Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Spinning with Corn Fibre

Every year at my spinning group we have a competition which is judged by the group and a prize awarded at the annual party. Previous competitions have been for making a peg doll, a Christmas decoration, woven squares etc. This year, as we are celebrating our 25th anniversary we came up with something a bit different. Everyone donated 50g of fibre of some kind which we drew at random and we must each make something with this fibre, in time for our 25th Birthday Party in mid-february.

I drew a bag of corn fibre. It is not something I've ever spun before but that's all part of the fun, isn't it? Isn't it? I tried to do a bit of research about how to spin this, but there was nothing very helpful out there. It's odd stuff - very white and lustrous and the fibres are very fine. I'm not sure it has a natural staple length (see below for how it gets made) but the staples in the stuff I got are about 2-3 inches. Corn fibre, in case you're not aware, sounds like it should be one of those great natural fibres like linen or flax, but the process by which it's extracted from the plant involves quite a lot of chemicals. Basically the fibre is dissolved into a gloopy substance by means of various chemicals and then is it slowly extruded into long, fine fibres. It doesn't take dye well, so I've not attempted that. It was a complete pig to spin - too much twist and the fibre snaps, too little and it just drifts apart in your hand. It has none of the crimp of wool , so it's slippery and I kept letting the strands slip through my fingers and losing them. If I didn't pay attention the fibres clumped together and I got lumps. God knows how - at other times it would barely hold together. So now I have just over 200m of this bright white shiny yarn, with a few lumpy bits in it. It's not terribly well spun - I just wanted to get it done as quickly as possible, it's such an alien substance, and I really wasn't enjoying the experience.

You'll have to wait and see the end results, which won't be revealed until after the party on Feb 12th. I'm not sure that it's going to resemble what I have planned in my head - we'll have to see.

Anyway you'll all be pleased to hear that the voting for the Mysteriousyarns Book Awards is now closed and the votes are being counted and verified. Results soon, I promise.

No comments: