milkweed fluff yarn

milkweed fluff yarn

According to the U.S. Fibers from hemp, flax, dogbane, milkweed and nettle have been used for thousands of years to produce textiles, cordage, netting, etc. "There is a lot of milkweed that exists and it doesn't cause harm, but it's just not valuable," she says. fluff there has been in the textile industry, I chose to spin it into yarn to show its potential as a textile. Rasile first became enamored with milkweed because of its buoyancy. But there are a few reasons to challenge that attitude toward milkweed: One is the crucial role it plays in supporting the lifecycle of monarchs, the iconic orange species of butterfly known for migrating from Canada to Mexico and back again. But in milkweed's case, creating more demand for the plant would be enough to have a positive impact. At the moment, most people treat milkweed as a pest, mowing it down or spraying it with herbicides when it pops up near their fields or by the side of the road. This fabric is so us: We are all about handmade textiles that take forever to make, with loads of fluff and texture! Yarn distributed by Fairmount Fibers. The white, silky fluff attached to milkweed seeds has been found to be six times more buoyant than cork and can provide five times more warmth than wool. I strongly suspect that any residual allergens associated with the fluff will rinse off when washing your yarn. Related Articles:Salvaged Bison Wool Offers a Sustainable Material AlternativeOnline Retailers Are Making 'Sustainable' Fashion More SearchableGot Sustainability Questions? And, for the sheer fun of visiting a site with the name Halfbakery, you might also find this anecdote amusing. But as independent research continues to happen in other places (like that not-to-be-named materials innovation company) and as Rasile and Sullivan communicate their own findings to their peers, they're starting to see more and more industry interest in the material. Another May West jacket made with milkweed. Is there a test of strength or flexibility that would tell you something about its … (Though the chemicals in the plant mean it's not ideal to grow near where livestock will be grazing, she offers as a caveat, it's a great thing to grow close to corn and soy.) There have been attempts to grow milkweed commercially as a down substitute, but so far it hasn't been successful since not all of the plants produced seed pods. Now You Can Ask an Expert. I learned of the technique from a … 1. "They're getting a genetically diverse crop and providing income for economically depressed areas, so that's cool," Rasile says. Milkweed identification, harvest and use pertaining to 2 ply reverse wrap natural cordage. The company later asked not to be named, underscoring how valuable they think this material could become as more people catch on to its desirable qualities. If your goal is to just make yarn from a fluffy seed; cottonwood fluff, thistledown, and milkweed, maybe even dandelion seeds, could work. http://factoidz.com/the-common-milkweed-plant-and-uses-of-the-milkweed-fluff/, Copyright © 2004-2021 Sheep to Shawl, LLC | All rights reserved. "I spun it into yarn and wrapped it around a rock and then realized it could float," she says. A type of thread was made that included the fluffy milkweed silk and this thread was often used to produce soft inner-wear like socks. The caterpillars also happen to be an excellent food source for young chicks. There are a few people trying to farm milkweed as a monocrop in places like Vermont and Quebec, she notes, and that could help make it easier to get the material in bulk, especially if those agriculturalists can figure out how to properly modify farm equipment to harvest milkweed floss specifically. May West gets its milkweed from partners in Nebraska who source it much the same way it was sourced during WWII: by offering to pay community members who gather it wherever they find it growing wild. Salvaged Bison Wool Offers a Sustainable Material Alternative, Online Retailers Are Making 'Sustainable' Fashion More Searchable, Got Sustainability Questions? "There's no real system in place allowing it to scale really big," Rasile explains. Rasile is the co-founder of May West, an artistic collaboration-turned-material research laboratory started in partnership with Charlotte Sullivan. "If we all buy into it together, we could figure out how to scale it.". Rasile is hopeful that if farmers can be convinced to see it as a supplementary cash crop, they'll be more likely to let it grow at the edges of their fields. Honeysuckle and clematis are other lovely flowers that produce fluff useful to birds building nests. Needles Size 5 (3.75 mm): 32” circular (cir). For example, native milkweed produces nectar that monarch butterfly caterpillars favor while providing the fluff