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 What is the warmest fiber?
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pressly
New Pal

43 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2005 :  09:37:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit pressly's Homepage Send pressly a Private Message
I saw a thread about alpaca being warmer than wool but I'm wondering if that trumps cashmere? I've got a bad repetitive stress injury going and want to make fingerless gloves to keep my hands and wrists warm. I've got some cashmere and I've got alpaca... I've also got just about everything else (angora?) Does anyone have an opinion on which would be the warmest fiber?

Lissa
Permanent Resident

USA
4942 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2005 :  10:09:53 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lissa's Homepage Send Lissa a Private Message
I believe that quiviut is the warmest fiber, but I'm not certain. Alpaca and cashmere are not quite as warm, but are still much warmer than wool.

Lissa

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a
revolutionary act. -- George Orwell


Oh, and I now have a blog:http://knittnlissa.typepad.com/knittnlissa/
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Valk_scot
Permanent Resident

United Kingdom
1281 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2005 :  10:55:19 AM  Show Profile Send Valk_scot a Private Message
I doubt that there`s much warmth difference between fibres for a garment like fingerless gloves.Why not make one pair in each of alpaca, cashmere and angora and report back?

Val.

[img]http://smileys.smileycentral.com/cat/26/26_9_21.gif[/img]
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sallyjo
Permanent Resident

USA
2401 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2005 :  10:57:15 AM  Show Profile Send sallyjo a Private Message
Which one draws moisture away best? That's important,too, I suspect. My grandmother knitted knee-warmers for herself out of wool, back in the dark ages of Lee Ward's, and they helped her tremendously. Since you're already dealing with repetitive stress, I'd go with the one that's easiest to work with. Or the one that's fluffiest, to make your hands feel safe.

"We all have our strengths and our weaknesses."
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clover
Chatty Knitter

USA
147 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2005 :  12:09:20 PM  Show Profile Send clover a Private Message
I second qiviut! Altho I don't know about making fingerless gloves out of it.... actually, the more I think about it, the more I think 'why not?'. They'd be great inside of winter mittens, too.
I also think mohair is incrediably warm but that might be just because it's itchy (to me) and the irritation makes me hot. I love how weightless it is.
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pjkite
Permanent Resident

1198 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2005 :  12:25:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit pjkite's Homepage  Send pjkite a Yahoo! Message Send pjkite a Private Message
I wear a pair of handspun fingering-weight alpaca fingerless gloves at work when my hands get cold or as glove liners on really cold days. Quite warm, very soft and comforting and lightweight.

Pamela Kite
East Tennessee
http://fiberlife.blogspot.com/

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fmarrs
Guardian angel

USA
9776 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2005 :  1:09:10 PM  Show Profile Send fmarrs a Private Message
Alpaca is a hollow fiber which makes it warmer than fibers that are not hollow. I believe quiviut is also hollow, but wool and cashmere are not. There are other things to consider in making something warmer such as the tightness of the knitting and whether it is flat knitting or textured knitting. I wear a pair of alpaca fingerless gloves and they are so warm I am unable to wear them for more than an hour at a time. I have several in different fibers and weights and as one gets too warm, I go down to another ending up with a cotton lacy pair.

fran

http://www.geocities.com/martian_mischief/
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LittleMousling
Permanent Resident

USA
1093 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2005 :  4:06:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit LittleMousling's Homepage Send LittleMousling a Private Message
Another quiviut vote, but alpaca's the easy-to-find, relatively cheap substitute.

I made (fingered) gloves out of Fortissima colori (75% S. wool, 25% nylon) recently and they're great fall gloves, but definitely not warm enough for serious winter wear. So, although pure wool would step that up a bit, I think alpaca's your best bet. In fact, I'm knitting myself alpaca gloves as soon as the holiday knitting's done!

-Molly, obsessive but not exclusive socknitter
Stash photos and some FOs
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Wen
Permanent Resident

Australia
3244 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2005 :  6:41:25 PM  Show Profile  Visit Wen's Homepage Send Wen a Private Message
Possum evidently - the fibres are hollow and therefore have fabulous insulating abilities. It is available blended with merino from NZ companies.

Wen

2005 stats: 7 FO, 9 WIP, 1 frogpond.
http://photos.yahoo.com/whdayus
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LittleMousling
Permanent Resident

USA
1093 Posts

Posted - 11/29/2005 :  8:05:07 PM  Show Profile  Visit LittleMousling's Homepage Send LittleMousling a Private Message
Oooh, I do love love love possum. And it's indeed very warm - my possum mittens are a bit too toasty, in fact! After two times out (and hot hands) I decided to clean them back up and donate them to someplace with even colder winters than we get. Hmm. Hope that doesn't happen with the alpaca ... or for the OP!

-Molly, obsessive but not exclusive socknitter
Stash photos and some FOs
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Julie914
Gabber Extraordinaire

481 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2005 :  1:32:40 PM  Show Profile  Visit Julie914's Homepage Send Julie914 a Private Message
Another vote for Qiviut here, but something else to think of - how do the fibers WEAR? They'll be on your hands, after all, and hands are high-use. Cashmere's notoriously fragile, and I hear Qiviut is too. I'm betting alpaca would be your best choice.

