Spinning Pearls

It’s been a roller coaster ride again as usual. I have been dyeing and blending and spinning lots of fibres and oh wait til you see what is in store tonight  !!! 

The teaser label for the March club has been released but just in case you haven’t seen it yet, here it is: 
I just love this painting from  1559 which apparently has about 140plus proverbs hidden in it. The more you look, the more you see. Can you find the woman holding the distaff and the woman spindling? What are they whispering to each other I wonder? 
The March clubs will be ready to ship later next week.
The next quarter starts in April and sign ups for the 2nd Quarter of teh art journey clubs will be closing at the end of this month, so if you haven’t signed up yet, hop to the club section of the shop to secure your spot! If you’d like a combo of two or three different clubs email or message me so you can save on shipping big time! Also, for those of you overseas: there is an option to have all three months shipped at once at the end of the 2nd quarter which can save you lots on shipping cost as well. Just email me if you have any questions.
So if you don’t want to miss out on a monthly parcel of fun and excitement, please go to the club section on the website here
For this blog update I have something very special for you:
Pearl Bunny Tops ! lots of new colourways too like "Cherry Blossoms" , "Lotus Flowers", "Green Fairy” and "Botticelli".

I am especially enthusiastic about this blend that has an amazing new and strange fibre: Chitin. That is pronounced KAI-tin btw, not Shit-in (yes...i am 5...lol)

 Anyhoo, Chitin is one of those elements that I always am on the look out for , just like the stainless steel blend from years ago that I unleashed on all of you. I am always looking outside of the box to combine either technology, science, bizarness, call it what you like, into my special blends. 
This one took a bit of doing and literally years of combining science with the craft of blending different fibres together. But, let me start by explaining what exactly brought me to add shitin ..eh..i mean..Chitin... to my fibre blends ready for handspinning :

Chitin was discovered by the French chemist and pharmacist Henri Braconnot in 1811 and, after cellulose, it's the most important biopolymer in nature.
In fact, it is made of the exoskeleton of insects, shellfish and Shells. Chitin is a polysaccharide. Chemically speaking it looks like a long-chain in which pearls are molecules of N-acetylglucosamine.
The N-glucosamine is a very important substance for the human organism, in fact, it is the precursor of hyaluronic acid and it is used in therapies for the functional recovery of the joints.

Chitin is also widely used in the medical world to make suture wires because it can be degraded by enzymes present in human tissue. It is also used as wound dressing, enormously important to treat burn victims.
 Chitin has a remarkable strength and it accelerates the healing of wounds. (want to delve deeper into some research?

Here are some publications in the international journal of Niological Macromolecules:

As a medical anthropologist, the medical application of a fibre always peaks my interest and so I did some more research. So wait , there is more !

Obviously I will not tell you to eat the Pearl bunny tops, but Chitin has many other applications than medical suture wires and wound dressing.

It is also extensively used in food and pharmaceutical products. It is often used as a food thickener and stabilizer, and it can also form edible films.

Chitin is also used in supplements to manage healthy cholesterol levels and body weight. Additional uses of chitin include the support of kidney function.
Some early research shows that Chitin supports the body’s natural ability to heal skin damage and nerve regrowth.

Now something that really alerted me to the oddity of this fibre is based on , well, is it a protein or cellulose fibre? The chemical answer to that question is , well, interesting to say the least.

Chitin, being derived from shells, made me think it was more like a protein than a cellulose fibre since there is obviously no cellulose in a crab. So I looked deeper into the chemical structure of Chitin and here it is:

Chitin is a “polymerized N-acetylglucosamine.” The only thing you need to remember from that extremely long a word is “glucos”  and “Amine” which opens a whole other box of contradictions, because Glucose is a cellulose and Amine is a Protein. Could it be the best of both worlds then? And the short answer of it is : YES!

In my top notch dye laboratory (please note the sarcasm) I tested this odd fibre with both fibre reactive and acid dyes ! Bingo ! The fibre  takes both acid dyes and fibre reactive dyes! Very odd isn’t it?

In the chemical structure of the Chitin you can see the OH (hydroxide) Highlighted in pink , which is helpful in reactive dyeing , and the NH and NH2 , which are necessary for acid dyeing.

So there you go: chitin is one of those bizarre fibres that will bind with both acid and reactive dyes. However, when you closely look at the structure you can see that there are way more hydroxide “binding sites” (just look at how many OH’s there are for short ). So after all that research I have to admit it’s like a cellulose/plant fibre that loves acting like a protein/animal fibre… I hope I satisfied your inner bio chemist and can't wait to do some of your own research..eh .. spinning..
The blend spins up like a dream! It is a bit cool to the touch, has a gorgeous drape, feels very silky. Totally different from any blend with bamboo or soy or seacell (seaweed) or even tencel. I love working with it and it will make an excellent jumper as well (or socks) since the tensile strength is huge and it also has excellent anti bacterial properties (read that as : it is great for combating sweaty feet and armpits).

So, here they are: Pearl Bunny Tops (I thought that was a better name than calling it Bunny Crabs....let's not go there LOL)

Please don't hesitate to contact me at any time if you have any questions okay? Always happy to enable.
Have a wonderful weekend !
Big Fluffy Hugs

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