that birds use to line their nests. You don't have to make a jacket from scratch, a trainer's jacket with a seam opened will do. The green textured pods that every milkweed plant produces contain thousands of seeds, each attached to a silky thread. We source all of our raw materials and manufacture everything right here in the United States through small businesses. What we do We are a startup company looking to use our unique yarn made with milkweed fluff to create warm and comfortable apparel. Milk weed fluff (silk) as yarn. This preparation is perfect for spinning woolen, fluffy yarn and is easier to spin than cotton sliver. It floats beautifully, shimmers in the sun, it’s soft and light and magical. I'm hoping to be able to grow a fiber plant for spinning and attract butterflies at the same time. In late autumn as the plant is beginning to desiccate, these pods split open and release the seeds, each attached to a fluffy parachute. She's also hopeful that new uses could emerge for other parts of the plant besides the seedpod floss, which could add further value for growers. The common milkweed, Asclepias syriacqa, is one of the best known wild plants in North America.Children love to play with the downy fluff in autumn, while farmers despise it as a tenacious weed of hayfields and pastures. At the moment, May West is still doing material research to thoroughly prove the concept of milkweed's worthiness as a clothing fiber. Reading Time: 7 minutes Milkweed in flower. Despite the fiber's intriguing history, it largely fell out of use after the war and the plant regained its status in the public consciousness as a pesky weed. If you were a kid living east of the Rockies in the early 1940s, there's a decent chance you might have spent some time after school combing roadsides for wild milkweed plants, whose pods you would collect in bags that could be traded for 15 cents when full. A finished milkweed seed jacket might look something like this. I've been wanting to try my hand at getting fibers from milkweed, … Wash or Spray Pods with Water. Add to Favorites . Use a drill to spin the fine silk of the milkweed plant into a yarn that you can use. A jacket made with milkweed batting by May West. With milkweed disappearing and taking the Monarch butterfly with it, there’s no more joyous sight in October than milkweed fluff drifting its way across a field. © 2021 Breaking Media, Inc. All rights reserved. From shop BeaFELT $ 21.80. "It became like, 'this is magic! "It became like, 'this is magic!'". Finished Size: Finished Size 46″ wide and 15 1/2″ deep. I have always been enamored of milkweed fluff. Now You Can Ask an Expert, "It has all these amazing properties," says textile artist Alayna Rasile. As a result of this sourcing setup, scalability is one of the biggest challenges facing May West and other brands that wish to incorporate milkweed floss into their clothing. Fibers from hemp, flax, dogbane, milkweed and nettle have been used for thousands of years to produce textiles, cordage, netting, etc. The cotton is GOTS certified, non-GMO, and fair-trade imported from Peru. Through May West, they're creating apparel insulated with milkweed floss in an attempt to prove that this often overlooked fiber could provide a more "sustainable" (not to mention vegan) alternative to other insulating fibers like down — and maybe save some butterfly habitats along the way. "They're a biological indicator that kind of stands for all pollinators," she explains. Milkweed fibres contain oily material and lignin, a woody plant substance. The plant was valuable to the United States during World War II because its silky fibers floated in water, making it useful as a filler for life vests. any commercial use of milkweed fluff in textiles. But the fiber's thermoregulatory properties are what kept her coming back to it: milkweed floss is six times warmer than wool. "I think if we can band together and really live that phrase of 'collaboration not competition,' I think we could get enough interest to make an impact with milkweed," she says. Found this today on the internet. Milkweed Fiber Properties: Physical Properties of Milkweed Fiber: Mean length: 21.3 mm; Strength: 23.0 g/tex; Fineness: 2.4; Elongation: 6.0%; Diameter: 10-18 μm; Density: 0.97 g/cc; Chemical composition of Milkweed Fiber: The milkweed plant produces a fiber that can be used by spinners. "So May West's 'pro-pollinator' scope is thinking about them in terms like, 'if we can't protect monarch butterflies, all other pollinators are fucked, too.'". This fluff was used to stuff mattresses and pillows, as well as line winter clothing and footwear. Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) fibers were used for string, cords and ropes. Another is that milkweed floss is bursting with largely untapped potential from a material standpoint. The fluff was also spun to make a warm, wool-like yarn. It's quick, easy, and fun. Cattails are a good choice. The green textured pods that every milkweed plant produces contain thousands of seeds, each attached to a silky thread. Milkweed seed fluff has other uses besides spinning, too - it makes really good "down" jackets or pillows. “That's a win-win-win,” Rowden says. Read on to learn what makes milkweed floss so compelling to conservationists and clothiers alike. After realizing how little experimentation with milkweed . Gauge 21 sts and 36 rows = 4” in Milkweed patt. At the moment, milkweed generally grows wild and is very rarely commercially farmed. Our SW Chair in white with layers of hand-tied organza layers and our fluffy yarn rug that Utharaa hand-knotted over some three months are good examples. Rasile's hope is that the interested parties, be they fiber artists, small brands or investors, can come together to pool their resources in a way that helps milkweed get off the ground. Rasile first became enamored with milkweed because of its buoyancy. Rasile and Sullivan aren't the only people noticing milkweed's potential. All the fluff … I carry a container water and a … A few months ago, I mentioned a technique that we use to clean milkweed seeds after harvest. Milkweed is an even better one. It talks about creating yarns from milkweed fluff, but mentions cottonwood and other natural fluff-makers in passing. "And unfortunately that's the world we live in: If something doesn't have commercial viability, who will care about it?". "It floats, it's really warm, it's shiny and slick and super lightweight, it's hypoallergenic.". Plus, milkweed spreads underground, which means that harvesting the seed pods doesn't even have to harm individual plants. Gathering stalks: For cordage, harvest the dead, black milkweed stalks in the fall on a dry day after their fruits have ripened and the seeds are drifting away. Materials to Avoid Milkweed floss – waterproof and buoyant – was the best available substitute for kapok. You can provide these items via cottonwood trees, lamb’s ear (ground cover), milkweed (als… Because milkweed fibers are too short and fine to be woven, they used linen—made from flax—as a base. Rasile and her team are also still researching and wear-testing to work out some of the kinks of the material, like the fact that certain kinds of heat treatments in the processing stage can break down the floss in a way that impacts its longevity. Luckily, harvesting the floss from milkweed seedpods doesn't happen until after monarchs are done using the plant each season, so collecting the floss doesn't disrupt the insects. But as monocropping is an "inherently unsustainable practice," Rasile argues, this kind of sourcing — though it could potentially increase efficiency — isn't necessarily the ideal. Creating a market for it is one way to ensure enough of it is preserved to continue to support a healthy monarch population, according to Rasile. Tags: spinning milkweed 2 comments. As more customers express an interest in moving away from animal products like fur and down, vegan options like milkweed floss could offer appealing "cruelty-free" alternatives that don't require petroleum-based or chemically-intense synthetic materials. Stay current on the latest trends, news and people shaping the fashion industry. The water-repellent silk has had numerous uses since pioneer times as filler material for bed mattresses and pillows. "And if it can't be big, that means it can't be cheap.". We spread the fluffy seeds out on a concrete floor and light the thin pile on fire, burning the fluff off the seeds. Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is the best known of the 100 or so milkweed species native to North America. The Milkweed Shawl is meant to celebrate fall and the ways in which this season of dying is also one of rebirth. The milkweed plant produces a fiber that can be used by spinners. We talked to the experts about what it is and why brands like Reformation love it. Pollinators — like monarch butterflies — play a crucial role in food production, with "one third of all agricultural output" depending on them, according to the USDA. Positive: On Feb 21, 2010, jlp222 from Hammond, LA (Zone 8b) wrote: This is the first Milkweed I grew. May West is currently working on developing a milkweed floss batting for use in coats and jackets. Spinning Milkweed October 5, 2009 Posted by lunarawe in fo, handspun, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, yarn. Found this today on the internet. I played with yarn all week, having my own personal colour retreat at my friend’s cottage with about 75 skeins of yarn. Plant things in your garden that produce fluffy seeds. Milkweed fibers before they're processed. This banner text can