About Recycled Fibers
Recycled fibers are essentially crushed and broken down into a pulp (think of paper-making), then regenerated into filaments a la synthetic fibers. Recycled fibers like bamboo (viscose), soy, rayon, tencel, and seacell tend to have a sleek, silky texture with lots of strength. They're a great substitute for silk -- both on their own and as card-ins with other fibers. One caveat: some recycled fibers, like corn and banana, are biodegradable -- meaning they will start to decompose into dust if you don't care for your textiles. (Really wish I hadn't found that out the hard way! But, now you won't have to.)
Allison's Tips for Spinning Bamboo and Tencel
Trick #1 will help you learn to love spinning recycled fibers:
Spin from the fold.I often see bamboo described as "slippery," but personally, I would call regenerated fibers "sticky." The fibers love globbing together, and spinning from the fold helps ameliorate that -- giving you more control over your draft.
Spin. Faster.If you don't want those sleek, silky fibers falling apart, you're going to need more spin! Increase the uptake on your wheel, use a high-whorl ratio, and do what you gotta do to spin faster. Maybe, pretend like it's cotton.
Blogs about Spinning Recycled Fibers
A roundup of some great tips and experiences!
- Paivi Suomi, Spin Flora - Bamboo Top and Staple (All Fiber Arts, 2017 February 13)
- Paivi Suomi, Spin Flora - Rose Fibre (All Fiber Arts, 2017 January 30)
- Paivi Suomi, Spin Flora - Banana Fibre (All Fiber Arts, 2017 January 29)
- Deb Garish, Closet Full of WHAT??: Spinning Bamboo & Dyeing Tencel (Interweave, 2017 March 30)
Where To Buy Recycled Spinning Fiber
A curated list of indie vendors and artists offering up synthetic spinning fibers: