I’m so glad I got this task done right this year! Last year I picked a ziplock bag full of milkpods, but failed to deal with them in good time. I ended composting the fluff, though I learned a little bit along the way.
This year, I am spinning and selling milkpod fibres. It feels so good to announce that I have a Canadian plant fibre available for sale this year!
This is where I started.
Here is an overall picture of what the plant provides.
I will be selling the seeds as well as planting them next spring. They require a bit of instruction, as these seeds need close to freezing temperatures to germinate. I will include a package of seeds with the fibres.
I picked these all very late season. Most of the puffs have already opened and the seeds are spread out already for the winter. We had a few late season warm spells, which I suspect some of these pods came from.
But it turns out that until the pod is open, its impossible to tell if the pod is mature. These white seeds will not likely germinate.
I grabbed another pod for comparison.
And this one is perfectly ripe.
Step 1, remove the outer pod layer. I use gloves because this plant excretes a latex substance that I am allergic to.
Step 2, remove the seeds.
For selling the product, I stop at this step. The silk is easiest to handle when it is still slightly stuck to the plant core layer that remains at the centre of the bunch.
Step 3, remove the plant core.
The milkpod was used as a stuffing and it is incredibly fly-a-way! It was pretty funny when I sent it through the drumcarder. I started with far too large a chunk of milkpod fibre, and it was a little like someone had a pillow fight around the drumcarder!
Here is a closeup of the fluffed up milkpod fibre.
This is the test carding of milkpod and merino fibres together. The milkpod makes things very soft and very warm. I would not use more that 20% of them in a project, and 10% is what I will be trying next. Merino is a bit soft already, so I will next try a blend of milkpod and correidale as well as milkpod and BFL.
Please come check it out at Creativ Festival this weekend!