Category Archives: FIBRE

KAPOK FIBRE FROM THE KAPOK TREE

Kapok fiber is a soft silky floss harvested from the pods of the kapok tree.The kapok is native to the New World and to Africa and was transported to Asia, where it is cultivated for its fiber, or floss.Kapok,also called Java cotton, ceiba, or Java kapok.

The hair-like fibers that surround the kapok seeds are best used as a stuffing,where they have several advantages over more commonly used materials. Kapok fibers on their own are not suitable for spinning into yarn, as they are too smooth, slippery and brittle. Kapok is also used as stuffing for pillows,soft toys, mattresses, and upholstery, as insulation material, and as a substitute for absorbent cotton in surgery.The fiber itself can last for many years even after your pillow shell wears out, and does not need to be washed, just aired in the sun to cleanse and re fluff. Kapok fibers are lustrous, yellowish brown and made of a mix of lignin and cellulose. Each fiber is about 2.5 cm long, has a wide lumen and thin walls covered with waterproof wax.

Characteristics of kapok Fibres

  • The hollow core makes kapok very light, 8 times lighter than cotton by volume.
  • Kapok can support as much as 30 times its weight in water. In the past, kapok was used to fill life jackets.
  • The waxy coating helps repel water, and air bubbles are usually trapped in lumen, making kapok 5 times more buoyant than cork.
  • The cell structure allows it to trap air making kapok a good fibre to use for insulation.
  • Kapok resists clumping (i.e. it does not become lumpy) it also bounces back to the original shape after washing, a useful property when stuffing soft toys.
  • It’s packs down firmly characteristic makes it useful to stuff meditation cushions.
  • The waxy coating also makes kapok slippery, it therefore easily adjusts to shape, for example of the head on a pillow.
  • kapok is a natural biodegradable fibre. It can be reused many times without developing mould or decaying.

RAMIE FABRIC | CHINA GRASS

Ramie is one of the oldest vegetable fibers and has been used for thousands of years for manufacturing ramie fabrics. The true ramie or ‘China Grass’ is also known as ‘white ramie’ and is the Chinese cultivated plant.
RamieThe extraction of the fiber occurs in three stages. First the cortex or bark is removed.This can be done by hand or by machine.This process is called decortication.Second the cortex is scraped to remove most of the outer bark, the parenchyma in the bast layer and some of the gums and pectins. Finally the residual cortex material is washed, dried, and de-gummed to extract the spinnable fiber.Plant has large heart shaped, crenate leaves covered on the underside with white hairs that give it a silvery appearance. Ramie is not as durable as other fibers, and so ramie is most often blended with other fibers for its unique strength and absorbency, luster and dye-affinity. A coarse fiber, ramie fabric is pure white and silk like in appearance.
Ramie is commonly used in tablecloths, napkins, sweaters, shirts, blouses, and suiting and handkerchiefs.The main producers of ramie are China, Brazil, Philippines, India, South Korea and Thailand.

ALPACA FABRIC | ALPACA FIBRE

The Alpaca is a domesticated member of the lama family, the so called “South American camel”.

Alpaca fiber was a well kept secret until the 1800’s when Sir Titus Salt, a textile industrialist found a bale of alpaca fiber among his imported wool bales.Investigation of this “new” fiber revealed that alpaca fiber was stronger than sheep’s wool and its strength did not diminish with fineness of staple.

Alpaca fabric is one of the luxury fabrics for its silky, soft and fairly lightweight attributes.Today, the term alpaca is also used for fabrics made from a blend including some wools that have a similar appearance to true alpaca.

Alpaca fiber is used for many purposes, including making clothing such as bedding, hats, mitts, scarves, gloves, and jumpers.Rugs and toys can also be made from alpaca fiber. Sweaters are most common.

Alpaca fiber is one of the rarest fibers on earth.One of the most valued characteristics of alpaca fiber is the soft handle. Alpaca is also valued for its resilience,thermal properties and hypoallergenic qualities.