Can you picture yourself wearing a garment made from milk? Sounds impossible! In the early 1900’s, a technique using milk casein was invented to make “Milk Fiber”. This milk fiber was used in the 1930’s-1940’s to produce clothing and household items as a replacement for wool (wool was needed during the war for soldiers clothing). Milk casein had earlier been discovered to be a great ingredient for paint too! More recently German Fashion Designer and Microbiologist Anke Domaske was interviewed and photographed with her model wearing Milk Fiber Clothing that she designed… Beautiful!
Unusual Animal Fibers
You may be very familiar with animal fibers being used for yarn. Common ones include Wool, Alpaca, Angora and cashmere. Animal fiber yarns are known for their durability, warmth and elegance. But what about the unusual animal fibers? I wondered how they compared to our common choices. Here are a few that seemed to be great choices from a very long list.
Camel: Specific camels native to Mongolia have very soft, lightweight fur on their underbellies that is used to make an extra warm yarn. This yarn is spun by the native herders and used to make garments worn in the cold winter months.
Muskox: The yarn spun from this hardy animal is extremely durable and warm, 5 times warmer that sheep wool. Unlike regular wool, when washed this fiber does not shrink!
Bison: The Native American Bison has a soft under layer of a downy fur that is shed annually and is spun into a perfect yarn for harsh winter weather!
Domestic Cats and Dogs: Many people collect their pet’s fur and spin it into yarn. You can even find companies that turn your pet fur into yarn for you. Just send your fur collection in. They will spin your pet fur into a skein of yarn and ship it back to you. They will even make a garment for you with your pet yarn!
There are also several well-known plant fibers that are spun into yarn, Cotton and Bamboo top the list. But there are several other plants that make some great and unusual fibers as well.
Seaweed Yarn: Combined with Eucalyptus fiber, this is an organic and renewable resource can also have some healthy benefits for your skin.
Banana Fiber Yarn: Eco-friendly and strong, this makes a nice yarn with a slight sheen.
Sugar Cane Yarn: This silky yarn is another renewable, eco-friendly choice. Like the Banana Fiber Yarn, this also has a nice sheen!
Hemp, Corn, Nettle and Soy fibers can also be spun into yarn and are used in many regions of the world.