Man-Made Fibers: Petro-chemical fibers

Nylon and polyester and acrylics (the oldest polyamides) are the first of these that come to mind, since they’ve been around the longest. The various microfibers are newer versions. These fibers are all created by dissolving petro-chemicals or their derivates in a specific mixture and then forcing the liquid through spinnerets under high pressure. The liquids are extruded into jets of air that dry the resulting fibers quickly, and are then spun in a similar fashion to fine cotton. The currently-popular microfibers are produced in this way, but the individual fibers are much smaller in diameter than those of 1960’s polyester.

These fibers have several things in common. They’re easy-care, machine-washable and dryable, sturdy and don’t wrinkle. They’re stretchy. The newer polyamides are more breathable, and indeed have been engineered to imitate natural fiber properties as much as possible.

This has improved wearing comfort. In order to enhance their wearability, or add easy-cleaning properties to natural fibers, the two are frequently blended. You will see many microfiber or polyamide blends with wool, cashmere, angora, mohair and cotton. These are normally quite successful from a knitter’s or crocheter’s standpoint, since they offer washability and improved wear while retaining the luxurious feel of the natural fiber.

Now that you have a good general knowledge of how each fiber will behave in a yarn, you can shop for bedding and attire with confidence. Have fun choosing your fabric!
Posted: May 21, 2011 at 3:48 PM | Tagged as: Fabrics and Textiles
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