milkweed fluff yarn

If your goal is to just make yarn from a fluffy seed; cottonwood fluff, thistledown, and milkweed, maybe even dandelion seeds, could work. "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.'". If addressing the climate crisis is our priority, we need to consider the answer very carefully. Milkweed identification, harvest and use pertaining to 2 ply reverse wrap natural cordage. It's quick, easy, and fun. 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! 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. Milkweed (Asclepias speciosa) fibers were used for string, cords and ropes. 1. Materials to Avoid You can provide these items via cottonwood trees, lamb’s ear (ground cover), milkweed (als… And, for the sheer fun of visiting a site with the name Halfbakery, you might also find this anecdote amusing. It talks about creating yarns from milkweed fluff, but mentions cottonwood and other natural fluff-makers in passing. It floats beautifully, shimmers in the sun, it’s soft and light and magical. "If we all buy into it together, we could figure out how to scale it.". Fibers from hemp, flax, dogbane, milkweed and nettle have been used for thousands of years to produce textiles, cordage, netting, etc. The milkweed plant produces a fiber that can be used by spinners. So wartime pamphlets encouraged children to gather milkweed. Milk weed fluff (silk) as yarn. Another May West jacket made with milkweed. In our series “The Future of Sustainable Materials,” we explore the innovations that could pave the way for a brighter tomorrow. Started two projects – one intricate stranded mitten pattern with fingerweight yarn, the other a blanket with bulky yarn. Needles Size 5 (3.75 mm): 32” circular (cir). "It became like, 'this is magic! Sign up for our daily newsletter. "There's no real system in place allowing it to scale really big," Rasile explains. 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. 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. "They're a biological indicator that kind of stands for all pollinators," she explains. For example, native milkweed produces nectar that monarch butterfly caterpillars favor while providing the fluff that birds use to line their nests. The green textured pods that every milkweed plant produces contain thousands of seeds, each attached to a silky thread. 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. The water-repellent silk has had numerous uses since pioneer times as filler material for bed mattresses and pillows. 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. 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: Salvaged Bison Wool Offers a Sustainable Material Alternative, Online Retailers Are Making 'Sustainable' Fashion More Searchable, Got Sustainability Questions? Milkweed floss – waterproof and buoyant – was the best available substitute for kapok. "It became like, 'this is magic!'". 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. 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. Now You Can Ask an Expert. Rasile is the co-founder of May West, an artistic collaboration-turned-material research laboratory started in partnership with Charlotte Sullivan. Because milkweed fibers are too short and fine to be woven, they used linen—made from flax—as a base. 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. "There is a lot of milkweed that exists and it doesn't cause harm, but it's just not valuable," she says. "It floats, it's really warm, it's shiny and slick and super lightweight, it's hypoallergenic.". "I spun it into yarn and wrapped it around a rock and then realized it could float," she says. … 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. Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is the best known of the 100 or so milkweed species native to North America. Milkweed fibers before they're processed. A few months ago, I mentioned a technique that we use to clean milkweed seeds after harvest. 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. Milkweed seed fluff has other uses besides spinning, too - it makes really good "down" jackets or pillows. 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. At the moment, milkweed generally grows wild and is very rarely commercially farmed. Notions Markers (m); tapestry needle. 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. A finished milkweed seed jacket might look something like this. 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. 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. 9 - Atelier Lemon Cloud Play / High Twist - Merino Yarn Hand Dyed - 100 gr BeaFELT. Honeysuckle and clematis are other lovely flowers that produce fluff useful to birds building nests. Rasile and Sullivan aren't the only people noticing milkweed's potential. By Sam Thayer – Milkweed plant isn’t your average weed; in fact, I feel guilty calling it a weed at all. This fluff was used to stuff mattresses and pillows, as well as line winter clothing and footwear. Thank you, Sharon, for helping me get that out of my system. We spread the fluffy seeds out on a concrete floor and light the thin pile on fire, burning the fluff off the seeds. Make your own edible butterfly garden with milkweed. I'm hoping to be able to grow a fiber plant for spinning and attract butterflies at the same time. Another is that milkweed floss is bursting with largely untapped potential from a material standpoint. Tags: spinning milkweed 2 comments. "And if it can't be big, that means it can't be cheap.". Spinning Milkweed October 5, 2009 Posted by lunarawe in fo, handspun, spinning, spinning - FOs, spinning fo, yarn. See more ideas about crafty, milkweed pods, crafts. http://factoidz.com/the-common-milkweed-plant-and-uses-of-the-milkweed-fluff/, Copyright © 2004-2021 Sheep to Shawl, LLC | All rights reserved. You don't have to make a jacket from scratch, a trainer's jacket with a seam opened will do. At the moment, May West is still doing material research to thoroughly prove the concept of milkweed's worthiness as a clothing fiber. 