Spinning ramie

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Aug 072014
Ramie 2 ply

Ramie 2 ply

I decided to “challenge”  myself for this year’s HdF by spinning fibers that I’ve never worked with before. One of the was ramie, which I bought based on the oh-shinny effect only.

After the package of fiber got here, I did a few searches on Google and on Ravelry, trying to find anything I could about how to spin this fiber.  I didn’t find much, so I did what I thought was the best for it (read: I spun it the way I’m more comfortable).

I decided to write a post about it since there’s so little on the internet about the fiber and how to treat it while spinning.  I hope this post will help someone.

Ramie is a vegetable fiber – you can read about it on Wikipedia, or Google it.  To me, the fiber looks a lot like silk, and kind of feel like it to an extent.  The biggest difference from silk (to me, at least) is that the fibers don’t stick to each other like silk does.

I spun it dry,  using short draft and then plied 2 singles together.  Even though I spun this during a very moist summer in Kansas, there was a lot of fuzz on my clothes and chair after each session of spinning.
Ramie is very easy to draft, and I think that it can take a look of twist (I didn’t try over spinning it, though).  The singles looked and felt like dental floss.

I tried 2 different ways of plying it.  The first was holding both singles in one hand and adding twist.  The second was by holding each singles separately (one in each hand), treadling and then bringing the singles together near the orifice.
I found out that the second method gave me a rounder yarn, but it was over-plied (which tells more about my lack of practice than about how the fiber behaves).

Since I had no idea how to finish this yarn, I boiled it like one would do to linen.  I didn’t see any difference in color, sheen or hand of the yarn once I was done.
The yarn has no give – at all, yet it’s nice to knit with (I’m knitting this pattern and will add an edging from Heirloom knitting to the bottom).  I’m hoping it will become a bit more fuzzy once I put it through the washer.

You can find more pictures and a few more details about it here.  If you have any questions or want me to discuss details I didn’t post here, feel free to leave me a note here or on Rav.

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