ALIGHT FIBER FRIDAY
Welcome to Alight Handwoven’s Fiber Friday! Selected Friday’s each month Alight holds a discussion on a selected topic about Fibers! It’s a chance to learn more about these luxurious fibers that make our textiles and baby wraps so special! Join our Master Dyer and Weaver* the First and second Friday (Morning est) of each Month in an enthralling and educational chat Here in our Facebook chatter group!
For convenience we have Compiled all of the PAST Fiber Friday Topics here! Below you will find each topic along with a description and quotes from the actual Fiber Friday post! All the most relevant information about fibers at your fingertips! We will update this regularly!
DRY- The opposite of soapy. Feels like taking moisture from skin. Chalk.
SOAPY- the opposite of dry, the moist cold feeling of long staple mulberry silk like touching a bar of soap.
Soapy fabric has an almost slick feeling to it, like soap between your fingers. It is almost cool to the touch, whereas dry fabric feels more warm, almost brittle; Caulk like. There are soapy wraps with good grip and texture and others with better glide, just as there those qualities in wraps made of "dry" fabric. Cotton is not always Dry and can have both qualitieS (DePending on stapLe lenGth). We say "almost" a lot in those descriptions because these are really subtle differences in textile sensation. Start feeling your wraps with this description in mind and you'll probably start to notice the temperature and "slickness" of the fibers that you may not have noticed before.
What people had to say:
“Soapy- when you put liquid soap on your hands and rub your hands together. Its smooth and silky. Or like rubbing a wet bar of soap.” SG
”dry: like touching pottery; taking moisture from your fingers” CM
“I like both. I love soapy wraps with great glide for dh. And I love more dry wraps for a shorty I feel like it holds in place better and stands up better to shorty carries while it can be too much to work with for base size carries. But I also enjoy wraps in the middle of the extreme for things like shepherds and torso carry that I want to be easy to tighten but lock in once o get it snug.” CC
“I love soapy wraps for little babies. As they get bigger, I like dry.” MR
“I tend to lean towards soapy fibers because they make must-pass carries so easy to tighten. I do have a couple of dry wraps (raw silk, cotton, cottolin, hemp) that I also adore for lengthy wearing. It takes elbow grease to get them tightened but once its tied off it's super solid.” EF
“Soapy and cool the the touch for me!! I love glide and drape!!! Silk is the ultimate love, but Thick tencel and Mercerized Pima or Giza Cotton are also pretty fabulous!” CM
Cotton is a versatile fiber and there is so much variety! Luxury cottons are incredibly soft and cushy. This Friday we learned that cotton is an easy care fiber that doesn’t dye up as intensely as silk or wool. Wrapping qualities vary greatly depending on the weave/thickness, but are generally soft, suitable for new wrappers and newborns, breathable, and easy to wrap with! Cotton can have both dry and soapy qualities depending on staple length (How long each individual fiber is) long staple cotton is shiney and smooth silky. Shorter Staple like RING-SPUN Is fuzzier and dryer, without shine.
What people are saying:
“I love Supima and Georgia!! Georgia is so so soft and they both take colors so well. I love the sturdy side of Supima as well. I also love pairing it with another easy care weft so I can just toss it in the wash! They make great beach and hiking wraps!” CL
“I loooooove cotton! I love all cotton and I love it paired with other fibres such as silk and cotton hemp. I love the fluffy cush of GRS, I love the shine of merc cotton. Sea Island cotton is amazing, particularly on a silk warp, definitely one of my favourite fibre combinations. And cotton hemp on a Supima warp is my favourite big kid shorty. Oh and how could I forget the texture of slub cotton... Definitely nothing boring about cotton.” PC
“I like pima with rose or silk wefts! It’s still soft with good glide like silk, but it’s got more grip which I find a bit more forgiving in imperfect wrap jobs. I really want to try SIC and pineapple.” KH
“all fibers come in different weights (thick and thin) some other types are Sea Island cotton, Georgia cotton, ringspun cotton and those are just off the top of my head! Many many more! Overall cotton is soft, lightweight and airy! It doesn’t have very much stretch so it can sag overtime.... I think of an all cotton wrap as one that’s a workhorse- can get dirty and then thrown in the wash!” CK
“Why are some cotton softer than others?
