Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Wahoo Bamboo!

Yarn made from bamboo is the chenille of the 21st century:) Very un-technically speaking, bamboo is chopped up and placed in a solvent. Once in a viscous state, it is extruded (like pasta). If you haven't felt bamboo yarn or fabric, you will be totally amazed. I have yet to find anyone who could guess the fiber unless of course they already had experienced bamboo. It feels like silk, fine wool, and cotton all rolled into one. It takes dye beautifully and seems to wear well. I have been road-testing a horoscope/ikat shawl which is holding up just fine. The colored yarn here is from Silk City, and the ikat-dyed stripes are from Habu. I will go into greater detail if anyone asks.

This warp is two horoscopes side by side with ikat bands placed at regular intervals. I will have more bamboo examples in my web gallery as soon as I can remember my password. I have been wracking my brain, but my brain refuses to be wracked.

I have been working with bamboo for a couple of years now, so I am building a wonderful set of samples. Too bad you can't see them yet, but stay tuned. The best is yet to come.


Unknown said...


I am contacting you from a student run organization at the university of Nottingham called Enactus. We aim to set up businesses, opposed to charity in underprivileged areas both in the UK and internationally, and over the years have had many hugely successful projects.

I am a member of a team currently working to teach a rural community in Malaysia how to turn bamboo into bamboo fabric fibers, and then to weave them into fabric that can be sold wholesale. We are currently trying to compile as much information as possible about turning bamboo roving into yarn, and from then spinning the yarn. We would really appreciate any information you can offer us, particularly how long it takes you to weave a meter of bamboo fabric, if you can dye it after it has been woven, what equipment you use to weave bamboo.

Please contact me via email at ceregardsoe@gmail.co.uk or if you prefer you can message my groups email; malaysia.project@enactusnottingham.com.uk

Thank you for your time
Connie Regardsoe
Enactus Nottingham

Bonnie said...

Hi Connie, I tried to email you with the 2 addresses you sent and they both bounced back. Here is what I wrote

The bamboo yarn that I use is really this: (copied from Wikipedia).
Manufacture of bamboo viscose
See also: Rayon: Production method
Cellulose from bamboo is suitable for processing into viscose rayon.[3] Bamboo leaves and the soft, inner pith from the hard bamboo trunk are extracted using a steaming process and then mechanically crushed.
Viscose manufactured from bamboo is promoted as having environmental advantages over wood-pulp viscose. Bamboo crops may be grown on marginal land unsuitable for forestry; although demand for bamboo has sometimes led to felling of forests to plant bamboo, this has become less common since Chinese forestry policy reforms in the 1990s.[4] The viscose processing results in the same chemical waste products as wood-pulp viscose, notably carbon disulfide, but bamboo cellulose is suitable for a closed-loop viscose p I do no spinning or dyeing myself and purchase my yarn from a company called Silk City. Once I discovered how their bamboo yarn was made, I began to move away from using it. rocess that captures all solvents used.[4]
----------------------------------------------------------------------I do no spinning or dyeing myself and purchase my yarn from a company called Silk City. Once I discovered how their bamboo yarn was made, I began to move away from using it. I don’t think that I can help you. The company calls their yarn Bambu. It is a great marketing ploy and sounds so much better than Rayon (which is what it really is)
Sorry I can’t be of more help.

Unknown said...

Thanks for your reply, I'm sorry about the emails, I will look into that. I'm aware of the problems with bamboo fabric, I was very disappointed when I discovered how similar the method for production is to rayon and the negative effects on the environment it has despite being marketed as an environmentally product.

However with this project we have been working with our Universities chemistry department and have found and way to manufacture the fibers in an environmentally friendly way. Our next steps are learning how to effectively weave the fabric, and after seeing your blog I feel you would have expertise on this, even if you no longer practice weaving bamboo fibers. Therefore myself and my team would really appreciate it if you could pass on some information. We would really like to know how long it too you to weave say 1m squared of fabric, and also what kind of loom you used.

Thanks for your time, hope to hear from you!