Bamboo – Tiger Club July 2012

For July, I wanted to send a ‘cool’ fiber, which in turn inspired the color…..presenting: ‘Bamboo’!

Bamboo shapes

A favorite around here, Panda sock yarn contains 30% Bamboo in the form of rayon. I dyed it in four shades of green, allowing overlap for bonus shades to occur.
Bamboo on Panda - July 2012 Tiger Club

Our fiber is new one. In the past, I have dyed the Bamboo rayon, but this time I wanted to try the real thing. Bast Bamboo top is made straight from the bamboo plant, and is similar to flax and hemp fibers. I got out my old friends, the MX dyes, and went work.
Bamboo on Bast Bamboo - July 2012 Tiger Club

And you may be saying to yourself….what do I do with this? Due to the nature of this fiber, it comes with homework. (Yes, I hear your groans.) See the bedraggled bit, yeah….yours looks like that.
Bast Bamboo

And you need it to look smooth and shiny. You’ll need to snap it…..take a firm hold of the top with both hands, leaving about 3-4 inches between your hands, and alternately push the fiber together and snap it straight. Once that bit looks smooth, move your hands down and repeat. In no time, it’ll look great. One caveat, once it is fluffed out smooth again, the top can be prone to falling apart if you grab the end, and it will want to snag on things (hence why I sent it still compacted), so I only suggest prepping what you are ready to spin.

Before and After Bast Bamboo

Now for the spinning. I spun some of this undyed and then dyed to get a feel for if my dyeing technique was doing any permanent damage to the prep. I have to say, I had equal success with them. If you have only ever spun wool fibers, you may feel like a beginner again with this bast fiber. It seems to either like to stick together in one huge clump, or slip apart too much and too fast. I found it easiest to deal with if I split the fiber down, so I was just drafting from a skinny amount.
Spun Bast Bamboo
I kept my hands far apart, was careful to keep the twist out of the fiber, and drew forward only about half a staple length so as not to thin the fiber too much. It was still tricky, and on my next bit I’m going to try predrafting the already split fiber. The undyed fiber was spun and plied on the spindle shown, the green fiber was spun and plied on my Hansen miniSpinner.
Spun Bast Bamboo detail.

I hope you enjoy this new cool fiber. It is reported to get softer and softer with washing and use, just like linen. It also retains the antibacterial properties of bamboo, so would be great for kitchen linens. Please come share your experiences with other clubbers on Ravelry.

Not in Tiger Club and want to be? The club is full at the moment, and it will open next on September 1st.

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