The Fiber Files

An investigative spinning podcast. The fiber is out there.

Episode 4 Delayed

March8

Hey Agents!

I’m afraid that episode 4 will be delayed until my voice finds its way back to me. Looks as if an evening hanging out with sheep did me in.  I have a great interview from two people who have worked hard to bring the Navajo Churro breed numbers back into the thousands.  Here’s a little sneak preview until I can chat with you about them.

Navajo Churro Rams

posted under Blog Entry | 3 Comments »

Episode 3 – Bamboo: Green or Not?

February22

News:

Santa Fe trip – Favorite places
Horseman’s Haven
Tragedy Strikes – Forgotten Yarn

What’s on the Wheel

Sadly nothing new due to forgotten fiber on vacation
Knitting – a trio of dishcloths for Grandma Molly
Mobius Wrap in Terra by The Fibre Company in the colorway Henna
Cat Bordhi is a genius!

Desperate Longing

Wrapped in Fire batt from Bohoknitterchic Etsy Shop

Prime Investigation:

Bamboo: Green or Not? a suggestion from PippensNaNa on Ravelry
Bamboo is:
  • a grass and not a tree
  • found in diverse climates, from cold mountains to hot  regions
  • bamboo just might be the world’s most sustainable resource
  • It is the fastest growing grass and can grow a yard or more a day
  • Bamboo is ready for harvesting in about 4 years
  • Bamboo does not require replanting after harvesting because its vast root network continually sprouts new shoots
  • bamboo does this the natural way without the need for pesticides and fertilizers
Processing for Fiber
  • two methods by which bamboo may be processed into fiber for fabric, both developed in China.
    • mechanical process similar to that used to process flax or hemp; the stalks are crushed and natural enzymes break them down further, allowing fibers to be combed out
    • process by which rayon is made where the fibers are broken down with chemicals and extruded through mechanical spinnerets
  • Chemical processing
    • Traditional
      • “cooking” the bamboo leaves and woody shoots in strong chemical solvents such as sodium hydroxide (NaOH – also known as caustic soda or lye) and carbon disulfide in a process also known as hydrolysis alkalization combined with multi-phase bleaching
      • This is basically the same process used to make rayon from wood or cotton waste byproducts. Because of the potential health risks and damage to the environment surrounding the manufacturing facilities, textile manufacturing processes for bamboo or other regenerated fibers using hydrolysis alkalization with multi-phase bleaching are not considered sustainable or environmentally supportable.
      • the Canadian Competition Bureau and the US Federal Trade Commission, as of mid-2009, are cracking down on the practice of labeling bamboo rayon as natural bamboo fabric. Under the guidelines of both agencies these products must be labeled as rayon with the optional qualifier “from bamboo”
    • Lyocell Process
      • The lyocell process, also used to manufacture TENCEL®, uses Amine oxides.
      • Lyocell processing is substantially healthier and more eco-friendly because the amine oxides are reported to be non-toxic to humans
      • The chemical manufacturing processes are closed-loop so 99.5% of the chemicals used during the processing are captured and recycled to be used again
      • Only trace amounts escape into the atmosphere or into waste waters and waste products.

Contest Winner

The Winner of Episode #1’s Contest for the Wild Fibers Magazine is:  Peacecat30 from a comment left on the show notes blog.  She would like to hear more about cormo in the future. This April I’m heading home in Montana and hope to interview a few ranchers that I know that raise cormos.  We should get some great insights to the breed and fiber.
Thanks for listening and commenting.  I really love the positive feedback.  Thanks also to those leaving ratings and comments on iTunes.  This helps others looking for spinning and fiber podcasts find The Fiber Files.

References:

Wikipedia for bamboo background
posted under Show Notes | 2 Comments »

My Charming Co-Host

February18

For those who would like to see my lovely co-host, Yuki, I’ve caught her taking a bit of a catnap.  She is a wonderful kitty but loves to sleep on tables.

posted under Blog Entry | 2 Comments »

Episode 2 – Clun Forest

February8

News


RMNCSA meeting

What’s on the Wheel?

