Best protein fiber yarn for luxuriously soft dream blanket?
November 16, 2016 5:19 PM   Subscribe

I plan to hand weave a luxuriously soft bed blanket for myself. I am a handspinner so will be able to spin blends if required. Which protein fiber should I use? Qiviut/Vicuna is too expensive but I do have cashmere/silk/yak/baby camel/alpaca etc. in my stash. It does not need to be really warm (I live in a warm climate) but I will like it to be as soft and luxurious as sleeping under a cloud.
posted by whitelotus to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I have a commercial throw made from baby alpaca and it is a dream. Very fine, though; alpaca is quite warm.
posted by praemunire at 5:51 PM on November 16, 2016


The finest wool you can get your hands on is a good bet for a warm climate. (Camelid fibers and silks are pretty warm, maybe warmer than you want.) In the US, Cormo wool (it's a Merino cross) is the gold standard for soft fine wool for handspinning. Merino is good if you can't get Cormo.

You might already know this, but the kind of yarn you make will affect the softness too. Singles yarn will probably get you the softest woven fabric. Using soft singles as warp could be difficult; you should probably look into sizing your warp if you use singles.
posted by clavicle at 8:13 PM on November 16, 2016


Are you going to be sleeping under this blanket in a warm high humidity or warm low humidity? I have knit blankets I will sleep under in a fan, and knit blankets for when the air con is running, at the same ambient temperature but different humidity because sweat makes such an itchy difference. Angora and mohair are brutal in humidity and delightful in air conditioning. Possum and quivet are weirdly lovely in both. Fine cashmere and wool do quite well, depending on how they are spun in both. Silk is chilly in low humidity, but beautiful in high, especially blended nicely.

I would also consider your weaving pattern. Something wool and plyed with another fluffy soft yarn that seems too warm but woven with a loose hand would feel light. I have a twill weave organic cotton blanket that looks heavy but is woven very loosely and is surprisingly fluffy after several washes now.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 9:11 PM on November 16, 2016


A ply of silk/mohair (I'm a knitter, so I'm thinking of Kidsilk Haze by Rowan) would be dreamy.
posted by third word on a random page at 10:14 PM on November 16, 2016


Do you want to use singles or plied? Yak and camel (and even alpaca) are great but usually need a bit of over-twist if not plied. 10-15% silk will provide the structural stability you need to use singles. Or, a balanced two-ply of the softest fiber you've fly (yak or camel?) will work great if you can spin the singles thin enough to get gauge.
posted by JMOZ at 4:05 AM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


As a knitter, my favorite yarns are alpaca/silk or merino/silk blends, sometimes with some cashmere in there.

Straight up silk yarn is also incredibly soft and luxurious, but I'm not sure I'd want a whole blanket of it, as it can be slithery.
posted by Squeak Attack at 12:10 PM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the suggestions:
praemunire: I like how warm and squishy alpaca is too but it's warm and will probably have to be blended with something else.

I am considering a silk warp and a cashmere/merino blend weft. 100% silk will be too slithery as Squeak Attack suggests and hopefully the weft will lend it some heft. I don't think I want to use singles yarn, it's not really my thing.

I love hairy yarns like mohair and angora but am not sure how it will feel in a blanket. I'll love to try possum but the yarns I've seen like Zealandia are just beyond my budget for such a large project.

dorothyisunderwood: You make a good point. The humidity is high where I am though it's somewhat lower when the air-conditioning is on. I'll like this blanket to work well whether I am using a fan in high temperature humidity or when the air-conditioning is on (lower temperature and somewhat lower but still high humidity). It will probably be woven fine with a open weave.
posted by whitelotus at 7:35 PM on November 17, 2016 [1 favorite]


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