Knitting Community

Hi all,

I'd like to get your opinions about bamboo fiber for yarn. We've been researching bamboo and bamboo blends to see if we can add bamboo to the Knit Picks yarn line up. So far, we haven't been satisfied with what we've seen.

Bamboo fibers are relatively short, which means that 100% bamboo, unless it is super tightly spun or in a ribbon, tape, or other special construction, sheds a lot. The fibers don't pill because they don't have the scales or barbs on them that animal fibers do which causes them to cling to each other. Rather, bamboo just develops a pretty thick fuzzy halo quickly and with very little abrasion.

Bamboo is commonly blended with other fibers, probably to help minimize the fuzzing issue, but also to lend bamboo's positive attributes to the other fibers. Sheen like silk but less expensive, relatively cool to wear, and it does have antibacterial properties. One trait strongly in bamboo's favor is its sustainability as a harvestable crop. Bamboo has an extremely rapid growth rate. However, bamboo fiber requires as much processing as any other rayon fiber from other plant sources, like the Modal (R) we use in Shine Worsted and Shine Sport, which comes from beech trees.

I'd really love your input on the following questions:

What about bamboo yarn particularly appeals to you?

What types of projects have you made from bamboo or bamboo blend yarns?

Do you hand wash or machine wash your knit bamboo projects?

How have your knit bamboo projects held up through multiple wearings and washings? Please describe the yarn you used - fiber content (100% bamboo, or a blend, and if blended, with what other fiber) and construction (number of plies, tape, ribbon, other).

Thanks! This helps so much.

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Comment by pegcam on June 23, 2008 at 11:03pm
I have 5 Skeins of bamboo yarn that I am trying to make into the victoria tank from knittingdaily. This pattern calls for a cotton yarn, but I love the silkiness of the bamboo. Does anyone know of a good pattern for a tank that I could use this yarn for.
Comment by nancyh on May 28, 2008 at 11:27am
I've tried 2 bamboo yarns - a 100% bamboo from South West Trading Company ( and a bamboo blended with wool (I don't recall the brand). The bamboo blend was a chunky yarn and tended to pull apart as I knit. The 100% bamboo was wonderful to work with and has a lovely drape, but... I'd sized the sweater for a close fit. The whole thing stretched out after I'd worn it a couple of times so it now has a baggy fit instead. Washing the sweater didn't shrink it any.
otherwise... I hear bad things about the manufacturing process. It's all made in China, with no environmental controls. I don't think I'll buy any more bamboo yarn.
Comment by Kayray on May 22, 2008 at 2:55pm
I made my son a pair of socks with Regia Bamboo (45% bamboo, 40% wool, 15% nylon). The socks are holding up well through lots of wear and machine washing. I adored working with the yarn, and my son likes to tell people his socks are made of bamboo :) I'd definitely buy a similar sock-yarn from you! (solid colors, please)
Comment by wolfhoundgirl on May 21, 2008 at 8:55am
I'm currently knitting a pair of socks in Regia Bamboo sock yarn (bamboo/wool/nylon). I love the sheen, the anti-bacterial qualities, the sustainability factor, and how it feels cool. I tend to run warm, so I appreciate keeping my feet cool. I have been knitting it on size 0 dpns, and it winds up being a pretty dense fabric. It has some stretch thanks to the wool, but it would probably improve with a larger percentage of wool. I am using a garter rib for the socks, so the ribbing takes care of that factor. I will be machine washing them in the gentle cycle once they are done. I started these in the spring of 2007 & am almost finished with one sock. So many projects, so little time.

I think that a cotton blend for the summer would be great. I'm in NC, so the summers get really warm and humid. I would use it for summer tops and lightweight sweaters.

I have also spun bamboo on my wheel and find it much more pleasant to spin than Ingeo, Soy Silk, Silk Latte, etc.
Comment by DianeS on May 20, 2008 at 7:10pm
I've enjoyed sock yarn with some bamboo content. Maybe with silk, too? I don't know if that's possible, but it would be an interesting combination.
Comment by Beftefur on May 19, 2008 at 11:05am
I have been very tempted by bamboo for the silkiness and shine. It comes in such small skeins at a high price in my LYS so my fingers just dream about it. I would love to order a bamboo blend from KP!
Comment by hippochic on May 18, 2008 at 9:34pm
I want to see more non-animal related fiber in my stash. If you need to blend with wool that would be ok, but I would buy bamboo either way.
Comment by yarn hugger on May 15, 2008 at 10:24pm
I love this yarn. I made a pair of socks from Crystal Palace Panda cotton, 59%bamboo,25%cotton,16%elastic nylon. I machine wash it, lay flat to dry. This yarn is so soft, it is wearing well, and the feel of this yarn is just wonderful as you knit it up...
Count me in as a buyer! When I order on line it is always from Knit Picks! Some pretty lavenders would be nice.
Comment by islander on May 15, 2008 at 1:13pm
I am fond of bamboo
Since wool is not for knitting in the Caribbean, would love some nice bamboo from Knit Picks (I order only on line and think of Knit Picks as my LYS} .Bamboo is washable, long wearing and is fun to knit with, I make blankets and throws and wraps and tops and have done a couple of skirts for a friend. No dry cleaners on this island so washable bamboo is a plus. Please count me in as a buyer. How about some in that new wonderful green shade 'Kolrabi'?
Comment by Beth70115 on May 15, 2008 at 1:13pm
I'm just finishing a baby sweater out of Classic Elite's Wool Bamboo and I love this yarn. It feels supremely soft, the color is vibrant and rich, and the stitch definition is terrific. I hand washed a swatch and it came out beautifully. Then I made a swatch shaped like a sweater, traced it and then threw it in the washer and dryer. It may have shrunk a tiny bit but pulled back into shape easily.
In addition to the assets I've already mentioned, I like the bamboo for the sustainability and and for the antibacterial properties. It seems to me to be the ideal baby yarn, especially when blended with wool.
And did I mention that it feels so soft!!!! I purred the whole time I was knitting it.

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