One of my first experiences with bamboo fiber came in the form of yarn. As an avid fiber artist, my yarn addiction compels me to peruse the shelves and bins of every yarn shop in a three county radius. These shopping expeditions consist of me poking, prodding, and petting countless skeins of yarn until I find one specimen that I simply cannot put down. The day I fell in love with a nubby, sage green bamboo yarn is a day I will never forget. Having knitted with wool and cotton for years, bamboo seemed like an exotic treat. I was completely fascinated that the same material that was durable enough to create human dwellings could create a fiber that rivaled silk in luster and texture. Three skins of that yarn came home with me and were soon transformed into a charming pixie cap.
Since that time, I have created a wide variety of projects with bamboo and bamboo blend yarns. Due to its amazing beauty bamboo is always a treat to work with, but like all fibers it is not ideal for every project. For starters, 100% bamboo and bamboo silk and/or cotton blends tend to split easily making them less than ideal for beginning artists. They can even be a challenging stitch for intermediate artist and are best worked using wood or bamboo needles/hooks. Additionally, most bamboo yarns are hand wash only and do not lend themselves well to the creation of children’s clothing.
Unlike bamboo fabric, bamboo yarn is readily available on the retail market. Chain craft stores and yarn shops usually have at least a small selection, while there are online stores that carry vast selections. Two of the best online selections I have found are Yarn and Bamboo Fabric Store. Buying on line will never replace to joy of wandering through a yarn shop, but it is a viable option when looking for specialty items. Whenever possible, choose to have your purchases delivered by the USPS. They have an impressive green initiative and their carriers will be stopping by your house six days a week anyway, so your delivery does not require the use of additional resources.
To read more about the properties of bamboo as a fiber read my archived post ’bout Bamboo.