Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Basket of Fiber

A couple of weeks ago a friend had contacted me to stop by her place to pick up something she had gotten me at an auction. Since schedules where not working out she had dropped what she had for me at my in-laws and I picked it up there. What it turned out to be was a large basket of fiber. She was telling me about it and wasn’t sure what all was there. Her thinking was wool, linen and maybe some cotton singles. Since she doesn’t spin she didn’t really know the difference or how to figure it all out or at least try to.

When I got the basket home and was able to go through it I found what I hoped to be some really cool treasures. The first think that kind of sucked though was nothing was marked. So I have to do some testing and research to figure out what I had. More testing though which I will explain.

I found a lot of wool some very soft and other not good for wearable’s. All of it but one small amount was cleaned and some was even dyed. What it was dyed with I’ll never know at a guess I would say a synthetic dye. Yet it could have been natural who knows. The natural colors were white, charcoal grey and dark brown. The last one I thought may have been Bison since we do have a farm in the valley but examining it closer I believe it to be wool. The last time I had some Bison in my had, there wasn’t any crimp to it and this does, so will go with wool.

Then I found a bag of mixed bags with small amounts of fiber in them. With in that bag I found what I thought to be silk, angora (bunny), and cotton I found some curly locks that I really don’t know what it is and some more wool. The more testing came at this point I wanted to test some of the fiber to make sure they where natural. So to do that I did the burn test, you take a small amount of fiber and burn it. If it smells like burning hair then there is a good chance it is natural. I say good chance because it could be mixed with a synthetic, so a second test it to place it in a strong alkaline. The reason you do this is all the protein fibers will be dissolved by the alkaline in this case bleach. If there is any synthetic fibers in the mix they would not be touch by the bleach. So after letting the fibers set in the bleach I determined that they where real.

So what I believe to have is a lot of wool of different types, some silk since it is a gold color I will guess and say tussah silk, a small amount of cotton. Some angora and I’m stumped on the curly locks, there not very soft so I really not sure where they came from. The final think that was in the basket was a hand made Lazy Kate. Which also had four home made spools, a cone of rug wool and some hand spun yarn. So all in all it was a really cool gift.