Flying Fox Studio

Just comments about my art, kids, animals and the eccentricity of it all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Spinning milk fiber.

At the yarn store the little bag of milk fiber was irresistible. Beautiful pearly white, high luster, fine and silky, it was just gorgeous, and obviously I bought it.  
Milk fiber is touted as a environmentally favorable fiber but I don't think it is since it takes nearly 100 gallons of milk to make a pound of fiber. Seems to me that is an awful lot of cow for a tiny bit of fiber.
  To make a long complicated story short, the milk is dried the protein or casein removed ( casein is also used in making artists paints by the way) then it is bonded with acryilate or acrylic at a molecular level.  It is extruded through spinnerets, think spiders extruding spider silk and then used in the textile industry.  The raw fibers are beautiful and quite frankly a bitch to spin.
 Since I spin solely on a  spindle I found the slick fibers to be obnoxious to say the least, maybe if spun on a wheel it would be easier to hang on to.  Though I can spin very fine fibers like silk (which I love) and Merino (which I love more) these fibers had no "grab" and were difficult to attenuate, they tended to drift apart and because of the fineness were prone to breaking if the spindle was the least bit overloaded.
 But I kept at it, though there was much swearing involved, until I had over five hundred yards of very fine, almost thread like singles yarn.  This afternoon I dyed the damnable stuff with acid dyes since  milk fiber is protein based.  It is a very slick fiber but I think it's biggest drawback is it is NOT WOOL.    Anything that is NOT WOOL is probably not worth messing with.
 After it dried I really liked the color though the thread is so fine it does not show the luster well.
 This last photo is a bit washed out, but it is wound on an old cone and ready for lace knitting.  I will show you the finished project,eventually.  Its a matter of deciding what lace pattern to work with.

For the very last photo, Benjamin Button our sweet bird, wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and encourages Ham. Or Beef. Preferably pie of some sort.


  1. The yarn is a beautiful color and I'm glad that Benjamin is safe and sound!

  2. I was having a lot of trouble with the milk fiber coming apart on a drop spindle, too, and was about to give up on it and relegate it to blending with other fibers, but then I acquired a tahkli. Problem solved!! (Any support spindle would probably do just as well.) I spun a super fine single on the tahkli and Andean plied it on a very light drop spindle and it came out beautifully. Love how the yarn feels and can't wait to crochet or knit it into a Peter Pan collar or something for my neck. This stuff definitely belongs next to the skin.