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Fleece and Fibre Festival Latest Batts from Chaotic Fibres New fibres for felting and spinning News from Chaotic Fibres, Victoria, BC

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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felt-feutre Felting Symposium, Penticton BC New product from Chaotic Fibres News from Chaotic Fibres, Victoria, BC Online wool store, Victoria BC Victoria

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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New fibres for felting and spinning New fibres ready from Chaotic Fibres New product from Chaotic Fibres News from Chaotic Fibres, Victoria, BC

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!

 

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Fibres West Fleece and Fibre Festival News from Chaotic Fibres, Victoria, BC News from our Online Store Tools for Felting from Chaotic Fibres

Fibres West 2016 a Success!

Wow … wow … wow! Fibres West 2016 was a blaze of activity and an incredible weekend. It was great to see vendors we had met either at last year’s Fibres West or at other fibre events, and it was terrific to chat with Chaotic customers who had made purchases previously. We had wonderful feedback and such a good time!

wool, silk, specialty fibres online and at fibres west, vancouver
Fibres West 2016

Popular items? Some surprises like Rose Bush fibre sold very well (just as it did last year) and our Bonsai Sprayers for wet felting sold out in the first few minutes of the sale. The Rose Bush fibre is so incredibly soft and luxuriant that it seems to put a spell on anyone who handles it. Speaking of soft, our Yak Top flew off the table!

With this being our second year at Fibres West, more spinners and felters knew to expect lots of varieties of undyed, natural wools. So many of those, like our Polwarth, Gotland, BFL and white Merino, sold quickly. Mulberry, Tussah and Bamboo rovings were popular. Of course, the colour explosion with Merino and Corriedale thrilled a lot of people. No wonder! Our Extra Fine Merino comes in over 35 colours, plus we have the regular Merino Top at 23 micron, the Sugar Candy and Super Fine Merino!

Dyed wool roving for spinning and felting
Mercury Space-Dyed

Looking for colour? Our Space-Dyed Roving drew lots of attention. And, it’s still on sale at 25% off the regular price of $10.00 per 100g until the end of the month. Earth, Mercury, Neptune and Saturn – great colours that spin up nicely!

Lightning Merino 23m Trilobal Nylon 70-30
Coming soon – Merino/Trilobal Nylon 70/30. Sizzling!

The 100 Mile Fleece and Fibre Festival in Coombs comes up next. It’s on Sunday, May 29th from 9:30 – 3:30 at the Bradley Centre. We had to miss this one last year so we are looking forward to seeing our Mid-Island customers … and finding some new ones. We’ve heard very good things about this event!

So, Sharon is busy placing orders with our suppliers and stock will be arriving starting next week. Watch our New Arrivals page in our online store for new products like the exciting, Lightning Merino with a dash of Rainbow Trilobal Nylon!

Have you tried felting? We keep learning more about feltmaking and have just launched a new page on The Story of Felting. Early Chinese boats made of felt, feltmakers of Pompeii, the origin of needle felting as an artform. It’s an amazing story! Have you read it? What did you think?

 

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News from Chaotic Fibres

Come see us at Fibrations!

Five days to go. We hope you will pop by our booth and say hi to us at Victoria’s annual outdoor fibre event.

Fibrations takes place at its new venue in Robert Porter Park beside Sir James Douglas School near the corner of Fairfield Road and Moss Street. This one day event is on Sunday, August 16th from 10am until 4pm.

Count on seeing some fabulous colours, some unique fibres and great blends for felting, spinning and knitting. Here’s a partial list: Italian Merino 19 micron in about ten colours, very popular Rose Bush Fibre, close to twenty colours of Pulled Sari Silk, over 25 colours of Maori, Merino Bamboo Top, Baby Camel/Silk, Sari Silk Ribbon Yarn, Wensleydale Locks, Slubs, Nepps, Mulberry Silk Noil, some of Sharon’s luxurious and exotic Hand Carded Batts.

Felting tools like our Bonsai Sprayers and Palm Washboards as well as unique items like dyed felt balls, silk carrier rods and Mulberry Bark will be at our booth for you. Lots more that we could bring so let us know if you have a special item you’d like to see at #Fibrations.

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News from Chaotic Fibres

Chaotic Fibres, a successful fibre weekend in Vancouver

Thank you, Fibres West! We had a very busy and successful time at Vancouver’s biggest fibre event, meeting many fibre enthusiasts from all over BC, including the Interior, Vancouver Island, Northern BC as well as Washington State, Alberta and Ontario. It was nice putting faces to the names of people we had spoken with or had emailed recently, and it was fun meeting other vendors and having brief moments to chat about their products, lives and future plans.

In our networking chats it was mentioned a few times that we should be looking at going to the Olds Fibre Week in mid June. The workshops for felting, spinning, dyeing and other fibre enterprises look so inviting, and the masters’ programs for spinning and weaving should draw great interest. We’ve made some preliminary inquiries to see how we could manage the logistics of getting ourselves and our products to Olds and will decide in the next few days. Love to do it if we can!

So, what was hot at Fibres West? The word spread quickly about our Rose Bush Fibre Top. It’s a new fibre, and, as far as we know, we were the only vendor selling it. People came up and tried to smell it and had to, of course, feel it. There’s no scent, but it feels like melting butter! Bonsai Sprayers sold out quickly, especially when Fiona Duthie told her felting workshop participants that we had them for sale. Again, we were the only vendor offering the product. Our new Mulberry Bark also kept us busy. It’s so versatile and has such great possibilities for feltmaking embellishment.

We had lots of questions about the source for many of our products like the Mulberry Bark (is it really bark?!), Silk Carrier Rods, Rose Bush Fibre and Banana Fibre, and most were amazed that many of these fibres have been used for beautiful garments for hundreds of years. 

We learned lots, and we seemed to have introduced a few new ideas for people interested in fibres. If you visited our booth, chatted with us or made a purchase from Chaotic Fibres at Fibres West, thank you for making the weekend a successful and enjoyable one for us!

Chaotic Fibres at Fibres West 2015
Chaotic Fibres at Fibres West 2015