Bamboo yarn is made with bamboo grass that is harvested and distilled into cellulose that is then spun into the yarn. Bamboo yarn is considered an eco-friendly fabric.
Bamboo knitting yarn is a relatively new entry in the knitting world, but it has become quite popular very quickly and with good reason. Bamboo is a beautiful natural fiber that wears well, brings a little bit of luxury to the item, and is often considered naturally antibacterial.
Bamboo yarn, when not mixed with unnatural fibers, is biodegradable, and many of the choices on the market are dyed with more natural dyes that are safer for the environment.
Bamboo is a renewable resource that can be harvested without killing the plant, and it only takes a few months before the plant is ready to be harvested again. While it grows, the plants help prevent soil erosion and conserves water. That makes it an environmentally friendly choice.
But if you are seeking an environmentally conscious material, be careful with your choice. Not all companies use environmentally safe methods when producing bamboo yarn. Like with any other manufactured item, research the company’s methods before you buy it to make sure the company’s processing technology is environmentally safe.
Antibacterial and Hypoallergenic
Bamboo fabric is naturally antibacterial. Bamboo materials inhibit bacteria growth, while other fabrics, like wool, may encourage growth. Bacteria mixed with sweat is what causes bodily odor on clothing.
Also, if you have allergies to wool and other types of yarn, no worries if you’re working with bamboo. Bamboo is a plant-based fiber that has no risk of allergies. If you are not using 100 percent bamboo yarn, check what the bamboo yarn is blended with, since you might have an allergy to one of the other fibers.
Bamboo also has ultraviolet protective properties that may protect wearers from harmful sun rays. Fabric knitted with bamboo is breathable and has great drape.
Bamboo has a good luster, similar to mercerized cotton. Bamboo is strong, flexible, and can be softer than silk when spun into yarn.
Pitfalls Using Bamboo Yarn
Bamboo yarn loses strength when it is wet and swells considerably in water. The yarn may not be very cohesive. Some brands of bamboo yarn may split much more than others. Bamboo fabric may need to be hand-washed (check the yarn label), so it may not be the best choice for things that need to be washed frequently.
Tips for Working With Bamboo Yarn
If the antibacterial property is something you are looking for, stick with a 100 percent bamboo yarn or choose one that has at least 70 percent bamboo for best results. Bamboo is often combined with other fibers like cotton and rayon.
Knit slowly at first to avoid splitting. Use blunt-ended needles to cut down on the splitting. Consider using bamboo needles, which are similar to wood needles, but actually stronger, less expensive, and split yarn less than other types of needles.
If you're looking for strength in the fabric but are using a fine bamboo yarn, try knitting with two strands held together.