Tenacity and elongation The average size of the silk thread at conditioned weight. Cohesion test The degree and frequency of size variations in silk threads over approximately the same length as the sizing skeins. The type and number of cleanness defects. These defects are categorised as super major defects, major defects and minor defects.
The percentage of neatness of raw silk. The tenacity strength of the raw silk per denier and the amount of stretch up to breaking point. Given the relatively subjective and old-fashioned nature of the seriplane method of raw silk testing, there isincreasing demand for a new testing method based on electronic systems. In recent congresses of the International Silk Association, testing institutesin Switzerland and Japan have proposed modern alternatives to the seri-plane system.
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However, at the present moment no con-sensus has been reached among producers and consumers on the adoptionof a new electronic testing method. Silk This can make a considerable difference in anorder of 10 tonnes. In Japan it is common for all imported raw silk to be systematicallyretested. These rules form a basis fortransactions between sellers and buyers and although they do not haveforce of law they have the merit of providing a mutually recognisable frame-work for international trade in silk.
From the point of view of the processing countries in Europe, the tradi-tional stages are:— Raw silk imported from China or Brazil. This means that several yarns haveto be assembled and twisted together to form a substantial yarn for weavingor knitting. The most common types of twist are:— Tram: several single yarns assembled and twisted to — turns per metre. Immediately before the thrown yarns are sized they are lubricated, usinga mineral oil-based lubricant, to reduce friction during weaving. In silkweaving, a full beam is used, but sectional warping may be employed in thecase of weaving dyed yarns into stripes or checks, for example.
Accordingto the density of the fabric to be woven, over 20 yarns can thus bearranged on the beam in rigorously parallel order and under strictlyuniform tension. Silk fabrics maybe yarn dyed or piece dyed. The yarns in this case have previously been de-gummed see below , but in the normal weaving process they still contain the origi-nal sericin. Silk is woven on a wide variety of looms. In countries such as India andThailand, handlooms are still commonly used.
The irregular quality of thesilk yarns used and the desire to produce fabrics with a characteristicappearance and feel mean that handlooms will be used for several years. Inaddition, they have an important social and economic value because theyoffer employment to a large number of people. In developed silk processing countries on the other hand, handloomshave all but disappeared.
They survive in some countries, such as France,Italy and the United Kingdom, for reproducing, restoring or copyingancient fabrics, particularly furnishing fabrics, that can only be woven onthe traditional type of loom. In most cases, however, silk is now woven onmodern weaving machines, rapier or air-jet, at speeds of up to picks perminute and in widths of up to cm.
Silk lends itself admirably to knitting. They also have excellent drapingqualities and high crease-resistance. That they are not used more exten-sively is probably due to their higher cost compared with woven fabrics andto a lack of consumer education. Although silk stockings are no longer produced in appreciable quant-ities, having been superseded by nylon, they were for many years the main-stay of the silk industry, particularly in the United States where, in , 6pairs of stockings out of 7 were made of silk, a total of million pairs.
Interlock fabrics such as for dresses are wovenon circular knitting machines as well as silk jerseys lingerie, sportswear. Milanese is a type of knitted fabric designed to give the maximum resis-tance to laddering, even when subjected to very high tension. The tabby weave is frequently found in taffeta, made of dyedyarns. When the warp and the weft in a taffeta are of different colours, aPlain weave tabby Satin weave Twill weave1. Silk 31changing effect is produced when the fabric is viewed from different angles. This type of taffeta is known as shot silk, or changeant.
The lustrousappearance of satin is due to the large number of warp yarns which arevisible. A 6 : 1 satin is one in which each warp yarn covers six weft yarnsbefore it passes under one weft yarn. One of the most luxurious applications of silk has always been velvet. Silk velvet continues to be manufactured in relatively small quantities. Inthis type of fabric, the pattern to be picked out is protected from the restof the pile of the velvet. The chemical used does not affect the base fabric. There is one important operation before theseprocesses can be undertaken.
It therefore hasto be removed before dyeing or printing. The sericin is removed by de-gumming or boiling off. If the greyfabric is unevenly boiled off, some traces of sericin will remain on the yarnin places.
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The fabric is soaked for. De-gumming also serves to remove the oiling and sizing auxiliariesused in weaving. Although this is the traditional and gentlest way of de-gumming silk it isalso slow and expensive, and olive oil soap is not available everywhere. Other de-gumming methods have been developed using enzymes or hotwater at very high pressures, but the silk purists would still say that oliveoil soap continues to be the best de-gumming agent. After washing and drying the fabric is ready for printing or dyeing.
Thedifference between a grey fabric and a boiled-off fabric is quite spectacu-lar. The weight lost in de-gumming must be made up, and this process isknown as weighting. Mineral weighting is no longer used partly because of the expense involvedand partly for ecological reasons.
In some countries weighting by means oftin salts is prohibited. Nowadays, silk is weighted using a different method, known as chemicalgrafting. European legislation does not take into account thepresence of such substances as weighting agents or dyeing auxiliaries in the.
The commonest method of dyeing, piece dyeing, was developed in Lyonin the nineteenth century. Today, silk fabrics are dyed using different typesof dyestuff: acid, metallic, reactive, and vat. One of the problems facing con-temporary silk dyers is the relatively small number of dyestuffs availableon the market. In addition, European legisla-tion on the protection of consumers and of the environment has bannedthe use of certain azoic dyestuffs because they are potentially carcinogenic.
With the decreasing number of chemical dyes available and more andmore pressure from the legislator, there is increasing interest in returningto the use of natural dyes, such as indigo or madder. Furthermore, natural dyes are not usually fast to washing. Printing is a technique which has never ceased to evolve over thecenturies, from block printing to screen printing.
Nowadays, screen printingis the most common method of printing silk, although roller printing maybe used when long runs are called for. Screen printing is a relatively long. Silk 35and complex process, consequently it is expensive.
Some designs call for asmany as 32 colours and this means preparing 32 screens. The dyestuffs used in screen printing contain gum arabic, used to thickenthe dyestuff and ensure it does not migrate outside the limits of each indi-vidual yarn to which it is applied but remains precisely within the areaintended by the designer. Another printing technique, discharge printing, is also commonly used toprint silk fabrics. This process consists of dyeing the fabric uniformly thenremoving the dyestuff within the area of the design to be printed.
The fabricis then printed over the spaces left free after discharge. Printing technology continues to change and the latest development isink-jet printing, derived from the computer industry. It is as yet too earlyto say how far ink-jet printing will replace screen printing, because itremains relatively slow and expensive. Other forms of treatment are intended to makethe fabric crease-resistant, waterproof, spot-resistant and so forth. The danger is that the resulting fabric will no longerfeel like silk. Many a housewifehas had the disagreeable experience of washing a navy blue silk blouse inthe washing-machine and discovering afterwards that it seems to be coveredwith white patches or streaks as if icing sugar had been spilled on it.
During processing, beforeand after printing and dyeing for example, silk is frequently exposed towater without suffering any damage.
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The difference between the industrialprocesses and domestic washing is in the quantity of water used. It also means that the quantity ofdetergent in relation to the amount of water is relatively high. Under these con-ditions, many silk items can be washed in safety. The other alternatives to machine-washing with a special gentle cycle arehand-washing and dry-cleaning.
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It is recommended to use a gentle, liquid detergent as a powder may not completely dissolve in the water giving a possible risk of abrasion. Detergents designed for wool will adequately wash silk, some consumers even use shampoo but care must be taken not to produce too many suds as this could cause problems in some types of washing-machine. Silk 37 The care method most frequently recommended by manufacturers of silkgarments is dry-cleaning, which is the safest method of cleaning in com-parison with hand-washing or machine-washing, unless these are conductedunder optimal conditions.
But dry-cleaning has other drawbacks. Dry-cleaning is also relatively expensive and the process often leavesa disagreeable odour on the garments. In addition, the traditional dry-cleaning process is destined to change for ecological reasons, in particularthrough the elimination of potentially harmful chemical solvents. Everything points to careful hand-washing as being a sensible answer tothe problem of silk care, with one notable exception. Silk ties should neverbe washed because of their structure, which is based on a tie-fabric, a liningand an interlining. These three fabrics are liable to behave in different wayswhen subjected to water and there is a serious risk of distortion if a tie iswashed in water.
Modern consumers are often reluctant to wash by hand unless it is strictlynecessary and this is certainly an obstacle when encouraging more peopleto buy silk. For the consumer, there has to be a trade-off between the incomparablequalities that silk offers and its lack of easy care. For the silk manufacturer,it is vital to educate the consumer in the characteristics of silk and removehis or her fears of looking after it. This positioning of silk at the summit of tex-tiles was to change radically in the late s and early s with the arrivalof sand-washed silk. This new treatment of silk, that originated in theUnited States but was mainly exploited in Hong Kong and China, was arevolution in the way in which the public looked on silk.
