Tag Archives: bamboo

April/May 2011 Stash Peek

As usual, it’s the end of April, and I find myself a lying liar with three new yarns to share with you. Actually, I’d recommend not looking in my stash on Ravelry, because you will see a LOT more than three new yarns. I know! I’m so ashamed. 😉 And, since I missed my April deadline and this is now May, I’m going to lump these two months together and share four different yarns with all of you.

The first yarn I want to talk about is Black Trillium Fibre Studio‘s gorgeous Trinity Sock in Herbs and Spices. This yarn is an absolutely divine blend of merino, nylon and cashmere, and when I saw this one-of-a-kind colorway in her shop in April during her blowout Twitter sale, I knew it had to come home with me. There’s a reason that Black Trillium has over 1,2,00 sales in her Etsy shop – she’s doing an amazing job. Her colors are rich and lush and have that particular semi-solid appeal with subtle hue variations that create pops of unexpected color without pooling. In essence, the perfect sock yarn.

Black Trillium Fibre Studio Trinity Sock

The second yarn I got this month came to me through an unexpected means – a competition over at the Fairmount Fibers blog. Fairmount Fibers is the distributor of Manos del Uruguay’s yarns and patterns, and they were having a colorway name contest. I said their pink colorway reminded me of Cherry Blossoms, and they picked me! Here are all of the new colorways and their names:

Manos del Uruguay Spring 2011 Colorway Contest, courtesy Fairmount Fibers, Ltd.

My prize for being one of the winning colorway namers was my choice of a skein of yarn, and boy did that thrill me. A you well know, my love affair with Manos yarns is unparalleled, so a free skein Wool Clasica made me feel yippy-skippy-dee-do. I decided to go with a color I haven’t had the chance to try yet, Mermaid, and OH MY LORD I did not choose wrong. Just look at this gorgeousness. I want to paper my walls with pictures of Manos.

Manos del Uruguary Wool Clasica in Mermaid

Next up is a yarn I found in a sweet little destash for a song. Castle Fibers Castle’s Royal Sock is nice and squishy, but what really shines here are the colors. I don’t know what it is, but once it started turning spring-like outside, I got this weird craving for greens with shots of pretty rosebud pink in them. Green and pink, green and pink, green and pink. I’m sure by June I’ll be f-ing tired of green and pink, but for now, I cannot get enough of it. I’m even wearing pink right now!

Er, anyways, I’ve found that the Castle Fibers dye job of this Central Park colorway is really lovely – the variety of tonal qualities in her greens range from chartreuse to emerald to hunter, with the pink shades adding that bright variety I’m in love with. The dyer currently doesn’t seem to be selling her yarns in her shop on Etsy, so I’d check out some destashes on Ravelry if you are interested in trying her yarns out.

Castle Fibers Castle's Royal Sock

My last yarn just arrived yesterday, and opening up my package from Maiden Yarn and Fiber was like unwrapping the best treat all spring. Considering how many yarns slip through my fingers, I was beyond impressed with her presentation. She shipped my stuff Priority and outer box was all cute and wrapped by this packaging supply place so it said “Packed for you by…” To top it off, inside, the yarn and fiber I had ordered from her was carefully wrapped in white tissue paper, with a single ribbon of navy blue artistically twining around it. In the center of the ribbon, a fine cream-colored tag that said “Maiden Yarn and Fiber” was mounted on a rich, crepe-like navy blue card. The effect made my jaw drop. And that was just the wrapping!

Her yarns, on the other hand, leaves you breathless. I purchased some Hand Dyed Meriboo from her with the enticing name of “Sea Glass.” And oh boy, this yarn is glorious. It’s a delicious blend of ocean blues and algae greens with shots of seaweed-colored browns for contrast. I eyed this yarn for weeks before succumbing to it’s siren call.

Maiden Yarn and Fiber Hand Dyed Meriboo in Sea Glass

Ok, I lied again. I want to share one more yarn with all of you. This may seem an odd choice, because it’s just one solid color and it’s not especially different or exciting, but it’s near and dear to my heart. I have finally gotten my hands on a skein of Ella Rae Bamboo Silk and I’m tickled green. This yarn belonged to my friend knittingale, and I coveted it like the green-eyed monster I am. A couple of years ago we’d both gotten prizes in a swap we were playing in, and while my prize was some random yarn of which I neither liked the color or base, while hers was this gorgeous, lush, grass green silk yarn that absolutely killed me.

