I all... I am working with women in Uganda helping to make them self-sustainable ( I travel there every year). I have purchased Interweave's video on spinning cotton, but I believe that there would not be as big a market for handspun thread as there would be for yarn (I could be wrong). Anyway, sugar cane and banana trees are plentious. I have seen a video on a machine in India that takes the pulp off the banana fiber. Not sure how to process the sugar cane. Does anyone have information that can help me teach myself the process to make yarn from these two plants and then teach it to the women in Uganda? Any links or direction is appreciated.
I haven't spun either of these, but both can be extruded commercially.
Banana is quite slick and may be better combined with something else, but my guess is your group is quite adept in spinning and can handle the fiber. A previous post had some information to share on the topic.
As for sugarcane, I found some information here:
http://ctr.sagepub.com/content/14/1/1.abstract- it sounds like extracting would be like that of yucca - in an alkali solution soak. The fibers can be soft enough for denim jeans. The trick is to get off as much of the plant fiber and leave only the inner pulp. Less pulp means softer fiber.
Anything that is done commercially can be done by hand. You will have better control with the final product, just not mass produced. Use the indigenous ingenuity and tap into some resources. Sorry I couldn't be better help. We just don't grow those plants here in Montana.
Here's a small except from Alt fiber book.
" Banana fibers have been cultivated for textiles for many centuries in Japan where the young shoots are harvested and the boiled in lye to prepare the fibers to make thread used in creating traditional bashofu, or banana cloth. In Nepal, the trunk is used intead..."
The author also gave a link to an online article: http://www.japanupdate.com/?id=4103
The link is still good as of today.
Hi ChelseaN, I am writing from Cape Town, South Africa and wondered if you have found the information you needed above. I am in the same situation here people looking for means to become self-reliant and we have a large sugar and banana industry in South Africa. Would you mind sharing your information? Thank you and best wishes, S
Hi Chelsea, I live in Cairns - Tropical North Queensland, Australia, where we have plenty of both plants. I too would be interested in any links to that info. I have info on making paper from banana, but as yet i have not done it. But so far NO INFO on spinning either. regards
Hi Chelsea, do you have access to Sugar manufacturing industries? If so, you would have to buy the fiber from them.,then make pulp as the paper industries do from wood. Please shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org