From now on, silkwas to be found in places other than in up-market garments and accessories. After the individual fabricshave been treated in this way, a softening agent is added. For several years, sand-washed garments were very successful because:— They were low-priced. Sand-washed silk garments consequently found a ready market amongyoung consumers who had heard so much about silk but had never beenable to afford it. This was particularly true for young women who had heardabout silk from their mothers or grandmothers but for whom silk was some-thing they saw in the glossy magazines.
Suddenly they were able to buy silkgarments at a price equal to and sometimes lower than the price of anequivalent polyester garment. Before the arrival of sand-washed silk almost the only silk items menwould normally wear were silk ties or the occasional dressing-gown. However, sand-washed silk opened up a large market in casual wear formen but manufacturers of these goods, in their desire to capture a mass-market through low prices, often economised on quality.
The initial crazefor sand-washed silk started to wear off when the consumers, women andmen, began to be disappointed by the overall quality of the garment. If the origi-nal fabric is not strong enough, and in particular if the weave is not denseenough, the fabric itself will also be weakened. In the European Union, under pressure from the silk textile indus-try, imposed quotas on the import of Chinese silk garments, blouses in par-ticular, which were often made of sand-washed silk.
The objections raisedby the European silk industries were founded less on a question of directcompetition than on a question of image. It should be added. Silk 39that the sand-washed phenomenon was exploited by these distributors ofinexpensive clothing, rather than by the traditional textile trade. The professionals of the silk industries in Europe consider sand-washed silk as an aberration with regard to the traditional image of silk thatis associated with luxury, quality and exclusivity. In any event, independently of the European quotas, the consumer wasalready beginning to turn away from sand-washed silk because of qualityproblems.
In particular, some consumers had the disagreeable experienceof seeing their silk blouse literally come apart at the seams. The statisticsare eloquent. In , the year quotas were introduced, Europe consumed tonnes of silk garments. From the most ancient times, silk has always been an inspira-tion for textile creation, not only artistic creation in the sense of coloursand designs, but creation in a wider sense of innovation. Although silk is not as widely used in Europe today as it was before theSecond World War, it remains the inspiration for fashion designers.
Fashiondesigners have never ceased to consider silk as the ultimate referencebecause of its inimitable qualities of texture, brilliance and beauty. The areas in which silk continues to be used in the west are:— The fashion industry: silk continues to be the ideal mode of expression of the top fashion designers. The major silk producing and processing countries are grouped togetherin an international body, the International Silk Association ISA. This asso-ciation was founded in , following a constituent congress held in Lyonand Paris in Prior to the Second World War, Japan was the chief producer and sup-plier of raw silk, so the silk trade was totally disrupted by the hostilities.
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Mohair textiles are mentioned on ancient Sumerian cuneiform tablets and in the Old Testament where the textiles played a role in religious ritual . In the 20th century, designers such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Jean Michel Frank often used these textiles in their designs. In 15th and 16th Century Ottoman Turkey a royal industry of mohair production was highly developed. The sultan and his powerful viziers controlled the international trade in this luxury product, which during the Renaissance was a desired exotic rarity of the East. British and French demand for these fibers far outstripped supply in the European markets, and eventually led to shortages in the Ottoman Empire.
The sultan finally had to ban the export of mohair to keep up the supply at home . Like horn, mohair is composed mostly of the protein keratin, making it light and strong. The fibers take dye exceptionally well and have distinctive light-reflecting properties. The image of these fabrics is of course all important and the book describes in detail those rare occasions when a lower priced and lower quality version of a luxury fiber has damaged its overall reputation.
In addition, the book explores the increase in applications within the technical textiles sector where their high performance thermal properties and bio-mimetic qualities in particular, are very useful. After a period as Sales Director of a large French worsted spinner he joined International Linen, the promotional and development organisation of the Western European flax industry, where he was a member of the international management team with particular responsibilities for the UK and Far East.
He also took an active part in new product development. On retiring from International Linen he set up his own consultancy and has undertaken projects for companies and governmental organisations in Europe, Australia and the Far East. The great appeal of this book is that it provides valuable information to those with a professional, or even occasional, interest in the fiber industry.
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