Log in

30 December 2008 @ 12:47 am
Not *exactly* spinning related...  
I'm new to this group. I've spun for a while, but mostly I'm an embroiderer.

Thanks to my trip to Puerto Rico and meeting other crafters, I ended up with some maguey fiber. They were hoping I could use it for my embroidery, which I would then send to their bobbin lace museum (I do needle lace). I saw some examples of bobbin lace done with maguey, so I was optimistic.

I'd love to be able to use this, but I pulled it out to work with it and it's very stiff. I don't know if it's possible to soften it in any way to make it more pliable, but I figured spinners who are used to working with strange fibers might have some good ideas. I really don't want to ruin this fiber. I don't have much. It's very difficult to get ahold of even IN Puerto Rico, and it was a gift. I'm not used to working with such raw plant fibers.

Maguey is an agave plant (like the century plant). The strands are long, thin, and flat. It is used in some forms of embroidery, though typically not for fine work like I do. I did see some done in PR, but language barriers made it difficult to ask technical questions.

I don't know if it'd be possible to spin it with something to keep the strands from bending at sharp angles. I'd have to spin it up very thin for the work I'm doing (think size 8-12 perle cotton thin) but the fibers aren't in one continuous piece. They're in lengths about 36" long. I'd want the fiber to show because it's important to their culture, but I'm not adverse to plying it with something else to make it more manageable if that can be done. I'd love to have the ability to coil it around itself.

I'm including a picture in case that helps.

I hope someone has some good ideas.

linda/stoneleafmoonpinkveneer on December 30th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
i have a bag made from maguey (from mexico). the strands were just given a bit of twist and worked by hand in an almost kind of crochet. if the strands are bending at sharp angles, perhaps just wetting it a bit, as with ramie would allow you to work with it smoothly. nice find!
also, a book of possible interest

Edited at 2008-12-30 04:31 pm (UTC)
Jen/Habibehabibekindheart on December 30th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)
Muchas gracias! I'll try wetting it a bit and I'll look into getting that book. I'd love to get some more maguey fibers. I discovered while working with them that they can do something for my hardanger that most artisans have been able to do (and I can't). I may see about using them more often for pulling threads into alignment :D