What is Viscose Fibre?
Viscose is a plant (cellulose) fibre extruded from a viscous solution of regenerated wood pulp. It is sometimes referred to as artificial silk or wood silk. Production and dyeing techniques vary in different countries so not all viscose has the same properties and may vary in micron and lustre. Having no scales , barbs or notches means the viscose fibres or rovings will not felt on their own. Wool fibre needs to be added to the viscose for felting as well as spinning to give the fibre something to attach to.
At 19-20 micron, our viscose roving is especially compatible with extra fine 19 micron merino for decorative use. The staple length is a minimum of 65mm and the roving weighs approximately 25gm / metre. We stock the whole range of Italian DHG viscose which carries the GOTS certification, so it is organic. It is also safe for use for babies and children as dyeing is done in-house to Oeko-tex specifications. Combing of the fibre into roving is done after dyeing, so the fibre is much softer and easier to use than some other viscose brands.
Benefits of Viscose for felting
- No static when drafting the fibre
- Reinforces very thin wool layouts
- Makes felt more elastic, impoving drapeability
- Helps reduce pilling when added to the surface of felt
- Adds lustre and sheen to felt
- A little goes a long way
- Dye with dyes suited to cellulose fibres e.g. Fibre Reactive dyes
- Soft and comfortable against the skin
- Highly absorbent
- Substitute for silk roving / tops
- Vegan and Eco friendly
Using viscose for felting and more
Use clouds, strands or shingles for decorating and reinforcing when using viscose for felting. Use a little or a lot (up to 70%!) for different effects, especially on pre-felts. Mix different colours together in your hands or with hand carders to achieve a wide range of colour variations. Or blend with wool rovings. For maximum effect, use viscose colours that contrast with the wool.
Make viscose sheets using soap, starch solution or wall paper paste when making faux ‘silk‘ paper for felting. Torn or cut pieces or whole sheets can be added to wool or pre-felt layouts. Using the textile medium or PVA glue method will give a firmer result more suited to embellishing other textiles and making bags or vessels. Anything you can do with silk roving, you can do with viscose roving with no static and at a fraction of the cost!
Viscose fibre is a wonderful fibre to incorporate into:
- Felting – wet felting, nuno felting, needle felting
- Spinning and weaving
- Paper making – added to other cellulose fibre or used alone to make fibre sheets
- Doll making – for wigging and making curls
- Mixed media and textile art surface design; layering, couching
See the DHG blog for more tips on using viscose.