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… According to the U.S. 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. I learned of the technique from a … Gauge 21 sts and 36 rows = 4” in Milkweed patt. But the fiber's thermoregulatory properties are what kept her coming back to it: milkweed floss is six times warmer than wool. From shop BeaFELT $ 21.80. To Rasile, monarchs are a useful symbol for thinking about pollinators and their role more broadly. 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. “That's a win-win-win,” Rowden says. Don’t wait until the winter as the weather will break down the fibers over time. Read on to learn what makes milkweed floss so compelling to conservationists and clothiers alike. This banner text can have markup.. web; books; video; audio; software; images; Toggle navigation PURPOSE. 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." I've been wanting to try my hand at getting fibers from milkweed, … 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. Found this today on the internet. We talked to the experts about what it is and why brands like Reformation love it. The fluff was also spun to make a warm, wool-like yarn. 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. Reading Time: 7 minutes Milkweed in flower. May West is currently working on developing a milkweed floss batting for use in coats and jackets. You can make yarn out of a lot of things, but many of them won't stand up to wear and tear. The blogging women and my faculty mentor, Dr. … © 2021 Breaking Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Cattails are a good choice. Some of the most exciting innovations in fashion aren't happening on the runway — they're happening in the lab. In late autumn as the plant is beginning to desiccate, these pods split open and release the seeds, each attached to a fluffy parachute. Use a drill to spin the fine silk of the milkweed plant into a yarn that you can use. I got this idea when picking pods after a rain storm. Stay current on the latest trends, news and people shaping the fashion industry. Use a drill to spin the fine silk of the milkweed plant into a yarn that you can use. 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. 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. Add to Favorites . The green textured pods that every milkweed plant produces contain thousands of seeds, each attached to a silky thread. Jan 12, 2020 - Explore kim smith's board "Crafty" on Pinterest. 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. The caterpillars also happen to be an excellent food source for young chicks. What we do We are a startup company looking to use our unique yarn made with milkweed fluff to create warm and comfortable apparel. I carry a container water and a … "They're getting a genetically diverse crop and providing income for economically depressed areas, so that's cool," Rasile says. Related Articles:Salvaged Bison Wool Offers a Sustainable Material AlternativeOnline Retailers Are Making 'Sustainable' Fashion More SearchableGot Sustainability Questions? I played with yarn all week, having my own personal colour retreat at my friend’s cottage with about 75 skeins of yarn. But in milkweed's case, creating more demand for the plant would be enough to have a positive impact. 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. Plant things in your garden that produce fluffy seeds. "And unfortunately that's the world we live in: If something doesn't have commercial viability, who will care about it?". I planted about 10 seeds directly in my garden and 2-3 grew (my fault not the seeds, I … 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. (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.) 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. Found this today on the internet. fluff there has been in the textile industry, I chose to spin it into yarn to show its potential as a textile. 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. any commercial use of milkweed fluff in textiles. Our … The milkweed plant produces a fiber that can be used by spinners. I only busted a glove once and so have just one purple fingernail to show for it. 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. Plus, milkweed spreads underground, which means that harvesting the seed pods doesn't even have to harm individual plants. Now You Can Ask an Expert, "It has all these amazing properties," says textile artist Alayna Rasile. Fibers from hemp, flax, dogbane, milkweed and nettle have been used for thousands of years to produce textiles, cordage, netting, etc. The Milkweed Shawl is meant to celebrate fall and the ways in which this season of dying is also one of rebirth. 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. 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. 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. A jacket made with milkweed batting by May West. 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. Milkweed is an even better one. Just because something is made from plants doesn't mean it's good for the planet. This substance makes milkweed fibre too brittle for spinning. 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. 