Julie

I'd try recreational drugs, but they'd cut into my yarn budget.
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pressly
New Pal

43 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2005 :  3:48:50 PM  Show Profile  Visit pressly's Homepage Send pressly a Private Message
Julie--good point on the use issue--one I hadn't considered. My hands were aching from the suggestion to knit all three and report back!! I'm barely going to be able to crank out the one pair given the small gauge. I always feared that my daily intense knitting combined with computer job could endanger my hands--and it's an ongoing struggle especially in the winter. Ladies, be sure to LISTEN to your hands--when they begin to tingle or ache, stop knitting! Try to stretch them too before beginning that fine motor work. Have books or mags on hand to quench your appetite when you have to stop. I hate skipping a day but if you end up with permanent damage THEN what will you do? I'm only 36 and and have been knitting 19 years before this surfaced. Thanks for the info, I think I'll try the alpaca...
Leanne
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steff13
Chatty Knitter

USA
348 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2005 :  6:39:56 PM  Show Profile Send steff13 a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wen

Possum evidently - the fibres are hollow and therefore have fabulous insulating abilities. It is available blended with merino from NZ companies.

Wen



Excuse my ignorance, but are possums in New Zealand different than the possums we have in the US? When you say possum, I think of what I see in my backyard, which is an animal that is essentially an overgrown rat with a long prehensile tail. I am thinking the NZ variety may be different?

I have a blog! http://steff13.blogspot.com/
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Wen
Permanent Resident

Australia
3244 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2005 :  6:53:17 PM  Show Profile  Visit Wen's Homepage Send Wen a Private Message
No, they are treated as vermin in NZ, not sure of the actual breed. They imported them from Aus and they have no natural predators so the population is out of control and they eat all the trees.

Google possum yarn and you will see some sites that explain the yarn and its history.

Wen

2005 stats: 7 FO, 9 WIP, 1 frogpond.
http://photos.yahoo.com/whdayus
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steff13
Chatty Knitter

USA
348 Posts

Posted - 11/30/2005 :  7:35:37 PM  Show Profile Send steff13 a Private Message
quote:
Originally posted by Wen

No, they are treated as vermin in NZ, not sure of the actual breed. They imported them from Aus and they have no natural predators so the population is out of control and they eat all the trees.

Google possum yarn and you will see some sites that explain the yarn and its history.

Wen



Aww, the NZ possums are so cute! Not at all rat-like, like our ugly US possums. I feel bad that they are such a pest and have to be controlled.

I have a blog! http://steff13.blogspot.com/
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knittingbaglady
Permanent Resident

USA
1207 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2005 :  04:22:12 AM  Show Profile Send knittingbaglady a Private Message
RABBIT RABBIT!!!


Really.

Martha.

http://www.greenmountainknittingbags.com/
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Lissa
Permanent Resident

USA
4942 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2005 :  09:23:03 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lissa's Homepage Send Lissa a Private Message
In case the responses weren't clear, yes, NZ possums are an entirely different...er...animal from US possums.

Lissa

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a
revolutionary act. -- George Orwell


Oh, and I now have a blog:http://knittnlissa.typepad.com/knittnlissa/
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MMario
Permanent Resident

2211 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2005 :  09:39:12 AM  Show Profile Send MMario a Private Message
well - according to the web - Alpaca, Cashmere, vicuna, Qiviut, and angora all claim to be the warmest natural fiber on earth. The highest figures I've seen say about 7 times warmer then wool - and I've seen that for all the above fibers.

MMario - I don't live in the 21st century - but I play a character who does.
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Andy
Seriously Hooked

USA
774 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2005 :  09:44:41 AM  Show Profile Send Andy a Private Message
Nobody mentioned knitting it larger and felting it. I noticed a 100% or more increase in the warmth of felted wool. I knitted a sweater in a 3x and felted it to a size 16 or 18 and it was wonderful! (I happened to knit a very long sweater with very long sleeves so it worked, since felting works most on length more than width.) Another way to get the same *loft* is to buy fibers that are spun *woolen*, not *worsted*. The difference is shown in not looking shiny, the fibers do not lie evenly next to each other, but look a little tangled and spun-up-together. That allows a lot of air to insulate your hands, like the felting does. Also if you are having trouble because you are having to knit with small needles, it can be done larger and felt it down to the smaller size! Some fibers, however, don't felt well. Also some fibers don't spin from carding for woolen (not worsted) style because they are so long. Shorter fibers such as possum (I LOVE the USA possums, just look under my house in the winter!) or rabbit card because they are short, so they would work. You might get someone to make you enough yarn to do gloves from the spinning forum here. Carding up a blend might get all the qualities you want into your yarn. Myself, I'm not a perfect spinner, and you need someone with a very good control of softness to get the perfect *handle* to the yarn if it is worn on the hands.

Give Coleridge credit for saying that people most often err in what they condemn and are nearest the truth in what they allow.
http://www.livejournal.com/users/shuvani11/
Andy-wommon
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RobA
Permanent Resident

2373 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2005 :  09:52:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit RobA's Homepage Send RobA a Private Message
From out in left field -- folks who have spun dog hair or blends of dog hair and wool report that the yarn is almost too warm to wear! Check out the Chiengora site.

Rob http://roberta.typepad.com/robknits/
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jaymeKnits
Permanent Resident

USA
1353 Posts

Posted - 12/01/2005 :  10:56:15 AM  Show Profile  Send jaymeKnits a Yahoo! Message Send jaymeKnits a Private Message
I would vote for an angora alpaca blend but I have a seriously deblitating weakness for anything angora. I wouldn't do 100% angora though because it will shed a lot and /or get REALLY fuzzy and you don't want to deal with that on your hands. The loft is what gives angora it's warmth.

Jayme
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