THIS.  This is the absolute secret of why any given fiber behaves the way it does and why you can’t make it behave like a different fiber.  This is what they look like under a microscope.

Do you see how with all the animal fibers they look kind of like scales stacked on top of one another?  Those scales are everything.  They act like hooks with the other fiber.  When the yarn isn’t felted, they hook up and un hook randomly, which is exactly why an animal fiber is both so warm and can still breath.  When animal fiber is felted (and it’s the ONLY fiber you can felt), it’s those hooks doing the action.  They link up and the combination of soap, hot water, and agitation makes the formation much more permanent.

You can also see the differences in the specific kinds of animal fiber.  Take a look at the two on the right hand side.  They’re both wool.  But one’s coarse and one’s fine.  You can see that there’s a huge difference between the two.  It’s exactly why a coarse wool, or rug wool, doesn’t act like merino and merino doesn’t act like a coarse wool.  

The plant fibers, linen and cotton have a little bit of roughness, which allows for microscopic variations in the yarn, which allows it to breath.  It’s exactly why a cotton or linen dress in the summer is so nice.  But because it lacks the scales of the animal fiber, it can’t hook up to hold in the heat when the cold weather hits.

And polyester… polyester is the same thing as acrylic or nylon or rayon.  The exact same stuff.  On the microscopic level, there is no difference.  Which means there is no difference in how the eventual fabric behaves.  Think about this… do you like wearing polyester?  It’s kind of icky, isn’t it?

Synthetic fibers lack variation in the microscopic structure of the fiber.  Because of that, it can’t create the space for air flow.  It doesn’t breathe.  And it can’t trap in heat because it doesn’t have the scales to trap in the air.  It’s just there.

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Discover How to Crochet A Giant Circular Rug

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This was breakfast — 1/2 cup 2% cottage cheese, a delicious Page tangerine, one tablespoon of chopped walnuts, a sliced kiwi, a few grapes, and two whole grain crackers. Perfect.

I’ve been looking for a short-term theme to run on this site and yesterday it hit me that I might as well make it breakfast. For the next five days you’ll see what I eat each morning.

Breakfast is an important meal of the day and I rarely skip it, but I knew I could do better than my typical small sandwich wolfed down over our kitchen sink. I’m not embarking on a diet or a weight loss program. I won’t be the poster child for healthy meals. The goal will be for me to bring a little cheer and variety to my mornings.

One down and four to go! Do you have any suggestions?

Week 3 of the #YearOfStitch : Fly Stitch

Heyyyy girl hey that’s a pretty fly stitch.

I’m sorry I can’t help myself…with a name like fly stitch how can you?

I’m officially obsessed with this stitch. This week we will learn the most basic of fly stitches and in the coming year we will build on it with all sorts of fancy things so learn it and learn it well. 

We’ll start with the photo tutorial (pay super close attention to step 3 because that’s where your success hinges):

How about an illustration too?

Here’s how it looks when you just stitch as taught:

BUT, after you master the basic version you should start playing around it. Have some fun! See how on the left I started moving the stitches out wide or in close to the “stem”… then I went crazy:

Right?! Get crazy with it people! Perhaps you will also notice that I incorporated our first two stitches into this one…the cross stitch and the backstitch. Ooooooohhhhh Aaaaaahhhhh. 

Happy Stitching My Peeps

Shannon