Answer: ‘it has to do with the length of the cotton fibers or their “staple length” cottons with extra long staples (or fibers) are incredibly soft... Sea island Cotton is an excellent example of extra long stapled cotton! There is also Giza cotton and supima! The treatment also can change the feel and texture, there is mercerization that makes it shiny and smooth, or there are spinning techniques to make a bumpy slubby cotton like a micro boucle!’”
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE COMBO
Everyone has their favorite combination of fibers! Below you’ll hear some of our fan’s favorite combinations and what makes them so special! Do you have a favorite combination? Feel free to message us here and we’ll add it! Make sure include why the combination is so great!
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING:
“I like workhorse wraps since my kids are bigger. So a cotton/linen/hemp blend is my dream” EC
“My favorite wrap is all cotton (2 different kinds) but my favorite blend which I had many times is Tencel/Cottonhemp. SIC and Babycamel have a nice touch too” DR
“all the silk for me! but I do also love merino silk and alpaca silk cashmere and seasilk and yak silk and camel silk! So silk with anything?” CM
“Alpaca and camel are divine, hard to describe beyond kitten belly soft and luxurious, but they are adequately cushy yet airy with no prickle, but there are some soft longer hairs you'll see but not really feel because they are fine!” TE
“Cotton silk linen! Soft and strong and not too hot in this muggy spring weather for my wiggly toddler!” MN
“I really loved my silk/ silverspun silk wrap. It was thin, airy but still very strong and grippy. Although I would really love to try something a little more cushy.” KM
“Ok, I have to add to mine. It depends on who I am wrapping! When I’m wrapping. Newborn, I love a supima warp/ supima weft or Supima warp/silk weft. I find the thinner wraps with some stretch are just so comfy and cozy with tiny newborns. Where some of my other favorite fibre combos can be overwhelming with a mini baby! Hehe” SG
“Thick silk with silk/linen is flawless. Cush, textural grip, forgiving, super strong, wearee feels literally weightless, light and airy!! Thick silk with seacell/silk is also dreamy. So is thick silk with merino/stellina. Hmmm... maybe I should just say thick silk” EP
Tencel is a branded form of Lyocell. Lyocell is a form of rayon which consists of cellulose fibre made from dissolving pulp. It is a natural man-made fibre. The yarn usually has a lovely sheen to it. It is smooth and glides well. It has a lovely drape and is very strong and supportive.
What people have to say:
“Ohh tencel! I love tencel so much, there’s about five tencel pieces here at the moment. Paired with the right fibre, it’s so incredibly strong for heavier babies. My merc cotton warp tencel weft sling is the strongest sling I own!” CM
“Ooh always wanted to learn more about tencel! Is tencel breathable? Is it good for warmer climates? And how does it feel on the skin wrapped?
Answer: yes ma’am! It is breathable, can be cool to the touch and has the ability to wick away moisture. So great for warm climate!” AH
“I love the shine of tencel!” NS
“It is a super soapy fiber and moisture wicking! I'd say it pairs really well with a Merino or merino blend or a cotton! On a silk or something equally as slippery the weave might shift a little too much!” CM
“I find Tencel to be cool to the touch, moisture wicking, glide, no stretch, adds a ton of strength, thick Tencel adds Cush! I love to pair Tencel with a cushier fiber like Merino as I do find fibers that have little stretch to be a tiny bit Diggy on my shoulders.... other fibers that would be good is a thick cushy cotton, also thick silk would be nice too! basically you want to Cush up the Tencel, at least that’s how I like it!” CK
“I love a good Cotton warp, Tencel weft!! Soft, shiny, super strong!!” NP
Silk is a natural protein fiber:
The protein fiber of silk is composed mainly of fibroin and is produced by silkworm (and certain insects) which form cocoons. The best-known silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori which can easily be reared in captivity.
When the silkworm's biological time clock triggers the cocoon spinning process, The silkworm rotates its body 200,000 times in three days extruding one continuous strand of silk the length of 12 football fields. The silk adheres to itself, forming the cocoon. Through a particular process the silk fibers are then unravelled from the cocoon by farmers and individuals. Sorting through the cocoons and unleashing the silk produces three grades of yarn: reeled, spun, and noil.
Reeled, or filament silk is very white and shiny, and is very slippery.
Spun silk incorporates parts of the cocoon along with the silk filament to give strength and shine with just a touch of texture.
Noil silk is made from the short fibres containing crushed pupa left behind after making higher quality spun silk. This is still very high quality yarn and makes for a lovely wrapping experience with strength and grip.
