Milk yarn…(Picking up where I left off in Part 1 of this article) is likely to be or become one of the highly sought after yarns.
Milk yarn Fitting in with the bio-synthetics, milk yarn is made by dehydrating and skimming the milk, then extracting the proteins. The proteins can then be liquidized and spun.
Milk yarn sports a nice luster, has a luxurious feel like silk and mixes some of the great properties of natural fibers with benefits of synthetics. It produces a strong fiber that is eco-friendly and feels great next to the skin making it a natural for camisoles, tops, loungewear and clothes for children. Milk proteins and humectant properties likely makes it good for the skin. (I’ve read that it may reduce wrinkles…now wouldn’t that be something??) It blends well with other fibers such as soy, tencel, cotton and bamboo.
Brands/Where to buy? Both Kollage and Rowan offer milk yarn. As mentioned in part 1, it was the Kollage Milky Whey milk and soy (50/50) blend that inspired this article. They also offer Creamy, a milk/cotton (80/20) blend. Rowan offers Fine Milk Cotton, a cotton/milk blend (70/30) and Milk Cotton DK, also a 70/30 cotton/milk blend. If your LYS doesn’t have milk in stock, I was able to find both of these brands and a couple more at WEBS.
Rayon, tencel and viscose are all produced from wood pulp. Go figure. Cotton lintels and other vegetable material can also be used to produce rayon. Rayon is a very large group however, with many variations. Typically soft and lustrous, rayon can be used to produced everything from under to outer garments. Some in fact, have fire retardant properties.
Tencel rayon (commonly referred to simply as ‘tencel’) is very soft, has a nice drape and usually produces a mid-weight fabric so often seen in slacks or jackets.
Viscose rayon (again, commonly referred to simply as ‘viscose’) is the most common type of rayon. It also has a nice drape, is silky and lends itself nicely to camisoles, slips, and garment linings.
Brands/Where to buy? Unlike many of the ‘newer’ fibers covered in this article, rayon has been around a lot longer and is easily found at your LYS. Most of the major manufacturers offer yarns that are made up of some percentage of rayon. I was able to find a great representation of rayon, viscose and tencel (and modal) at WEBS and at the Yarn Barn. (Modal is similarly produced from Beech trees and has an added absorbent property.)
SeaCell® is a cellulosic fiber produced from seaweed. Yes, from seaweed. It has antimicrobial properties (helps to resist odors), terrific shimmer and drape, making it a great choice for summer tops. Manufacturers claim that it is good for the skin as it helps to activate collagen (I wonder). It should be great in a blend for socks as well due to the strength (and antimicrobial) properties of the fiber.
Brands/Where to buy? Fibra Natura offers aptly named Mermaid, and Hand Maiden has several to choose from; a sea silk, wool blend and a DK weight. These brands can be found on WEBS and the Yarn Market as well.
and last, but by all means not least,
Soy You’ve probably all seen soy on yarn labels by now. Like bamboo, it has become very popular lately partially due to it’s being so eco-friendly and environmentally conscientious. Soy yarn is produced from okara which is the waste product from making Tofu, soybean milk, and soybean oil. Interestingly, it isn’t really that “new”. I found a reference to Henry Ford’s use in making car seat covers. (again, go figure!)
Soy has a silk-like luster, and strength (stronger than wool or cotton), breathes well and according to manufacturers, is good for the skin as it is said to activate collagen (???). Soy contains antibacterial properties as well which would make it a good choice for children.
Soy is fairly easy to find. Most major manufacturers offer soy and/or soy blends for you to choose from and they are readily available at the online stores if you don’t have any luck at your LYS.
and that brings me to the end of the list that I started in Part 1 of this article. What do you think? Was this article helpful or useful for you? Leave a comment and let us know if you you’ve had any experiences with these fibers…good or bad. Perhaps we’ll all learn something new.