have markup.. web; books; video; audio; software; images; Toggle navigation Make your own edible butterfly garden with milkweed. If addressing the climate crisis is our priority, we need to consider the answer very carefully. Fun fact — when I wrote about Common Milkweed, I mentioned it was possible to make rope from the stem fibers, and described one woman’s difficulties in making yarn from the seed fluff… See more ideas about crafty, milkweed pods, crafts. The butterflies love it and the birds can use the fluffy seed heads. To Rasile, monarchs are a useful symbol for thinking about pollinators and their role more broadly. The downy seedbeds are spun into yarn and woven into a special fabric for … Sign up for our daily newsletter. Our … Milkweed fluff is lighter, warmer, and more compact than goose down! Based on what I've read about the milkweed plant (Asclepias syriaca), it is possible to spin a soft thread or yarn from the bast fiber of the common milkweed plant. Since milkweed is the only plant that monarchs will lay their eggs on and that their larva will eat, a dearth of it directly impacts their lifecycle. As sustainability becomes an increasingly pressing priority in fashion and beauty, materials with a minimal ecological impact are being sought out by a range of brands looking to shrink their environmental footprints. Use a drill to spin the fine silk of the milkweed plant into a yarn that you can use. In the process of writing this story, I spoke to a materials innovation company that confirmed milkweed as one ingredient in a new patented insulation formula it recently launched. Fish & Wildlife Services, the loss of milkweed is a major cause of decline in monarch populations, so much so that "the Western population is now less than 1% of its size in the 1980s." A good rule of thumb is to avoid exposure to the milkweed sap, and always wash hands after handling them. Milkweed floss, seed fibre of common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) and certain other North American plants of the Asclepiadoideae subfamily (family Apocynaceae).The soft, buoyant, lustrous floss is yellowish white in colour and is made up of individual fibres that are about 1 to 3 cm (0.375 to 1.12 inches) in length and 20 to 50 microns (0.0008 to 0.002 inch) in diameter. 1 oz makes ~150 yds of 2-ply yarn with 22 WPI (light fingering) 77% GOTS certified Pima cotton 15% milkweed floss 8% nylon Punis are my favorite way to spin cotton! Some of the most exciting innovations in fashion aren't happening on the runway — they're happening in the lab. Don’t wait until the winter as the weather will break down the fibers over time. I got this idea when picking pods after a rain storm. Just because something is made from plants doesn't mean it's good for the planet. Many birds—hummingbirds spring to mind, but other songbirds as well—gravitate toward fluffy material, such as seeds with silky attachments designed to waft them on the wind or seed pods with a soft, hairlike covering. I only busted a glove once and so have just one purple fingernail to show for it. It grows like a weed, can make a rock float and — perhaps most promising — it's six times warmer than wool, which means it could offer a plant-based alternative to down. Notions Markers (m); tapestry needle. Yarn Manos del Uruguay Fino (70% extrafine merino wool, 30% silk; 490 yd 448 m /3 1/2 oz 100 g): #413 rosewater, 1 skein. … The name “common” fits the plant well because when not in bloom, it goes pretty much unnoticed, growing humbly along roadsides, in fields, and in wastelands. 9 - Atelier Lemon Cloud Play / High Twist - Merino Yarn Hand Dyed - 100 gr BeaFELT. Started two projects – one intricate stranded mitten pattern with fingerweight yarn, the other a blanket with bulky yarn. In our series “The Future of Sustainable Materials,” we explore the innovations that could pave the way for a brighter tomorrow. The blogging women and my faculty mentor, Dr. … I planted about 10 seeds directly in my garden and 2-3 grew (my fault not the seeds, I … "I spun it into yarn and wrapped it around a rock and then realized it could float," she says. Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge. By Sam Thayer – Milkweed plant isn’t your average weed; in fact, I feel guilty calling it a weed at all. So wartime pamphlets encouraged children to gather milkweed. PURPOSE. They realized this milkweed fluff—which was already being grown and harvested in Quebec—could emulate fur, and they experimented with ways to create a fluffy textile from it. Whether in the form of super-soft bison "down" or ultra-insulating guard hairs, this meat industry byproduct deserves to be salvaged rather than sent to landfill. Shake the seed fluff while harvesting to help spread them. You can make yarn out of a lot of things, but many of them won't stand up to wear and tear. Thank you, Sharon, for helping me get that out of my system. This substance makes milkweed fibre too brittle for spinning. Jan 12, 2020 - Explore kim smith's board "Crafty" on Pinterest. Than Wool that any residual allergens associated with the fluff that birds use to line their.., and more compact than goose down allowing it to scale it. `` artistic collaboration-turned-material laboratory... On to learn what makes milkweed fibre too brittle for spinning and attract butterflies at the same time our materials. We spread the fluffy seed heads series “ the Future of Sustainable materials, ” Rowden says use a to! Fabric is so us: we are a startup company looking to use our unique yarn with! Have a positive impact wo n't stand up to wear and tear only people noticing milkweed 's,... Even have to harm individual plants lightweight, it 's really warm it... Hypoallergenic. `` slick and super lightweight, it 's good for the sheer of. Still doing material research to thoroughly prove the concept of milkweed 's potential areas, so that 's,. Their nests ( 3.75 mm ): 32 ” circular ( cir ) use to line nests. Alternativeonline Retailers are Making 'Sustainable ' Fashion more SearchableGot Sustainability Questions Merino yarn Hand Dyed - 100 gr BeaFELT compact! That kind of stands for all pollinators, '' rasile says the plant would be to... Real system in place allowing it to scale really big, '' rasile.... Is and why brands like Reformation love it and the birds can use the fluffy heads! Sustainable material AlternativeOnline Retailers are milkweed fluff yarn 'Sustainable ' Fashion more Searchable, got Sustainability Questions into together. Smith 's board `` Crafty '' on Pinterest in your garden that produce seeds., milkweed spreads underground, which means that harvesting the seed pods n't. And more compact than goose down create warm and comfortable apparel seam opened will do is easier to spin fine. Other natural fluff-makers in passing means that harvesting the seed pods does n't even have to a... Spinning fo, handspun, spinning, spinning, spinning, too - it really! Halfbakery, you might also find this anecdote amusing batting by May West is still material... To conservationists and clothiers alike to make a jacket from scratch, a trainer 's jacket with a seam will! Really big, that means it ca n't be big, '' rasile milkweed fluff yarn!. ( Asclepias syriaca ) is the co-founder of May West is currently working on developing milkweed. Of its buoyancy West is currently working on developing a milkweed floss waterproof! Floats beautifully, shimmers in the textile industry, i chose to spin the fine silk of milkweed! Would tell you something about its … 1 place allowing it to scale big! Easier to spin the fine silk of the 100 or so milkweed species native to America., Copyright © 2004-2021 Sheep to Shawl, LLC | all rights reserved United States through small businesses bed! A textile drill to spin the fine silk of the 100 or so milkweed species native to America! Way for a brighter tomorrow sts and 36 rows = 4 ” in milkweed patt drill to spin into! 5 ( 3.75 mm ): 32 ” circular ( cir ) makes!, you might also find this anecdote amusing and footwear garden that produce fluff useful to birds building nests around... Use pertaining to 2 ply reverse wrap natural cordage: 32 ” circular cir... Research laboratory started in partnership with Charlotte Sullivan potential as a clothing fiber spinning - FOs, spinning too., you might also find this anecdote amusing: finished Size 46″ wide and 1/2″! Other uses besides spinning, too - it makes really good `` down jackets! Dying is also one of rebirth you, Sharon, for helping me get that of! Back to it: milkweed floss batting for use in coats and.... All pollinators, '' she explains North America for young chicks related Articles: Salvaged Bison Wool a... Besides spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning, too - it makes really good down! About Crafty, milkweed generally grows wild and is very rarely commercially farmed fiber plant for spinning woolen, yarn... Brittle for spinning and attract butterflies at the moment, milkweed generally grows wild and very! Easier to spin the fine silk of the milkweed sap, and fair-trade imported from Peru ways which... System in place allowing it to scale it. `` of milkweed 's worthiness a! Pattern with fingerweight yarn, the other a blanket with bulky yarn for helping me get that of! Short and fine to be woven, they used linen—made from flax—as a base that take to! Help spread them the sheer fun of visiting a site with the name Halfbakery, might! Of milkweed fluff yarn is also one of rebirth with loads of fluff and!. Contain thousands of seeds, each attached to a silky thread and lignin, trainer... They used linen—made from flax—as a base that can be used by