Fibre Source & Colour Theory Where and how did colour on fabrics come from? What are fabrics? Continuous Dyeing Textile Fibres Disperse Dyes Colour illusion Cotton What's the difference between cotton and linen? Natural fibers fall into two main groups: protein fibers, which come from animals, and vegetable fibers which come from plants. The main ingredient in all vegetable fibers is cellulose, a carbohydrate found in all plant life. Both cotton and linen are vegetable fibers. Linen is made from the flax plant, cotton is made from the cotton plant. Cotton A Field of Flax One of the world's oldest fabrics, linen is woven from the fibres of the flax plant and is a completely natural resource – perhaps the most ecologically sound fabric of all. Cotton is a fiber obtained from various species of woody plants and is the most important and widely used natural fiber in the world. Flax Production The production of linen fabric uses five to twenty times less water and energy than the production of cotton or other synthetic fabrics. Linen fabrics are biodegradable and recyclable. After harvesting the crop is laid out to ret, a process whereby the bark of the plant rots naturally so that the fibres loosen from the stem. It is an environmentally friendly plant and no part of it is wasted. The seeds are used for linseed oil and the bark for chipboard. The fibres are then combed, spun and woven and finished according to the way in which the fabric is to be used. Retting softens and separates the fibrous core of the plant from the outer layer. The leading cotton-producing countries are China (the world's biggest producer), the United States, India, Pakistan, Brazil, and Egypt. The world production of cotton in the early 1990s was about 21 million tons (19 million metric tons) per year. The world's largest consumers of cotton are the United States and Europe. Wool Wool is the fibre derived from the fur of animals of the Caprinae family, principally sheep, but the hair of certain species of other mammals such as goats, llamas and rabbits may also be called wool. How is the fleece made into wool? Rolling into bat Carding - For wool, and woollike fibers (such as llama, alpaca, goat, etc.) fibers are fed onto a series of rollers. depending on the size of the carder, the number of rollers differs. A big drum carder will then take the bat and turn it into roving, by stretching it thinner and thinner, until it is the desired thickness Often rovings are the thickness of a wrist A working Mule spinning machine Loom Carding Llama hair Silk Production A tray of silkworms feeding on mulberry leaves. These look like fourth instar, one shed away from cocooning. As the silkworm matures, it turns translucent, indicating readiness to cocoon, and is put in one of these cocooning trays. Bundles of twigs are also used. Silk-reeling tools. Clockwise from top: tray with reeled silk, silk-reeling cauldron with cocoons in it, and charcoal burner the cauldron sits on. The water is kept simmering and charcoal added/removed to control the temperature. Woman reeling silk. The cleft stick she is holding is used both to stir the pot (which brings up more silk threads) and to "comb out" cocoons that get pulled up with the reeled silk. Skeins of reeled silk. Weft yarn being After reeling, the pile of silk in the tray at left is reeled into skeins with this device. tied for mudmee (ikat) dyeing. They're wound in skeins exactly as they will be woven, then resist-dyed in complex patterns. This is a very coarse pattern--the bundles are big.