When I first heard of bamboo yarn I looked at the towering stand of bamboo in my back yard and imagined people laboriously cutting the stalks into long thin threads. But I knew better.
Bamboo is transformed into yarn in much the same way wood is transformed into rayon.
There are actually several processes used in different parts of the world, some of which require extreme precautions. What is claimed to be the most natural process, more mechanical than chemical, is the same one used to produce linen from flax or hemp. The finest results of this process can have a very silky touch. Some manufacturers produce highly synthetic rayon from the cellulose that is chemically extracted from bamboo, but in the US, yarn labeled bamboo must be made directly from the bamboo fiber. Many advantages have been cited for the use of bamboo. It is a highly sustainable resource that does not require pesticides or fertilizers, while producing 30 times the yield of cotton per acre. It is the largest member of the grass family with species that grow to 115 feet tall, some of which can actually grow over 3 feet in a day.
After all of that I must say that I've always liked 100% cotton yarn, but now understand why I love CoBaSi, my cotton bamboo blend, even better.