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Chaotic Fibres adding Giant Himalayan Stinging Nettle fibre soon to Online Store

Stinging nettles … who would think!

Himalayan stinging nettle fibre for spinning woolOne of the luxuries of having a fibre business is getting to play with all kinds of fibres and blends. Our latest fascination is with Giant Himalayan Stinging Nettle fibre that will be coming to our Online Store in the next few days. Have you tried spinning or felting with Rose Bush Fibre, Hemp, Ramie or other bast fibres? You may want to try our Stinging Nettle!

According to the Center for Sustainable Fashion, Giant Himalayan Stinging Nettle from the mid range of the Himalayas in Nepal is the longest of natural fibres. The fibre is strong, fine and elastic. Sharon is looking forward to experimenting with spinning and blending this exceptional fibre. From our reading so far, it seems that it will spin and blend very nicely!

This isn’t like your backyard, pain-in-the-backside stinging nettle. Giant Himalayan Stinging Nettle grows amazingly quickly, reaching heights of three metres in a year in Nepal and India. Local farmers have been harvesting this crop for centuries as a source of fibre, food and for the plant’s many medicinal properties.

online wool store stinging nettle fibre for spinnersThe Nepalese locals cut stalks at the base, leaving the rootstock to develop new, vigorous growth. As stewards of this vibrant ecosystem, locals know this harvesting practice will stabilize the hillsides and help prevent landslides. The nettle industry also protects the region from deforestation since these plants depend on a bit of shade for optimal growth. Local farmers harvest the crop and process the fibre sustainably without the use of pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides or other chemicals.

In other parts of the world, stinging nettle has been used traditionally for many centuries. Aboriginal groups of the Pacific Coast used nettle as food, medicine, netting lines and clothing. Even the Ancient Greeks and Druids cherished their local stinging nettle for its medicinal qualities. But nothing compares to the fine and luscious fibre our supplier has created from the incomparable Giant Himalayan Stinging Nettle. Come and see it at our next fibre festivals: Fibres West in Vancouver, 100 Mile Fleece and Fibre Festival in Coombs and the 2017 ANWG Conference at the University of Victoria!

himalayan giant stinging nettle for spinning and felting from Chaotic Fibres online store
Giant Himalayan Stinging Nettle drying in Nepal.
Chaotic Fibres stinging nettle for spinning and felting online sore
Nepalese farmers hauling stinging nettle to road after retting and drying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Chaotic Fibres at Fibrations this weekend!

Doing some final prep and product selection for this Sunday’s Fibrations event at Robert Porter Park behind Sir James Douglas School in Victoria’s fabulous Fairfield neighbourhood.

As has become the case, we have way too many fibres and products to be able to bring everything, but we hope to cover what local felters, spinners and other fibre lovers are expecting. We’ve had some special requests and a few orders are ready for customers to pick up at the fibre festival. Let us know if you’d like to see something special and we’ll set it aside for you. With Felt::Feutre2016 coming up in 4 weeks, we’ve some really neat, new fibres that we can show off this weekend.

Chaotic Fibres online specialty fibres, Victoria BCDon’t forget to get your tickets for the door prizes! Sharon has just carded these beauties – seven raging batts each with a blend of at least five luxury fibres, including merino, silk, ramie, alpaca and more!

Here’s a heads up of just a few products we’ll be taking to Fibrations. Let us know if you’d like something special or order ahead and we’ll have it ready for you on Sunday!

All things felting: prefelt in many colours, ball browsers (bonsai sprayers), felting pads for needle felters, acid dyes in brown, grey and violet, bamboo felting mats, needles. We’ve set aside loads of silk: cocoons, lap, sliver, pulled sari, mulberry and tussah. We’ll bring small quantities of wool roving from 22 breeds such as Merino, Corriedale, Polwarth, BFL. Lots more here if you want larger quantities!

Look for some specialty fibres like angelina (8 colours!), yak, mohair, baby alpaca, hemp, ramie, camel, as well as blends like our camel and tussah silk (yum!!), merino/suri alpaca. Have you tried bamboo? We now have 9 colours including the stunning Black Diamond.

The weather looks like it will be perfect for an outdoor event on Sunday. Hope to see you there!

Fibrations detail

Fibrations 2016.jpg

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Chaotic Fibres, Victoria new products

Just over three weeks to Fibrations and we’re excited! This will be our second year with this iconic outdoor fibre event here in Victoria. Set your calendar for Sunday, August 21st and head to Robert Porter Park just off Moss Street – the same location as last year near the Fairfield Gonzales Community Place. This is a one day event so don’t miss out.

