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The textile industry is inventing new fibers at an astonishing rate. Many of these are based on recycled waste materials: tofu liquid, banana plants, sugar cane stalks, and more. The results are often finer and softer than their natural counterparts (silk, cashmere, cotton), and gentler on the environment.

But even if the idea of “synthetics” makes you itch, you’ll want to know about these new offerings – how you can identify them, blend them, dye them, spin them, and use them. Or just toss off fascinating factoids for party conversation. (“Did you know you can knit mittens out of stainless steel and wool, and wear them while you swipe your smart phone?) Patsy Zawistoski has researched a wide range of these fibers in depth, and has used them to spin up beautiful and useful yarns. 

Techniques Demonstrated in Spinning the New Fibers:

  • How to identify mystery fibers with a simple burn test without setting your hair on fire
  • What to look for in a spinner’s market, and why you should buy it now (because it probably won’t be there later)
  • How to spin a garment that will protect you from evil rays
  • How to spin glow-in-the-dark yarn
  • And oh, much more

If you’re purely committed to the good old standbys of wool, silk, cotton, flax, and all their relatives, that’s okay! But open your mind to learning about this brave new world. It’s full of surprises.

About the Expert:

Patsy Sue Zawistoski is an internationally known teacher and lecturer who loves to help spinners turn all manner of fleece and fiber into yarns, from heirloom to contemporary styles. She holds a Master-level Certificate of Excellence (COE) in Handspinning from the Handweavers Guild of America. Her innovative COE topic was spinning novelty yarns for use as warps in weaving, and she continues to explore the “What if?” questions of technique, fiber, and yarn structure, pushing the boundaries of handspinning for herself and her students.