March 2006

Paper Yarn

When searching on the Internet you will find new sources of very interesting yarn that you might not encounter in local yarn shops or even common catalogs. This month I want to talk about paper yarn. This type of yarn is made of handmade paper in Japan.

Handmade paper (Washi paper) in Japan is produced out of the inner bark of three different types of trees, native to Japan. Kozo (Paper Mulberry) gives the yarn its strength, Mitsumata gives it softness, and Gampi gives it color fastness. They are planted in farms, so no forests are damaged for harvesting these trees. Farmer families spend their winters which are slow for farming, producing Washi paper.

Paper is then cut in ribbon like strips which are twisted on the spinning wheel, then used for weaving, knitting, etc. The fabric created out of paper is light and soft. It breaths and feels like linen, perfect choice for summer wear. Considering the fact that Washi paper is used in air-purifying filters, fabrics made of Washi yarn have deodorizing and dust absorbency properties.

The only drawback for Washi yarn is that it can tear easily when wet in rain, but it can be washed. To fix this problem a combination yarn has been produced. In this product paper strips are twisted with polyester filaments to give it more stability.

As we all know paper can be dyed easily. Imagine the possibility of the range of colors for paper yarn. For more information check out the following link:

As you might remember, in our previous newsletter we talked about Organic Wool. NU teacher, JC Briar, informed me that her sweater for "K170 - Top-down Sweater with Set-in Sleeves" class, is made of organic wool. No wonder it so beautiful. She says the yarn was really nice and soft. Unfortunately it is discontinued.

If you have any experience with Washi yarn, please let me know. I will include your comments with your name in our e-newsletter.

Nazanin S. Fard

Needlecraft University

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