Have you ever looked at the content label on your yarn and wondered “What in the world is that?!” Given the variety of confusing names on fabric labels, this is no surprise. Half of them don’t even sound like real words, and you’re left wondering “What am I wearing?” Today, I will make an attempt to provide a few answers.
Among the most common fibers used in yarns and fabrics are cellulosic fibers. These fibers are manufactured from reconstituted cellulose. Cellulose is a complex sugar that is manufactured by plants to give them rigidness. Basically, since plants don’t have bones, they need something to keep them upright, and that’s where cellulose comes in. It’s also referred to as dietary fiber. That’s right, dietary fiber. Meaning it’s edible, sort of. Humans aren’t really built to digest it.
Through a complex process, the cellulose is reconstituted, and converted in cellulosic fibers such as Rayon, Lyocell and Modal. In most cases, the cellulose in cellulosic fibers comes from the wood of various trees, and occasionally, bamboo, which is not a tree, but I’ll get into that later.
Modal is a cellulosic fiber renowned for its silk-like softness, durability, absorbency, resistance to shrinkage, and dyability. It’s often used in towels, socks, underwear, and basically any garment that receives a lot of wear and tear. These attributes make Modal an excellent fiber for yarn. Shine Worsted Weight Yarn, for example, is a blend of Modal and Pima cotton.
Modal is synthesized from the wood of the American beech tree. Because of its natural hardness and durability, beechwood is often used in furniture, tool handles, and yes, even knitting needles. Beech nuts are edible, and can be ground and made into a coffee-like drink. Beech nuts can also be made into natural dyes for yarns and fabrics. What do you know?
In conclusion, the American beech tree has made great contributions to the fiber industry in a number of ways. So, next time you spy a beech tree, and stop and give it a hug; if you’re into that kind of thing. Fertilizer is good, too.
**Knitpicks.com Shine Worsted is made with Modal and Pima Cotton!
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**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.