View Full Version : Fibres

05-08-2008, 12:00 AM
I have been itching to harvest my own fibres....

I have been combing my puppy out for fur...and one day (about 6 garbage bags full) I may have enough for a sweater!

However...I have been interesting in growing plants for fibre...

Does anyone know of a good place to learn how to extract fibre from plant material?

05-08-2008, 12:21 PM
It depends on the plant, I think. What are you considering?

05-08-2008, 04:07 PM
Funny enough...Corn....mainly cause I am trying it in the backyard this year. And it isn't illegal to grow...and I can try it out on a small scale....and I saw I link to 100% corn wool recently...and thought I might try it....

05-09-2008, 09:50 AM
This is about yarn made from bamboo fibers but I imagine it would be similar to what they do to make corn yarn (further down the website they have the same blurb listed on how they make soy yarns as well)

"How is BAMBOO fiber manufactured?
BAMBOO brand fiber is manufactured using new, cutting edge bioengineering technologies. It is produced by softening the bamboo fibers into a "batter". Then the fiber is produced by wet-spinning and stabilized by acetylating, and is then cut into short staples after curling and thermoforming"

Taken from http://louet.com/fibers/soysilk.shtml

05-09-2008, 10:43 AM
As Katie indicates, you can't just spin plant fibers and knit them; it takes some high-tech processing. Flax might be one of the simplest, but it still involves massive amounts of soaking, beating and chemical treatment. It might be fun to try spinning corn silk or corn husks right off the cob, but then you'd have to contend with the rot factor.

Have you thought about silkworms? Here's an interesting article on raising them and -- should this be an issue for you -- the cocoons are boiled and spun after the moths emerge. (I wouldn't swear to it, but I don't think silk moths would eat your stash.) You do need to have lots of mulberry trees available, though. www.aurorasilk.com

05-09-2008, 01:31 PM
They haven't developed pods yet, but around Aug, when the milkweed pods split, you can collect and spin the fluff with no prep.

05-09-2008, 09:40 PM
You don't want to grow bamboo. It will take over your neighborhood!

05-09-2008, 10:57 PM
They haven't developed pods yet, but around Aug, when the milkweed pods split, you can collect and spin the fluff with no prep.

Really?? I always wondered about that

05-09-2008, 10:58 PM
Yeah...I hear ya....but I do want to try something on a small scale. I can't believe all fibres require chemical treatment...do they??

Ppl have been using plant fibres for a long time before there was industry...

05-10-2008, 09:28 AM
I think fibers like corn and bamboo do require chemical intervention to alter the fibers into something soft and spinnable. Even the process of turning flax into linen is long and drawn out, and very manually intensive, even though it's been done for centuries. The only fiber off the top of my head (besides the milkweed already mentioned) that doesn't might be cotton, and then you've still got to pick out all the seeds in it.

05-10-2008, 09:42 AM
And you need a lot of room to grow enough cotton to have enough to do anything with it.

05-10-2008, 10:28 AM
Check your library to see if they have a copy of No Sheep For You by Amy Singer. The book doesn't give details on getting knittable yarn from plant fiber, but does give a brief history and background on the main plant fibers, hemp, cotton, linen, and flax.
Cotton would probably be the easiest as cleaning the seeds and debris would leave you with material almost ready to card and prepare for spinning.
What little info the book has on the other plants requires multiple steps and processes to get usable fiber to spin.
According to the book other plant fibers require a lab in order to go through the chemical processes to produce a spinnable fiber some of which is classified as rayon. The processes used to create yarn fiber from corn, soy and other plants are corporate secrets.

05-10-2008, 04:38 PM
Thanks...this is all really good to know....

We have lots of milkweed down by a creek by my house....I can at the very least this summer...go and collect some seeds...

I might even be able to grab enough pods to just start on something...

Thank you everyone!