Martha weighs in on bamboo

The use of sustainable materials in more and more home items is becoming more prevalent – and more confusing. My meetup group of the same name is visiting the Natural Fiber Clothing Wearable Art Studio next Saturday – its final day in business since the owner is returning to TX so she can get more sun.

I consider myself pretty educated when it comes to green choices (I have bamboo sheets and socks and a shirt…) but what Abby told me in 3 minutes on the telephone made me realize there is a LOT MORE to learn. Even if the bamboo is grown sustainably, if it is not processed in kind, it sort of negates the positive effect of the growing method. I am excited to have this last-second change to meet her and pick her brain before she leaves the state!

Point of interest: Her daughter is Alex, the girlfriend in the movie “Super Size Me”. I think I am the only person I know who has not seen this movie – in part because I already know how bad that stuff is for me and don’t need a graphic illustration. I probably should put it on my Netflix list.

Feel free to join us Saturday morning to learn more about
HEMP and hemp blends/wovens and knits
hemp/tencel, hemp/silk, hemp/cotton, hemp/linen
ORGANIC COTTON and blends/wovens & knits
colorgrown organic cotton, organic cotton/wool, organic cotton/lycra
SILK and blends/wovens and knits
tussah (wild silk), raw silk, silk/cotton, silk/linen/ silk/hemp
LINEN and blends/wovens & knits
linen/rayon, linen/cotton, linen/hemp, linen/silk
COTTON blends/weaves and knits
monks’ cloth, prints, cotton/linen, cotton/lycra, cotton/silk, cotton/hemp
RAYON and blends
rayon/linen, rayon/tencel, rayon/wool
WOOL and blends
Pendleton wool felt, wool/organic cotton/ wool/rayon
TENCEL and blends
tencel/rayon, tencel/hemp
RAMIE and blends
ramie/cotton, ramie/silk, ramie/linen, ramie/wool

Martha Stewart Q&A; column from the Home and Garden Section of the Seattle Times:

Q: How are bamboo towels different from regular ones?

A: Bamboo is cropping up all over the home these days, in fabric, flooring, wall coverings and more. It’s little wonder why. The natural material, which is a member of the grass family, is a renewable resource (it can grow up to 1 foot a day) that can be cultivated without the use of chemical pesticides. Bamboo towels are made from plant pulp that is extracted, mashed and spun into a yarn that’s silky and absorbent.

In fact, bamboo towels can soak up three times more moisture than their terry-cloth cotton equivalents. They also tend to be thin and easy to store. In terms of hygiene, bamboo towels have natural antibacterial properties, plus they don’t trap germs or odors. And they dry quickly, making them an excellent choice in humid climates. Most brands can be tossed into a washing machine and a dryer, where their fibers will become softer and more absorbent.

On the downside, bamboo towels are more expensive than cotton ones and are not readily found in stores. You may want to consider bamboo-cotton blends, which are easier to find and offer many of the same benefits of pure bamboo ones. Care instructions are likely to vary from one brand to the next, so read the labels carefully before washing.

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