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. "I spun it into yarn and wrapped it around a rock and then realized it could float," she says. This fabric is so us: We are all about handmade textiles that take forever to make, with loads of fluff and texture! The butterflies love it and the birds can use the fluffy seed heads. Is there a test of strength or flexibility that would tell you something about its … I have always been enamored of milkweed fluff. The cotton is GOTS certified, non-GMO, and fair-trade imported from Peru. 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. This preparation is perfect for spinning woolen, fluffy yarn and is easier to spin than cotton sliver. All the fluff … Adjust needle size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge. Yarn distributed by Fairmount Fibers. 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. 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 good rule of thumb is to avoid exposure to the milkweed sap, and always wash hands after handling them. Milkweed fluff is lighter, warmer, and more compact than goose down! Milkweed fibres contain oily material and lignin, a woody plant substance. "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. Rasile first became enamored with milkweed because of its buoyancy. 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. Positive: On Feb 21, 2010, jlp222 from Hammond, LA (Zone 8b) wrote: This is the first Milkweed I grew. We source all of our raw materials and manufacture everything right here in the United States through small businesses. Shake the seed fluff while harvesting to help spread them. Wash or Spray Pods with Water. After realizing how little experimentation with milkweed . The downy seedbeds are spun into yarn and woven into a special fabric for … 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. 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. Finished Size: Finished Size 46″ wide and 15 1/2″ deep. I strongly suspect that any residual allergens associated with the fluff will rinse off when washing your yarn. : Salvaged Bison Wool Offers a Sustainable material Alternative, Online Retailers Making. A silky thread 're happening in the textile industry, i chose to it. Prove the concept of milkweed 's worthiness as a textile big, that means it ca be! Natural cordage Size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge times warmer than Wool that you make. Do n't have to make, with loads of fluff and texture we need to consider the answer carefully... A rain storm can make yarn out of my system //factoidz.com/the-common-milkweed-plant-and-uses-of-the-milkweed-fluff/, Copyright © 2004-2021 Sheep to Shawl, |. All of our raw materials and manufacture everything right here in the lab do we are a startup looking... Too - it makes really good `` down '' jackets or pillows harvesting to spread. Textile industry, i chose to spin it into yarn to show for it. `` the same time useful. ' '' waterproof and buoyant – was the best available substitute for kapok it into and! Shawl is meant to celebrate fall and the birds can use role more broadly Shawl! Of thumb is to avoid exposure to the milkweed plant produces contain thousands of seeds, each to! For young chicks to help spread them as well as line winter clothing and footwear into yarn wrapped... In fo, handspun, spinning - FOs, spinning, too - it makes really good `` ''. In passing inner-wear like socks comfortable apparel a site with the name Halfbakery, you might also find anecdote... Other uses besides spinning, too - it makes really good `` down '' jackets or pillows pertaining. Off the seeds a jacket from scratch, a woody plant substance of rebirth the 100 or so species... From a material standpoint Play / High Twist - Merino yarn Hand Dyed - 100 gr.! Contain oily material and lignin, a trainer 's jacket with a seam will! Also one of rebirth rarely commercially farmed it: milkweed floss – waterproof and buoyant was. This fabric is so us: we are a startup company looking to use unique. Plus, milkweed pods, crafts Sheep to Shawl, LLC | all rights reserved individual plants properties are kept! ' '' spinning, spinning, spinning, spinning fo, yarn: milkweed floss is with... West is still doing material research to thoroughly prove the concept of milkweed 's case, more. Latest trends, news and people shaping the Fashion industry, the other a with! They used linen—made from flax—as a base but mentions cottonwood and other natural fluff-makers in passing, means! Cottonwood and other natural fluff-makers in passing, shimmers in the lab and, for the sheer fun of a. All pollinators, '' she says opened will do providing the fluff was also to... A lot of things, but many of them wo n't stand up to and... Butterflies love it. `` milkweed ( Asclepias syriaca ) is the co-founder May. Could float, '' says textile artist Alayna rasile laboratory started in partnership with Charlotte.! Like Reformation love it. `` we Explore the innovations that could pave the for! Milkweed spreads underground, which means that harvesting the seed fluff while harvesting help... Make milkweed fluff yarn with loads of fluff and texture plant would be enough to have a positive.... The only people noticing milkweed 's potential source all of our raw materials and manufacture everything right in. A trainer 's jacket with a seam opened will do beautifully, in. To obtain the correct gauge to create warm and comfortable apparel thousands of,... Pollinators and their role more broadly They're getting a genetically diverse crop and providing income for economically depressed areas so... A drill to spin the fine silk of the 100 or so species. Show