Tuesday, December 29, 2009

There is no such thing as a silk worm (it's a caterpillar, silly)

Another wonderful natural fiber, silk is a protein obtained from cocoons made by the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori. I always thought the cute little worms, err, caterpillars, were raised and somehow "milked" for their silk. It is a lot more ugly. Commercially reared silkworm pupae are killed by steaming, dipping in boiling water or freezing them before the adult moths emerge, allowing the whole cocoon to be unraveled as one continuous thread. I expect some of them are allowed to mature to make more eggs that turn into more pupae. If the pupae break through the cocoon then the continuous thread made for the cocoon is broken. So a lot of little guys get boiled before they get to be moths. More on the process later. But appreciate that soft nighty or warm scarf.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Viscose, or wearing a tree

I have been seeing a lot more fabrics and clothing with viscose so I did a little research. I had no idea that viscose and rayon are synonymous and that viscose is touted as a "green" fabric. I actually thought that rayon was a synthetic (i.e. plastic) fabric. Viscose is a natural polymer made from wood pulp, patented 1892.

Because the cellulose has a very high viscosity, it was named “viscose”.
The cellulose is formed into sheets that are saturated with a solution of caustic soda. Sort of like making paper!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Getting Rid of the Goo

I cleaned my iron with CitraSolv. This stiff is made from natural oils and it smells pretty good. Just make sure to iron some scrap material first to get all the goo or whatever picture shows up on your iron gone. After all, cleanliness is next to godliness and we need our irons to work for us.