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Yarns Spun Here: Tencel vs. Tinsel

One is made from wood pulp, the other is a mystery

CHICAGO — Tencel is not something shiny you trim a Christmas tree with. That’s tinsel.

If you look up tencel, you get directed to the definition of Lyocell, which Wikipedia calls, “a form of rayon which consists of cellulose fiber made from bleached wood pulp.” It is used in denim and chino, among other garments.

Norman Oehlke, writing in American Drycleaner’s Spotting Guide, says this: “Tencel is made of wood pulp from trees that are grown, and constantly replanted, on managed forestland. The fiber is biodegradable and considered environmentally friendly.”

He goes on to write that it is produced using a solvent-spinning technique, and nearly all of the dissolved agent is recycled with minimal, non-hazardous effluents.

“Tencel is a cellulose fiber, and said to feel like cotton, wear like polyester, and hold color like rayon. It may be finished with acid, stone washing or enzyme treatments. It blends well with most fibers.”

Tinsel, on the other hand, is a type of decorative material that mimics icicles, and glitters on the Christmas tree, reflecting all the colors of the little lights strung across the branches.

Tinsel plants grow in secluded meadows, it is purported. Nobody really knows where these hidden meadows are located and nobody seems to know how the tinsel gets harvested, but it appears in packages on store shelves right around early December, in time for Christmas. Ain’t nature wonderful?!