Saturday, July 5, 2008

What about lyocell?

When I share my concerns about viscose-process rayon (including rayon made from bamboo), I occasionally get questions about lyocell (probably better known under the brand name Tencel®). Generally speaking, it is a better choice, since it is sustainable (made from wood pulp from farmed trees), low-polluting (the chemicals used in manufacturing it are captured and re-used) and recyclable (just like other cellulosic materials such as paper). Still, it helps to know the drawbacks in case they might be a concern to you. It doesn't take dyes and finishes as easily as rayon, and that means that manufacturers might opt for processes not friendly to people with chemical sensitivities.

7 comments:

Nora Howley said...

What do you know about the new milk based yarns? I just got some from my "yarn club" and am curious.

Jo Paoletti said...

Good question! It's very new and I can't find much of the information I need. So I asked one of the manufacturers -- http://www.cyarn.com -- "Does milk fiber divert milk from the food supply or does it use milk products that would be otherwise discarded?" I'll share their reply and whatever else I can find as soon as I can.

Nora Howley said...

I just emailed the same question to Kollage Yarns. I will also share if I get an answer.

Laurie said...

Question:
If Lycocell is chemically identical to rayon, why *doesn't* it take the dyes as well? I ask only because rayon takes color so beautifully....

I don't do much dye work myself, but love the drape of rayon challis (for a number of things! Have made many dance dresses from this stuff!). I'd happily move to Tencel/lycocell on an ethical/environmental basis, but I have to confess -- I do love my saturated colors. So, any thoughts on the "whys" behind the differences?

Laurie in Mpls.
Who is trying really hard to use her stash before getting more! ;)

Jo Paoletti said...

Though both are regenerated cellulose, fiber made with the viscose process (rayon) has more sites on its molecules available for bonding (dyes and other finishes) than fiber made using the lyocell process. A friend of mine who creates and sells hand-painted yarns for the knitting market says she dyes lyocell as if it were polyester and gets nice, saturated colors. (That probably also has its drawbacks, but still not as bad or as long-lasting as viscose production.) I hope to learn more at the conference/workshop next week, and will report back.

Laurie -- good luck on depleting your stash. I wish I had a cute little animated stash tracker to visualize my progress.

Nora Howley said...

As another attempting to deplete her yarn stash (and the yarn club ain't helping), I joined the summer of stash group in Ravelry. Good moral support.

Nora Howley said...

So here is what I got from Kollage about Creamy

'Thanks for your interest! Good question. Many people have concerns about food supply and products created from stuff we should be eating. You will be happy to know Creamy and our other newfangled food (corn and soybean) yarns are all made from by-products, not actual eating food or milk. Or the way you put it, these are made from "products that would be otherwise discarded."'