Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 Posted in Current Issue, General News, On Sale, Spinning | No Comments »
The mysterious Black Diamond…
Guess what I recently learned? Black Diamond Fiber doesn’t actually come from diamonds. It’s still pretty special though! This almost magical fiber is in fact derived from bamboo; another name for it is Bamboo Carbon Fiber, and it has a lot of the same wonderful characteristics as bamboo. Black diamond fiber absorbs moisture (like sweat) and is antimicrobial so it helps eliminate odor, making it great for socks, active wear, and anything that you’d like to wear close to your skin. This materials is even used in fancy cosmetics and beauty treatments because it has so many unique properties! Like silk, this fiber will keep you warm in winter and cool in summer, and it’s also incredibly soft. The fiber resists pilling, is very durable, and it resists static electricity. Due to having the properties of far-infrared rays (which are used in quite a few different therapeutic treatments), black diamond fiber is also known to promote blood circulation, among other cool things.
I’ve spent enough time ogling this fiber here at the store, so I decided to finally just grab some and get to spinning. The first thing about the black diamond fiber that pulls you in is the steely, almost gunmetal gray color. Then you touch it, and the dry softness of it is fascinating. Almost squeaky when you rub it between your fingers, someone here quite accurately compared it to corn starch. It’s pin straight, very uniform, and is super easy to spin, too. I typically spin my singles at about a fingering weight, but this fiber lends itself really well to lace and thread weight yarns too. I was able to spin a relatively even, very skinny singles with no effort – even on an unfamiliar wheel! Kromski - Symphony Spinning Wheel Walnut
But why stop at just one type of fiber? Typically, when spinning with something unique like this I like to blend it with something a little more familiar. Since the black diamond fiber is washable, I decided to see what would happen if I mixed this dark beauty with some pure white Superwash Merino Wool Top Fiber. Turns out, good things! First, I sat down with the Ashford Joy 2 Spinning Wheel, Double-Treadle to spin a matching singles with the merino.
Next I plied the two together, making a game attempt at keeping the yarn balanced. It isn’t easy, even though lots of spinners make it look so. But the subtle thick and thin parts of each ply creates an almost funhouse effect when you see them spiraling together, and I love it.
After that, I took out the Ashford Blending Board and made myself a nice fat black and white rolag. I decided to make this yarn intentionally thick and thin, and to keep it as a single ply to really show off how the fibers blended together. (You can see the resulting lovely swirled grey yarn in the first photo above.) I chose to spin this on a Louet High-Whorl Drop Spindle for variety’s sake; when you spend an entire day spinning it’s nice to be able to change it up!
As you can see, there’s no limit to what you can do with the black diamond (or bamboo carbon) fiber. It seems mighty strong, so I think it’d make wonderful socks. When I was chain-plying the first single, I couldn’t help but imagine it becoming a slinky summer top. Those are just a few ideas, though. When you spin your own yarn, you can create absolutely anything you want.
At long last, the Black Diamond mystery has been solved. But I’m no less intrigued; the possibilities with this versatile fiber are endless.
Black Diamond Fiber is on sale now until May 1st!
Remember – all our loose fibers are sold by the ounce or the pound, so you can try just a little, or save when you buy a lot!
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