Sharon has been busy ordering from our amazing suppliers in Europe and Asia for both Fibrations and for the five day international felting symposium, Felt::Feutre 2016, which comes up in September. Recent shipments have totalled over 120 kilos of spectacular product and it’s all online and ready for sale now. Have a look!

IMG_1115With lots of new products included in recent shipments, it’s hard to pick out the favourites or most interesting. We hope felters will go wild over our Extra Fine Merino minis. We now have over 20 colours available in ‘mini’ size of 20 grams as well as the typical 100 gram packs for those looking for larger quantities. The minis are perfect for felters looking to increase their stash to more easily create lovely nuanced colours in projects. Look for these on our Felting Supplies page.

New and glorious fibres: White Baby Alpaca that’s as soft as cashmere, Baby Camel/Bleached Tussah Silk, some Merino/Alpaca/Camel/Silk and lovely BFL/Seacell, Hemp and lots more! Check out our New Arrivals page for these products and other recent shipments.

Speaking of Seacell and Hemp. We are often asked about fibres like these as well as Rose Bush Fibre, Ramie and Bamboo. What exactly are they and where do these fibres come from? Seacell is an interesting one. Seaweed is involved but only as a smallish component of this cellulose fibre. Seacell is a cellulose fibre that begins with hardwood logs chipped and processed to soften to a wet pulp and remove lignins, which give wood strength and rigidity. Seaweed is added and the cellulose solution is pumped through spinnerets to create the fibre we find as Seacell.

What else is new? We now have Eurolana acid dyes for wool, silk and other protein fibres. The dyes are available in three colours: Violet, Brown and Grey. Each 10g pot of luscious colour will dye 1 kg of fibre!

Manx Loaghtan wool from Chaotic Fibres online storeA new wool to us is the Manx Loaghtan which we offer in roving. This dramatic looking, multi-horned sheep is native to the Isle of Man. The wool (29 – 31 microns) is an excellent fibre for felting and spinning. It’s good to see this rare breed gaining popularity as there were only approximately 40 animals in existence when the Manx National Heritage group became involved in protecting the breed.

Come and see us at Fibrations or make the trek to Penticton for Felt::Feutre to see the felting exhibition ‘Migration’, shop at the fabulous felting supplies marketplace or take advantage of one of the popular feltmaking workshops.

 

 

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Yakkity Yak … Chaotic Fibres goes nomadic

What’s new and exciting? The world of fibre is unfolding like a rare, beautiful flower, opening slowly with the world waiting breathlessly to create magical gardens.

Yak fibre for spinning and felting from Chaotic Fibres, Victoria, BC, CanadaWhat’s old is new again. Yak has become popular – easy to understand when you feel this soft (15 to 19 micron) and amazing fibre. So many great characteristics: warmer than wool and as soft as cashmere; odourless; non-allergenic and anti-microbial so bacteria from sweat doesn’t hold on and grow in the fibre; and it’s a sustainable, ethical product that supports the traditional nomadic way of life of Mongolian herders that has a history of over a thousand years!

Two great YouTube videos highlight the reasons for supporting the yak fibre industry: Kate Humble’s  wonderful 2015 documentary on her experiences living with a family of Mongolian nomadic herders and Nancy Johnston’s short video, Tengri, that raises the alarm about threats to nomadic lifestyles. Kate Humble has three documentary programs on living with nomadic families, the Mongolian segment with sheep and goat herders, another on Siberian nomads and a third on Nepali herdersRamie, a bast fibre for spinning available for sale from Chaotic Fibres online store.

Chaotic Fibre’s shipment of Ramie fibre is now in and the new stock has been loaded on our Online Store. This is a bast fibre created from the stalks of plants, giving it the texture, lustre and working characteristics similar to Bamboo and Rose Bush fibre. Like Yak, this fibre has been valued and used for centuries. Archaeologists have discovered Ramie fabric on 6000 year old Egyptian mummies.

We have ten striking colours in stock, including the vibrant Caipirinha and the regal Theatre. Lovely! If you’re aiming for a special colour, we also have White so you can dye to your heart’s content.

Although it has not been used by exotic, traditional cultures for thousands of years like Yak and Ramie, Maori wool is a great choice for feltmaking. Maori is a combination of Coopworth and Corriedale. The fibres are strong (27 microns) and short (about 5cm) so this wool works well for both wet and needle felting. We currently have 15 colours in stock. Have a look!