if made into wool.

mulene
01-05-2007, 07:25 AM
diu in pinyin is thulium which is a rare metal element. Makes me wonder if it is perhaps acrylic?

The picture on the label could of course just be a picture for the brand not the content of the yarn :) It could also be a cotton?

The way to see if it is acrylic or a natural fiber is to do a burn test. Take a small piece of the yarn, over a sink set it alight using a match. If it melts and has a plastic type smell, doesn't naturally go out of its own accord then it is acrylic. If it burns but smells like burned hair and the fire goes out naturally, with the ends curling then it is a natural animal hair fiber.

Worth looking on the net for a detailed description of how each fiber reacts under a burn test and give it a go :) Takes only a minute or two ;)

five_six
01-05-2007, 07:47 AM
well joe, didn't you start a google frenzy - i've been looking for the past hour, and can't find a decent mandarin translator - go figure. How is that possible.

I think i might just learn Mandarin instead, then i will know what ''diu" means... let me get back to you in, say, 10 years!!! :wall:

Bah!! I'm supposed to be knitting!!

janelanespaintbrush
01-05-2007, 11:27 AM
My first thought was that it looks like a possum. NZ possum (not the same animal the one we see in the US) makes a super soft yarn.

madametj
01-05-2007, 06:25 PM
it looks like a ferret to me

joe_doufu
01-06-2007, 04:29 AM
It was "diao" not "diu" but that still doesn't help.
In Mandarin there are a maximum of about 400 possible sounds (each character = 1 syllable) so the thing is there are many characters with the same pronunciations: many "diao"s. The character on the label is 貂 and the left part of that character means an animal, but it's not in my dictionary.

Most animal names except for the main domestic ones don't appear in my dictionary, because they never appear in compound words and are therefore uncommonly used. It's something like the latin names of animals, which most English speakers don't know and wouldn't expect to see in a normal dictionary.

joe_doufu
01-06-2007, 12:22 PM
Something seems to have happened to my last message.

It turns out the animal is a sable, or some other type of marten. Martens are described as large, carnivorous relatives of the weasel family. Who knew that there were large carnivorous weasels in the world, or that you could shave them and make nice soft yarn?

Ingrid
01-06-2007, 12:26 PM
Somehow I doubt they'd shave a weasel and dye it white and blue. :teehee: It's probably a symbol for how soft the yarn is supposed to be.

Calamintha
01-06-2007, 07:14 PM
Given the part of the world it could also be a mongoose or civet cat, something like that. But I am betting that it is just a logo rather than meaning the actual yarn is spun from the coat of such an animal.

joe_doufu
01-06-2007, 10:31 PM
It does, on closer inspection, seem to be 93% imported sheep wool, and 7% "仿貂" wool, which may be "imitation sable" or "an animal like sable". Well, I'll keep looking around for exotic yarns while I'm here. I'm curious about the string that's supposed to come from a bird. I also saw another brand of "diao" wool which might have some of the real stuff. I guess the price would tell me if it's real. It's hard to believe what you can get in China sometimes. I'll keep an eye out for panda wool.

five_six
01-07-2007, 12:03 AM
I'll keep an eye out for panda wool.

:shock: