Get to know the materials I work with! In addition to colour and yarn weight, which make up the immediate visual qualities of a fabric, each fibre I use has its own set of characteristics that make it most suitable to weaving different kinds of fabrics.
In general, I work with natural fibres only, along with some regenerated cellulose fibres (rayon/viscose). An exception to this are those second-hand fibres that have come to me unidentified, as they also contain synthetic fibres.
My product listings always feature a list of the materials used in a specific product and care instructions. If you have any questions about the materials I use, I’ll be happy to answer them—please be in touch!
Wool is a natural material known for its warmth. When combined with silk fibres, the yarn gets a beautiful sheen.
When working with very thin yarns, I often prefer to use wool in the weft rather than in the warp in order to prevent the warp from breaking while weaving. Delicate wool warps are possible as well, as long as the weaver is patient and gentle enough when weaving! Wool is a great warp material and it produces beautiful woollen fabrics.
Silk is a natural fibre with a luxurious sheen. I use both 100% silk yarns and silk-wool blends.
Silk is obtained from the cocoons of different types of silk moth caterpillars. Some of the silk I use requires killing the caterpillar inside the cocoon in order to reel the silk as a filament. The Tussah and Eri silks I use are spun like wool after the caterpillar has left the cocoon. Because of this, Tussah and Eri silks are more uneven and “fluffier” than smooth silk that has been reeled from the cocoon as filament.
Cotton is a natural fibre which makes a very soft yarn. Although cotton naturally has a matte surface, mercerised cotton has a subtle sheen to it.
As cotton is quite durable even when spun into a thin yarn, I usually use it for the warp in order to achieve a sturdy base for my fabric. Cotton works beautifully as weft, too, and slub-yarns give fabrics a beautiful textured surface.
Linen is a plant fibre like cotton, but sturdier and stiffer. Linen also has a natural sheen to it. Because of its water absorbent qualities, linen is often used in kitchen linens, towels and sauna textiles.
I often use linen in the weft or the warp in order to bring out the texture of the fabric.
Regenerated cellulose fibre
Viscose (also called rayon) is a cellulose-based regenerated fibre. This means that viscose is a man-made fibre that uses natural materials as its base, in comparison to synthetic fibres that are oil-based (polyester etc). Viscose resembles cotton or silk, and its main cellulose ingredient may be birch or spruce for example.
In the yarns I use, rayon is usually combined with cotton and/or linen, as it shares many characteristics with these plant fibres.
Second hand yarns
Synthetic fibres, regenerated fibres and/or natural fibres
The synthetic fibres I use are second hand yarns, which have come to me as leftovers from somewhere else. The materials are completely good to use, but for some reason they have not been used by their previous owner. In line with zero waste principles, I want to use these yarns to the fullest rather than sending them to the landfill.
I use these materials to make entire products or as effect yarns together with other materials.
Second hand fabrics
Silk, wool, linen
I tour second hand stores and recycling centers from time to time in search of good quality second hand materials, especially silk, wool and linen. These materials are often found in scarves and neckties.
I mainly use second hand fabrics for the same products as my handwoven fabrics. Second hand fabrics are also great for custom orders and personalised products!
Suomen Tekstiili ja Muoti (Finnish Textile & Fashion)
Räisänen, Riikka et al. Tekstiilien materiaalit. Helsinki: Finn Lectura, 2017.