Overall Silk Wrapping qualities include strength, glide, softness, and thermoregulation properties. Silk is perfect for newborns and toddlers alike, though thinner silk blends may be diggy in single layer carries for bigger babies.
Silk requires lots of care when laundering and should be hand washed and air dried. Silk looses its strength when wet and makes the fibers susceptible to damage. Much care should be used when handling wet silk!
A note on Tussah Silk:
Tussah is the common name given to the Antherea silk producing caterpillars and their silk. These silkworms have a different diet from their Bombyx mori cousins. Whether they are reared in the tropics or temperate climate the leaves they eat contain tannin, the ingredient in tea that leaves a stain in your cup. The natural colour of tussah silk is a warm honey beige.
What People are saying:
“What are the differences between the thick silk and luxury silk you showed? What thicknesses are they? Are they all mulberry silks?
Answer: yes both are mulberry and thick silk is a 2 ply 8/2 and the luxury silk is a 4 ply 20/4, our lux silk is extra long staple and is just super soft, the thick silk we have is super cushy and holds a half knot like a champ”
“I didn't realize how AMAZING silk is till I wrapped my little bug in it... So smooth and soft and cushy... Felt like he melted right in to me!” TP
“It's not fancy but one of my favorites is wild silk/linen/cotton. It came to me already broken in and was soft, airy, and supportive enough for my toddler though a bit diggy if a didn't wrap tight. I also have a 100% bomboxy silk and it is so soft and floppy and basicly glows. I wrapped my friends 35lb lo in it for about an hour and it was supportive and so cushy.” AT
Merino wool is highly breathable because the individual fibers can absorb up to 30% of their own weight in moisture, wicking moisture away from the body so the wearer stays dry and comfortable regardless of the temperature. This helps to regulate the body temperature, keeping you warm in cold weather and cool in hot. Each wool fibre is a molecular coil spring making it remarkably elastic The fibre can be bent back on itself more than 20,000 times without breaking, compared to about 3,000 times for cotton and 2,000 times for silk. The outer skin of the fibre acts as a protective film, giving woollen cloth improved resistance to abrasion meaning it’s hard wearing and long lasting. Merino Wool provides a natural cushy softness which makes it a joy to wrap your babies with. It’s amazing strength means it works well for your littlies, as well as heavier older ones. It’s temperature regulating so it keeps you cool in hot weather and warm in winter temperatures and climates!
What people are saying:
“One of my favorite things about merino is how well it dyes up! It takes dye soooo intensely! The neons are neons and deep saturated jewel tones look so amazing” CK
“Merino is also incredibly light and cushy- it’s much different than other wools! It’s really good in hot weather! It wicks away moisture and keeps your skin dry and not clammy or hot!” SD
“Also the micron count! Lower micron is a finer merino! Ultrafine merino is down towards 14microns, most fine merino is around 19-23 microns (you can feel a difference between these numbers too!) And most other merino is 26+ microns. For spinning I prefer 19 microns or finer, or blended with other fibers, our merino yarns are around 19-21!” CM
“As a knitter and spinner, I adore merino. Vivid colors, amazing glide and definition and just such an amazing variety out there. Our first piece of alight has merino in the blend and I’m super excited.” AR
Baby camel is the soft downy inner coat of the Bactrian babY caMel. It is considered a luxury fiber and is very warm and light. But is cool to touch and breathable. BABY CAMEL is a great alternative to cashmere and can be blended with various yarns. At Alight Handwovens we source it in fingering (thicker) and lace (thinner) in a 50%/50% silk/camel blend.
WHAt People have to say:
“Super soft with no itch. I have a super shorty and carry my toddler in single layer no problem, but is definitely soft enough for a squish. I haven't tried it in the heat yet, but I don't think it will be too bad in single layer. It's not any harder to clean than any other hand wash fibre, hand wash and dry flat. It is one of my favorite wraps!” JA
“Camel is my favorite WQ right now. It’s not as heavy as merino but provides good cush. I love the color of the natty weft and the nice shine it has. It’s the perfect balance between soft and strength. It’s got better grip than a mulberry or the like but still has nice glide. It tends to be on the soapy vs dry side. It’s just so good.” MR
“Camel silk is such a luxurious blend. Kitten belly soft, soapy with a medium thickness. I really liked it when a camel silk wrap lived here.” CM
“Love camel silk! It feels so good during summer with a silk warp; not scratchy and it’s really soft! Definitely breathe much better as compared to merino!” SHN