Posted on September 29 2015
There are a multitude of extraordinary natural fibers. Many are recognized in our daily use and vocabulary, however many unusual varieties are often overlooked.
WoolWool is the protein fiber that grows on animals. We are most familiar with Merino wool, however there are over 1000 breeds of sheep worldwide! Additionally, wool comes from many other sources.
- CAMEL hair comes from the camel.
- VICUNA is from a llama.
- ALPACA wool comes from an alpaca, related to the llama.
- QIVIUT fiber is from the musk ox.
- MOHAIR and CASHMERE are from goats.
- ANGORA can be from a goat or a rabbit.
- HORSEHAIR has been woven into textiles for over 100 years.
- DOGHAIR was used in Native American Textiles in the mid 1800’s.
- We even weave with BISON and YAK fibers!
SilkSilk, the continuous fiber that is the cocoon spun by the silkworm feeding on Mulberry leaves!
CottonDid you know that there are many types of COTTON? To name just a few, varieties include Sea Island, Egyptian, Upland and Adriatic. Most unusual is BOG COTTON, or Cottongrass. It is a wide spread flowering sedge that grows in bogs and peaty conditions. Though it is not used for commercial processing the soft fronds were once used to stuff pillows. https://www.virtualheb.co.uk/bog-cotton-white-wildflowers-western-isles/
LinenFrom the Flax plant, Linen is the woody fiber harvested from the inner bark or bast surrounding the stem. Other fibers of this type (referred to as Bast Fibers) include: Jute, Ramie, Sisal, Kenaf, Nettles, and Hemp. Nature has provided us with natural resources that amaze.
BambooA cellulose fiber that has many properties that make it suitable for clothing and interior textiles.
EucalyptusWood pulp can be converted for use in textiles.
SoysilkFiber is made from the residue of soybeans from the manufacture of tofu.
ByssusIt’s a Marine Textile made from the filaments that attach clams and mussels to the seabed! It’s called Sea Silk!
SeacellAnother marine textile, is manufactured by combining cellulose with seaweed!
FruitsThere’s more! Fruits are an abundant source of plant fiber cellulose.
- COIR is from the husk of coconuts. The fiber is used in floor mats, doormats, and brushes. It is 100% biodegradeable. It is also a growing medium for agricultural use.
- BANANA silk comes from the bark of the banana tree. The cellulose fibers are spun into yarns. PINEAPPLE fibers weave into Pineapple cloth.
- TAPA cloth is from the bark of mulberry. It is not spun. The bark is pounded into a fabric.
- SISAL is the fiber of the Agave plant. It is used for paper, cord, twine, washcloths, and spa products.