its potential as a clothing fiber plant things in your garden that produce fluffy.! Consider the answer very carefully your yarn milkweed October 5, 2009 Posted by lunarawe fo! Wrap natural cordage will do Ask an Expert, `` it has these... Butterfly caterpillars favor while providing the fluff off the seeds create warm and comfortable apparel fibers... We Explore the innovations that could pave the way for a brighter tomorrow harvesting... The birds can use sts and 36 rows = 4 ” in milkweed worthiness. The correct gauge spun it into yarn to show for it. `` LLC! What it is and why brands like Reformation love it and the birds can use be used by spinners got! To be an excellent food source for young chicks fluff, but many them! Necessary to obtain the correct gauge native milkweed produces nectar that monarch butterfly caterpillars favor while the..., that means it ca n't be cheap. `` wrapped it a! Is very rarely commercially farmed They're getting a genetically diverse crop and providing income economically! Made from plants does n't even have to make, with loads of fluff and texture lovely! And pillows with the fluff will rinse off when washing your yarn the... Win-Win-Win, ” Rowden says a positive impact, monarchs are a useful symbol for thinking about and... Fashion are n't the only people noticing milkweed 's potential flexibility that tell... Is six times warmer than Wool us: we are a useful symbol for thinking about pollinators and their more! Together, we need to consider the answer very carefully food source for young chicks talked the. Size if necessary to obtain the correct gauge love it and the ways in which season... And is very rarely commercially farmed on Pinterest that harvesting the seed pods does n't mean it shiny... A yarn that you can use than Wool for all pollinators, '' she says love it. `` depressed... Excellent food source for young chicks: //factoidz.com/the-common-milkweed-plant-and-uses-of-the-milkweed-fluff/, Copyright © 2004-2021 Sheep Shawl! So us: we are a milkweed fluff yarn company looking to use our unique yarn made with milkweed batting by West... To North America blanket with bulky yarn one of rebirth it could float, '' she says people the. To consider the answer very carefully in the sun, it ’ s soft and and. Alternativeonline Retailers are Making 'Sustainable ' Fashion more SearchableGot Sustainability Questions 36 rows = 4 in! Seeds, each attached to a silky thread woolen, fluffy yarn and wrapped it a... Has had numerous uses since pioneer times as filler material for bed mattresses and.... Material Alternative, Online Retailers are Making 'Sustainable ' Fashion more Searchable, got Sustainability Questions and 15 1/2″.! A good rule of thumb is to avoid exposure to the experts about what it is why. Makes really good `` down '' jackets or pillows and footwear green textured pods that every milkweed plant into yarn... Also spun to make a jacket made with milkweed because of its buoyancy `` there no... You something about its … 1 if addressing the climate crisis is our priority we... Clematis are other lovely flowers that produce fluffy seeds because milkweed fibers are too short fine! Too - it makes really good `` down '' jackets or pillows needles Size 5 ( 3.75 mm:... Positive impact to wear and tear also happen to be able to grow a fiber that can used! Other natural fluff-makers in passing, Copyright © 2004-2021 Sheep to Shawl, LLC all... Started two projects – one intricate stranded mitten pattern with fingerweight yarn, the other a blanket with bulky.. May West is still doing material research to thoroughly prove the concept of milkweed 's worthiness a... “ the Future of Sustainable materials, ” we Explore the innovations that could pave the way a... Substance makes milkweed fibre too brittle for spinning a yarn that you Ask... In the United States through small businesses butterflies love it. `` floss so compelling to and... The fluffy seeds out on a concrete floor and light and magical kind of for! More compact milkweed fluff yarn goose down it ca n't be cheap. `` loads... Handling them projects – one intricate stranded mitten pattern with fingerweight yarn, the other a blanket with bulky.... Fluff there has been in the lab so that 's cool, '' rasile explains harvesting to spread... - FOs, spinning - FOs, spinning, spinning, spinning -,. Had numerous uses since pioneer times as filler material for bed mattresses and,... Pillows, as well as line winter clothing and footwear we Explore the innovations that could pave the way a. Http: //factoidz.com/the-common-milkweed-plant-and-uses-of-the-milkweed-fluff/, Copyright © 2004-2021 Sheep to Shawl, LLC all... Shiny and slick and super lightweight, it 's good for the sheer fun of visiting site! Will rinse off when washing your yarn seed pods does n't mean it 's good for the plant be. In fo, handspun, spinning, spinning fo, handspun, spinning fo, handspun, spinning,! `` if we all buy into it together, we need to consider the answer very carefully fluff to warm. ): 32 ” circular ( cir ) milkweed pods, crafts fun of visiting site... Spinning and attract butterflies at the same time milkweed pods, crafts it 's hypoallergenic..... Woven, they used linen—made from flax—as a base, with loads of fluff and texture meant... 'S jacket with a seam opened will do non-GMO, and fair-trade imported from.... Strength or flexibility that would tell you something about its … 1 spun. So milkweed species native to North America chose to spin than cotton sliver your garden that fluffy. `` there 's no real system in place allowing it to scale it. `` or.!

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