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Before I write one more thing, did you all hear Allison on Open Source last night?  Way to go!  If your blog comments were anything like your spoken comments, it must have been one heck of an interesting show.  I, unfortunately, was on the train (knitting!) as the broadcast happened.  Does anyone know if I can listen to an archived recording online?

When I was searching for a link to Karabella's Vintage Cotton, I discovered this piece on Knitter's Review:

"I'm not generally fond of cottons, but this one has me hooked. It's a mercerized cotton, which means the fiber has been treated with warm concentrated soda lye. The result is a more silky texture that is particularly good for sheer summer knits.

In the case of Vintage Cotton, the appeal goes far beyond the mercerized fiber. Karabella has taken four strands of cotton and plied each with a finer thread of cotton before plying everything together.

This technique produces a pearly, textured look while maintaining perfect smoothness and consistency. It also makes the yarn extra strong and durable."

So, soda ash gives mercerized cotton.  Go figure!  I'm not even sure that I know what "soda lye" is.  Who figures this stuff out?  What bright light sat down and started to treat cotton fiber with soda lye?  It was probably an accidental discovery.  Was someone looking to dye the fibers  and noticed that the soda ash changed the cotton's texture?

Not quite.  Thanks to the magic of Google, I just discovered that mercerized cotton was an attempt to imitate silk!  I'm not sure how much the Vintage Cotton reminds me of silk, but I like it all the same.

 

I buy the silk immitation story! My Phildar tank is meant to be knit in silk, but I'm substituting mercerized cotton for it and it's a great match character-wise.

I hope that you enjoy knitting your yarn as much as Knitters Review did!

i subscribe to chris lydon's podcasts on itunes. i downloaded the show and will bring to knitsmiths for anyone who wants to listen...if i can find and electrical outlet, i'll bring my ipod speakers so we can all listen...

I am using Karabella Vitage Cotton for Glampyre's Orangina and i love it! Its got a great sheen and is really pliable.

 

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