Well, guess who got lucky! My friend swapped me the skein finally, and I know just how I’m going to use it. It’s going to be the most perfect Ruched Sleep Eye Mask ever. I am going to The National NeedleArts Association (TNNA) for work this summer, and my beloved original sleep mask is sort of grody and not appropriate for showing off in public. Yes, even in a hotel room. So I’m going to make myself a new mask. This yarn will be perfect for the mask – I can tell just by feeling it, because it has a nice weight and smoothness from the bamboo, and the silk keeps it from being too slinky. Yummy.

Ok, thanks for letting me share with you during this combined spring “stash peek” session! I’ll be back in June for more yarny goodness and fun, I’m certain.


Let’s talk about … SeaCell

So, I’ve been suspicious for a while now about yarn made from “seacell,” mainly because everyone claims it has magical mystical properties and that the yarn smells like seaweed and blah blah blah. It doesn’t smell different to me and I think it feels a little bit like rayon. So, I looked it up.

I found out a lot with a little hardcore Googling. For example, on the SweetGeorgiaYarns blog, Felicia Lo summarizes Seacell neatly by saying that it’s “a new fibre made from seaweed via the Lyocell process. It’s the same process used to make Tencel, Bamboo, Viscose Rayon, and other cellulose fibres.”

She added a nice little link to SmartFiberAG, which produces the fiber, where in their company profile (unevenly translated from the German by an automated translator service) an interesting line jumped out:

The SeaCell® fiber of smartfiber is based on the Lyocell-System, which contains skin protective and anti-inflammatory seaweed as additive.

I was confused by the phrase “as additive” since I had been told repeatedly that seacell, unlike rayon and tencel, which are made from wood pulp, is made from seaweed, or kelp. I wondered if it was an error.

I delved deeper into Google’s mainframe and found the website of a spinning plant that apparently makes the seacell, and they described the process more in-depth.

The SeaCell® fiber was ground from natural seaweed, become less than micron granule, then add its powder into wood-cellulose NMMO solution … By way of Lyocell manufacturing process, turn into what seaweed element and cellulose form the SeaCell® fiber.

Another website, an English-speaking sleepwear company this time, backs up that statement by explaining in vaguer terms that:

A cellulose-based fiber is manufactured using the so-called Lyocell process. This Lyocell fiber then serves as the “functioning substrate” for the seaweed. Seaweed is added as the active substance.

So, is how much seaweed is actually in seacell?  It sounds, from these sources I’ve culled through for information, that it’s mostly wood-cellulose fiber, akin to rayon, tencel or bamboo, that has had grains of seaweed sprinkled into the mixture while it was still in its chemically liquefied form. According to the The Knitters’ Book of Yarn, the additive of seaweed that is put into the cellulose fiber during its Lyocell process is five percent.

So, the seaweed is five percent, but if you add seacell fiber to something like, for example, sea silk, then the percentage for the yarn overall is different. So, I found my handy dandy calculator and did the math. In one skein of Handmaiden Sea Silk, which is 70 percent silk and 30 percent seacell, the actual amount of seaweed in the blended fiber is .015, or, 1.5 percent. So, there’s a little over one percent of seaweed in each skein of Sea Silk. This one percent of seaweed makes me highly doubt all of the advertising pitches about the magical, mystical qualities of seacell, such as the “healthy sea minerals” that get absorbed by your skin when you where something made of it. Please.

Also, and this may be a totally different vein, but is there that big of a difference between the different cellulose-based fibers made by these chemical processes? I’ve found several websites like this one that say that “rayon” is the generic term for fiber, yarn and fabric manufactured from “regenerated cellulose” by any one of the six processes that are currently being used today, which includes the Lyocell process. This sort of thing makes me wonder if we are all buying different marketing ploys, and that bamboo is rayon is tencel is seacell is viscose is corn, etc.