Willow – Jacob fleece – Owlhead Farms
Three Bags Full 2009 Roving available at Carolina Homespun
Hand Processing using St. Blaise Combs – Paca – CVM Silver Grey fleece – Windy Hill Farms

Desperate Longing

Baxter the Ram fleece from Sheepfeathers Farm
Darkness batts from Corgi Hill Farms

Prime Investigation

Clun Forest
Down wool breed with a long history
Ancient breed from south Britain and Welsh forests
Underwent “improvement” as many breeds did in the 18th century to become the breed we know today.
A very important sheep in Britain for meat production, milk and cheese, as well as fiber.
Entered the US in 1970 with Tony Turner and later Angus Rouse in Canada
Breed Characteristics
Very good mothers with easy lambing and lots of milk
Good foragers on grassland alone
Very responsive sheep that handles well
Long lived ewes that continue to produce
Consistent, easy to spin fleece that is always white
The Wool:
The sheep have dark brown faces and legs with a white fleece that should be free of kemp and color.
Medium sized fleeces that are not greasy or sticky.
Locks are blunt ended with little to no taper.
Staple length of around 2.5 to 4 inches long with a disorganized crimp characteristic of down breeds
The wool is highly elastic and fairly soft with a Bradford count of 56-58 and a micron count of 25-28um.
Best prep is a woolen style such as carding.  Locks can also be flicked and spun directly.
When spun it is very springy and loves to be spun woolen.  Of course spinning style is the spinner’s choice and can be done as worsted if desired.
Clun Forest is especially good for socks, mittens, and gloves.
Interview of Mary Gloster of Rocky Top Farms
References:
In Sheep’s Clothing: A Handspinner’s Guide to Wool by Nola and Jane Fournier
Fiber Basics: Clun Forest, Carol Huebshcer Rhoades in Interweave Spin Off Spring 2009
posted under Show Notes | 1 Comment »

Episode 2 Coming!

February4

I just finished recording Episode 2 and plan on releasing it on Monday February 8.  My hope for all future episodes is a release every other Monday.  I do apologize for my congested voice in Episode 2.  I came down with a wicked cold that put me down for a few days.  I’m dedicated to getting the podcast out on schedule so I hope you can forgive sniffly me.

Here’s a little spinning treat for all those wanting to see what’s on the wheel.  May I present TARDIS by Corgi Hill Farms?

Talk to you on Monday!

posted under Blog Entry | 1 Comment »

Episode 1 – Introductions

January24

Fiber Files – Show Notes – Episode 1

Introductions

Spinning for 4 years
Grew up on a farm in northeastern Montana
Raised sheep – Suffolk/Dorset/Cheviot cross as well as cattle – Hereford/Angus/Scottish Highland cross

What’s on the Wheel?

LuLu – a CVM/Corridale moorit lamb’s fleece blended with silk – Sheepfeather’s Farm
Processed at Spinderella’s
Willow – Jacob fleece – Owlhead Farms
Hand Processing using St. Blaise Combs – Paca – CVM Silver Grey fleece – Windy Hill Farms

Desperate Longing

Serendipity’s Fantasy Fiber Club Offerings, especially Phoenix!

Prime Investigation: Wool Types

Fine Wools:

This is any wool with a micron count of 18 – 24 or a Bradford Count of less than 64.

Micron Definition: Unit of measure like a centimeter or inch. This is actually a micrometer = 1,000,000th of a centimeter.

Bradford Definition:The Bradford system (also known as the English Worsted Yarn Count System or spinning count or Bradford count) is a way to assess the quality of wool.

English wool handlers in the city of Bradford described wool by estimating (with experienced eyes) how many 560-yard hanks of single strand yarn could be made by a good spinner from a pound of “top.” (Top is cleaned combed wool with the fibers all parallel) The finer the average diameter of a single wool fiber, the more hanks could be spun. From a pound of “64s,” for example, sixty-four such hanks could be made (more than 20 miles!). From the finest wools, more than 80 hanks could be spun; from the strongest, perhaps 36 or fewer. Using ranges denoted by the stronger end (that is “44s” ran up to “46s”) wool lots were classified and prices derived.

Examples: Merino, Rambouillet, Cormo

Characteristics: Low micron count / high Bradford count.  Tight crimp and short blocky staples.  Oft times very greasy fleeces.  Felts easily.

Uses:  Next to the skin garments.

Down Wools:

Micron counts of low 20’s to low 30’s.
Characteristics:  Spiral crimp in an unorganized crimp.  The staples are very springy and crisp with a dull luster.  Sometimes considered chalky in appearance.  Most down wools will not wet felt but will needle felt.
Examples: Clun Forest, Suffolk, Cheviot
Uses:  Outerwear, sweaters and socks.

Long Wools:

Long wool sheep produce long stapled wool with a large fiber diameter, usually greater than 30 microns.
Characteristics: Loose, wavy crimp. Some staples are 8-12″ long.  Very high luster.
Examples:  Border Leicester, Wensleydale, Teeswater
Uses:  Outerwear, carpets
posted under Show Notes | 5 Comments »

Coming Soon!

January19

The Fiber Files is coming soon!