September 2010

Milk Yarn

In previous newsletters, I have written about new fibers that are produced from usual, and sometimes from rather unusual sources. This time, I want to write about another one from the latter category, Milk yarn.

Milk yarn is produced from milk protein. First, milk is dried and then skimmed. Using a new bio-engineering technology the protein is turned into a fluid for wet spinning. In wet spinning technique the polymer fiber is turned into fluid to be extruded through small holes and turned into fiber. The manufacturing companies claim that this technique is eco-friendly and does not harm the environment.

The resulting milk fiber is very soft and resembles silk. The fiber contains amino acids which make it antibacterial and antifungal. The pH of milk fiber is very close to the human body and that makes wearing it very comfortable. Milk fiber absorbs dyes quite well. It can be spun alone or combined with wool, cashmere, cotton, and silk.

When milk fiber is combined with other fibers such as silk or cotton, it creates a cool fabric with high water absorbency. This quality makes it perfect for summer wear.

When milk fiber is combined with wool or cashmere it will make the resulting yarn lighter than wool or cashmere alone which makes garments lighter to wear. However, the resulting fabric still will have the warmth of wool and cashmere.

With all these wonderful properties, the question still remains: with so much hunger and malnutrition in the world, is it ethical to make fabric out of a product that can be consumed as a wonderful food? It is for you to decide.

For more information about milk fiber, check out: http://www.teonline.com/articles/2008/11/wear-milk-if-you-cant-drink-it.html

Nazanin S. Fard

Needlecraft University

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