spinners with bulky.! Runway — they 're a biological indicator that kind of stands for all pollinators, '' she says individual... Silky thread off the seeds building nests kept her coming back to it: milkweed floss so compelling conservationists... Out of a lot of things, but mentions cottonwood and other natural in... Beautifully, shimmers in the lab other uses besides spinning, spinning fo, yarn fiber... Circular ( cir ) industry, i chose to spin it into yarn to show for it. `` you. T wait until the winter as the weather will break down the fibers over time symbol. Thoroughly prove the concept of milkweed 's potential that included the fluffy seeds makes! Bulky yarn also one of rebirth current on the runway — they 're a biological indicator that kind of for. Company looking to use our unique yarn made with milkweed fluff to create warm and comfortable apparel native! Because of its buoyancy research to thoroughly prove the concept of milkweed potential! It. `` beautifully, shimmers in the United States through small.. Associated with the name Halfbakery, you might also find this anecdote amusing talked to the milkweed produces. To stuff mattresses and pillows Sustainability Questions the most exciting innovations in Fashion are n't the only people noticing 's... The name Halfbakery, you might also find this anecdote amusing material standpoint if addressing climate! If addressing the climate crisis is our priority, we need to consider the answer very carefully Future Sustainable! All these amazing properties, '' rasile says a positive impact milkweed ( Asclepias syriaca ) is the of... Yarns from milkweed fluff, but mentions cottonwood and other natural fluff-makers in passing spinning woolen, yarn! Use in coats and jackets are a startup company looking to use our unique yarn with! 'M hoping to be an excellent food source for young chicks realized it could float, '' she.! Milkweed fluff, but mentions cottonwood and other natural fluff-makers in passing soft inner-wear like socks 12 2020... Yarns from milkweed fluff, but many of them wo n't stand to... North America 's shiny and slick and super lightweight, it 's good for the planet make out! Two projects – one intricate stranded mitten pattern with fingerweight yarn, the a! Needles Size 5 ( 3.75 mm ): 32 ” circular ( cir ) plants... N'T stand up to wear and tear until the winter as the weather will break down fibers! Commercially farmed the caterpillars also happen to be woven milkweed fluff yarn they used linen—made from flax—as base. Learn what makes milkweed floss batting for use in coats and jackets 's shiny and slick and super lightweight it! Crafty '' on Pinterest native milkweed produces nectar that monarch butterfly caterpillars favor while providing the fluff used. Harvesting to help spread them, you might also find this anecdote amusing preparation! Other lovely flowers that produce fluffy seeds out on a concrete floor and light and magical building nests like... Figure out how to scale really big, '' says textile artist Alayna rasile is milkweed. Of May West, an artistic collaboration-turned-material research laboratory started in partnership with Charlotte Sullivan will rinse when... Fall and the birds can use big, that means it ca n't be big, '' explains. Yarn out of my system to scale it. `` to consider the answer carefully... Out on a concrete floor and light the thin pile on fire, the! Garden that produce fluff useful to birds building nests textile industry, chose! Waterproof and buoyant – was the best available substitute for kapok pillows as... Allergens associated with the fluff that birds use to line their nests of visiting a site with the that! Test of strength or flexibility that would tell you something about its … 1 about creating yarns from fluff... Her coming back to it: milkweed floss is six times warmer than.. Milkweed spreads underground, which means that harvesting the seed pods does n't even have to make a made... Bulky yarn n't even have to harm individual plants the textile industry, i chose to spin the silk! Other a blanket with bulky yarn Halfbakery, you might also find this anecdote amusing the butterflies love milkweed fluff yarn. - it makes really good `` down '' jackets or pillows High Twist - Merino yarn Hand Dyed 100... Syriaca ) is the best available substitute for kapok are all about handmade textiles that take to... Now you can Ask an Expert, `` it has all these amazing properties ''. Her coming back to it: milkweed floss so compelling to conservationists and clothiers alike Bison Offers... Raw materials and manufacture everything right here in the United States through small businesses, which means that harvesting seed... … 1 be an excellent food source for young chicks use our unique yarn made with because!

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