Friday, June 7, 2013

Yarn for my Tea

a : a sweet crystallizable material that consists wholly or essentially of sucrose, is colorless or white when pure tending to brown when less refined, is obtained commercially from sugarcane or sugar beet and less extensively from sorghum, maples, and palms, and is important as a source of dietary carbohydrate and as a sweetener and preservative of other foods
b : any of various water-soluble compounds that vary widely in sweetness, include the monosaccharides and oligosaccharides, and typically are optically active

While on vacation last summer I ducked (alright, I dragged my mother, sisters and daughter) into a  yarn shop.  As I perused the yarn I was drawn to a particular skein's color variation, reading the label I found that the fiber was made from 100% sugar cane.  I had always just associated sugar with something I shouldn't eat too much of, or what my Southern branch of the family used to create "Sweet Tea".  Once I started researching sugar cane I found a multitude of creations and uses for this plant []. One of my favorite creations being yarn.
image courtesy of

 'When the fluid used to make edible sugar is extracted from sugar cane, there is fibrous plant material left over, called the bagasse. In a process referred to as the viscose process, the bagasse is shredded, broken down, and shot (while in liquid form) at high pressure through small holes. The long strand of fiber is then solidified and spun into yarn, and dyed to add color.'

Read the full text here:
--brought to you by mental_floss! 
While I would never consider dipping a hand knit shawl in my tea, over the last year Araucania's Ruca yarn, which is 100% sugar cane, has become one of my favorite yarns to knit with.  The colors range from soft neutrals to vibrant primaries. Light in weight, Ruca's texture is so very soft, providing a beautiful drape.  I keep finding that this yarn lends itself very well to lace, it blocks beautifully.  The gauge calls for a US 4-7 needle but I have used US 8's to knit shawls with and they have turned out lovely.  Who knew that sugar wore so well?!

Left and upper middle : Ruca color # 7 Print O'The Wave Stole by Eunny Jang
Middle: Ruca # 7
Bottom middle and right: Ruca #1 Gail (aka Nightsongs) by MaweLucky/Jane Araujo