Shake it up with Mmmmilk

Fiber made from milk? Well, it’s actually made from milk protein, casein to be exact. Although it’s a protein fiber, same as the animal fibers wool and silk – it’s made in a similar manner as bamboo and tencel. The raw product is broken down in a chemical bath, then extruded into fiber. And a lovely fiber it is too – smooth and silky to the point of having an almost liquid texture.

Spinning Yarn on a Spinning Wheel

The color is an opaque white – very similar to the unique color of milk itself. It’s a slippery spin – the fibers slide against themselves even easier than silk and have a nylon sort of flyaway texture, easily picking up static and clinging to neighboring fabrics.

Spinning Milk Fiber

Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the spin and adapted to the extra twist needed to hold it together rather quickly. Interestingly enough: just a touch too much twist causes the single to break with a snap. Just for the record, in more than two years of spindling, I’ve never had a fiber break from too much twist. It was a new, but unmistakable experience.

After spinning up a length on a fast spindle, I switched to the wheel to give it a try.

DIY Spinning Milk FiberWhether it speaks to my lesser skills on the wheel, or the finicky nature of milk – I had a lot more trouble spinning it that way. It drafted nice enough, but I found it needed much more twist than I was initially giving. I started treadling faster, but it wasn’t long until – snap! I was left holding the end. Grrrr. Frustrating. The tabletop became littered with the drifted apart and/or snapped pieces.

DIY Milk Fiber Yarn and String

I eventually found the right rhythm and wound enough on one of my bobbins to about match my spindle full, so I could make a small amount of two-ply lace weight.

DIY Spinning Milk Fiber

I ended up with about a 36 yard length sample to play with.

DIY Spinning Milk Fiber into Yarn or String

I promptly knit up some lace. Milk lace. Seems like everything would line up just right in the fibery universe were the finished object to become a baby item, doesn’t it?

DIY Lace from Milk Fiber

I’m contemplating trimming a baby bonnet for a future Grandchild. Now there’s a plan. I’d have to get my kids to buy in on that one.



    • Mom says

      Hi Penny! It’s one of the patterns in the Leisure Arts Leaflet: Article J.14, Book 1405. It’s called “Edgings, A Collector’s Book”

    • Mom says

      Thanks Ellen! I hand wash all my spinning, although I’m betting that milk would be one of the more durable ones and might even make it through the washing machine a trip or two without being any worse for the wear. 😉

  1. Lisa says

    I spun up a couple of ounces of milk fiber (on my drop spindle) and dyed it and it looks GORGEOUS! But it feels so soft and delicate that I’m a little scared of accidentally damaging it when I start knitting or crocheting. Should I be worried?

    • Mom says

      Mine held up quite well when I knit it into lace, Lisa. It’s such a nice long staple that it seems pretty sturdy. I guess it depends on how thin you spun it? Hope it holds up as well for you as it did for me. :-)

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