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Burning down the blocks

I had a cone of yarn sitting on my craft room desk for weeks. Waiting.


I wanted to do a bleach test and burn test on it to try to identify its fibre content. Once I knew its content I could start thinking about what kind of weaving I wanted to use it for, and use the cones up. Which is definitely a goal for this year.


But for some reason it just wasn't happening. So I sat down for a moment and tried to work out why. I realised that it was the faff that was putting me off. Mucking about in the laundry with little glass jars of bleach and matches was messy and kinda fiddly. So I decided to just do it, but to grab all the other mystery cones of yarn I had and test all of them at once. I explain more about bleach and burn tests in my mystery yarn tour post.


So here's a video of the burn tests!


Disclaimer: If you want to set things on fire in your own home please do so safely. You are responsible for your own safety and the safety of those around you.



Some cool results from the burn test. From this I'm thnking the bright blue slub yarn (Cone #1) is an acrylic, because of the black beads left behind when it burnt, Cone #2 is a blend of cotton and acrylic yarn, with the fibres blended together and then spun, so the fibres are mixed. Cone #3 is one strand of cotton and one strand of acrylic or acrylic/cotton mix, plyed togheter.


On to the bleach test!



Here's the little bottle of bleach and yarn after about half an hour.


Bleach dissolves protein fibre. None of the yarn did the classic fizz and bubble of wool in bleach, so I can rule out wool for all of them.


Fun fact! You know how bleach feels kinda silky on your hands? That's not the feeling of bleach. That's the feeling of your own dissolved dead layer of skin courtesy of the bleach.


You can see the brown yarn is still there, and still brown. You can also see the Cone #2 sample, which is slightly but not fully bleached. But where's Cone #1?


I pulled out the strands to have a closer look.



The brown yarn still has one strand mostly intact and one strand which has frayed a bit. I now think that the frayed strand is cotton/acrylic (because the bleach has clearly affected it a bit) and the solid strand is acrylic (because it's barely changed at all).


The Cone #2 blue strand is stil a bit blue, but also a bit bleached. So I think all 3 strands are a cotton/acrylic mix.


I absolutely could not find any trace of the Cone #1 strand. Strange.


So I broke off another piece and dropped it into the bleach.



And it almost instantly dissolved. Just melted away to nothing in seconds, no bubbles, no fizzing. Just gone.


Super strange.


So that lead me into some googling to find out what Cone #1 is. And it turns out there is a fabric that recoils when ignited, self extinguishes, leaves a black bead once burnt and just dissolves in bleach without bubbling.


It's silk. Cone #1 is 100% silk! It's a very slubby silk made of short fibres, more like this tsumagi silk rather than something you'd embroider with or use for a fine silk shirt. But it's a very unexpected result and now I'm excited to ponder what I can weive with this yarn.

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