Spinning Curds and Whey – Milk Protein Fibre
I bought a new spinning wheel recently-
A Kromski Polonaise from Wingham Woolwork. This is a Ferrari of spinning wheels.
In order to give this new wheel a true test of what it can do, I then went to London’s local weaving centre – located in North London – Handweavers Studio and Gallery where they have a sumptuous selection of hand spinning fibres
There I discovered milk protein fibre top. I had heard of it but had never had the opportunity to test it out. What fun!
Innovative fibres such as milk casein and soya fibre were developed during the early 40’s as a substitute for wool, which was needed by the men on the front line. These virtually faded from existence as other synthetic yarns such as nylon were developed. Some of these fibres are now making a comeback as there is more emphasis on environmentally safe products and eco-friendly textiles.
Milk casein fibre is made by separating the oils and fats from the protein. The curd is rinsed, dried and dissolved to form a ‘dope’ that is pushed through spinnerets into an acid bath that forms the fibre. The fibre goes through further salt and formaldehyde processing to soften and improve the quality.
Because milk casein is a protein fibre it can be dyed with CIBA acid dyes.
I did find the milk fibre very soft and silky to spin. The milk fibre spun up very quickly. I used the smallest whorl on my Kromski Polonaise wheel, using the 20:1 ratio. When using the smaller whorl on the Kromski wheel, don’t forget to turn the bobbin around so that you are using the smaller end of the bobbin.
I am going to leave this yarn as a single spun because I think it would be quite nice to use it as weft in a future weaving project.
How to Ply Yarn to Balance and Correct the Twist
The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook: More Than 200 Fibers, from Animal to Spun Yarn
The Whole Craft of Spinning: From the Raw Material to the Finished Yarn
The Practical Spinner’s Guide – Cotton, Flax, Hemp (Practical Spinner’s Guides)
Spin Flax & Cotton: Traditional Techniques with Norman Kennedy
The Alden Amos Big Book of Handspinning: Being A Compendium of Information, Advice, and Opinions On the Noble Art & Craft
The Knitter’s Book of Wool: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding, Using, and Loving this Most Fabulous Fiber
The Intentional Spinner