December 21, 2020 6 min read

WOOL

When the term ‘Wool’ is used, it is mostly a reference to sheep’s wool. The process includes the sheep to be sheared by professionals who later send the wool to a different location where it is separated by color and washed. This wool is then carded and spun on a wheel to make yarn. This yarn is then colored through various dyeing methods to get it to the color intended, which will then be used for designing the rug.

 

COTTON

Cotton that is produced in the US comes from a plant mostly found in the south where it is picked by two machines that go by  mechanical cotton picker and the stripper. After the cotton is separated and cleaned from the leaves and branches where it is then moved to the cotton gin. The gin stand, with its small, sharp teeth, plush the fiber from the seed making the cotton smoother for production. The cotton fibers are cleaned and dried again before going into the carding machine that straighten the fibers into untwisted rope called silver. The silver is then spun into yarn for weaving and knitting.

 

SILK

Silk, as many know, comes from a moth known as the Mulberry Silk Moth also known as a silkworm. The life cycle of Silkworm, shown below, starts off with a female silkworm laying up to 400 eggs which promptly dies leaving the eggs to hatch into larvae in 2 week time. The larva feeds on mulberry leaves until it enters the pipa phase where it creates liquid raw silk from salivary glands that hardens into a thread when it comes into contact with air. The larva winds itself with that thread into a thick cocoon. 

 

In order to keep the thread intact, the cocoons are boiled for about 3 minutes to kill the pupae inside along with melting away the sericin that surrounds the Fibroin. While being boiled, the threads from 30 - 50 cocoons are fed in a hole onto a reel that unravels the cocoons as it turns which creates a single thread that is glued together by the remaining Sericin. The silk is rolled into a bundle and washed to remove the remaining Saracen which will give silk a softer feel. The silk is then dyed to the desired color, washed again, dried and ready for use.

 

JUTE

Jute is a rain-fed crop that requires little need for fertilizer that is mostly found in Bangladesh and India. Jute, by hand, is harvested and transferred to a place where leaves are removed. To separate the fiber from the stem, a process called Retting is performed by submerging bundles of stalk into water that penetrates the central stalk portion, swells the inner cells bursting the outermost layer. The non-fibers are scraped off leaving the fibers to be grabbed within the jute stem. The stem is then separated in long fibers by hand and taken into a factory where they are combed into long strings that are then later spun into yarn for production use.

 

SISAL

Sisal is a plant mostly grown in hot climates such Mexico, Brazil, East Africa, and China that have limited rainfall and see frequent drought. When the leaves reach the length of about 1 meter, they are cut, loaded onto a truck and taken into a factory known as the Decoration that extracts the fibers by the usage of water to ease the process of cleaning and removal of leaf tissue. The white fibers are then taken to a field for sun drying for a period of 24 hours. The white dry fibers are then taken into a brush room where they are brushed to separate individual fibers and with a careful eye, the fibers are graded and separated based on length, color and blemishes. The fibers are then delivered to a balling press where they are compressed and sent out for shipment where they can be turned into fine rope used in Rugs.

 

BAMBOO

There are two ways of manufacturing bamboo fiber: the mechanical and chemical process. The mechanical process includes harvesting and crushing bamboo wood and treating it with natural enzymes that break down bamboo into small material. The natural fibers are then mechanically combed that create individual fibers that are later spun into yarn. 

 


In the chemical process, the bamboo is crushed to make bamboo cellulose. The chemicals used to create bamboo chemicals include sodium hydroxide and carbon disulfide which are later decompressed to remove excess carbon disulfide that results in cellulose sodium xanthogenate which dissolves into viscose solution. Bamboo cellulose fiber threads are spun into the yarns to be woven into a fabric after the viscose bamboo cellulose is forced through spinneret nozzles into a large container of dilute sulphuric acid solution that works to harden viscose bamboo cellulose sodium xanthogenate.

 

 

ACRYLIC

The first step in creating acrylic fiber is  to create acrylonitrile polymer polyacrylonitrile by a technique called free radical polymerization that forms a polymer bythe successive addition offree-radical building blocks in a water solution. 

 

This polymer is dissolved using a chemical that results in a gel-like material. This material is then extruded through a spinneret that forms acrylic fiber. One of two methods are then used to turn the fiber into a solid state: Wet or Dry spinning. Wet spinning uses the same solvent to bring the fiber into a solid state and dry spinning involves evaporating the solvent with heard gas. 

 

The resulting fibers are then washed, stretched, and crimped to make long, thin filaments that can be spun into yarn.

 

NYLON

 Nylon produced from the combination of two acids: diamine and adipic. Diamine acid is a monomer extracted from crude oil that, when it interacts in adipic acid, creates a polymer known as nylon salt. The nylon salt is then heated to form a molten substance that is then extruded through a metal spinneret. The substance is then loaded onto a spool called a bobbin that is then stretched to increase their strength and elasticity and later wound onto another spool called ‘drawing’. The resulting fibers are spun into forms of fibers. 

 

VISCOSE / RAYON 

Viscose comes from the extraction of cellulose that comes from wood pulp which is then dissolved in caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) that removes impurities from the cellulose and converts it into alkali cellulose. Axcess liquid is removed by pressing alkali cellulose between two rollers and drying, creating a sheet that is then shredded and crumbled into a “white crumb”. The white crumb is exposed to oxygen that ages the cumb and then exposed to carbon disulphide that makes a new substance called sodium cellulose xanthate or a “yellow crumb”. The yellow crumb is then dissolved and ripened for a couple of hours before the yellow crumb is filtered. With a device that has many holes, the material is extruded through a spinneret. The resulting substance is finally immersed in sulfuric acid which results in a slender threadlike object. These fibers are spun, drawn, and washed to produce fabric.

 

POLYPROPLENE

The process of polypropylene starts from extracting the monomer propylene is extracted from crude oil in gas form. A process called chain-growth polymerization is then subjected onto the monomer to create the polymer polypropylene. The large number of propylene monomers that are bonded together create a solid plastic material. 

 

Polypropylene must be mixed with plasticizers, stabilizers and filters that are introduced into a molten polyro that is later cooled into brick or pellets. These bricks or pellets are then remelted to be formed into sheets or cooled again in molds. The thin fibers are then cut, sewn or glued to create fabric needed.

 

POLYESTER

The production of polyester starts with a process called polymerization that is the chemical building block of polyester that will react with ethylene, which is derived from petroleum.Dimethyl terephthalate is reacted with ethylene that results in monomer alcohol which is then combined with terephthalic acid which forms a new polyester that extrudes through a slot into long strips. 

 

The long strips are then cooled until brittle and then cut into tiny chips and completely dried again for consistency. The polymer chips are melted again in a  metal container called a spinneret to create a syrup-like honey solution that leaves the container as a fiber. This fiber is soft and is elongated to force the polyester molecules to align in a parallel formation that increases the strength, tenacity, and resilience of the fiber. 




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