Monday, August 6, 2018

Til It’s Done

Getting some of the book/inspirational projects finished this morning.  The above is a pinwheel design on four shafts, woven from Tencel (a type of rayon).

Rayon in general is a very dense fibre which holds a lot of water.  As a result, when rayon is fully saturated it feels very stiff and not very appealing to the touch (in my opinion).

However, when it is dry it is very flexible and feels very silk-like, mainly because it was engineered to be as much like silk as possible.  In fact it was originally called 'art silk' until more accurate labeling laws became a thing.

This is a scanning electron microscopic view of rayon.  It's pretty smooth and pretty dense.

This photo was taken with an 'ordinary' digital microscope at about 800 times magnification.  On the left is Tencel, the right is cotton.

Both yarns are cellulose but being extruded rayon (Tencel) fibres can be very long while cotton fibres are much shorter.  Both are spun to the same number of yards per pound (3360) or a 2/8 count.

You can clearly see how much thinner the Tencel is than the cotton because of the difference in density.

With the Tencel holding water, not really wanting to release it, it takes longer to dry than cotton.

This morning I was pressing two Tencel scarves.  When I started the scarf I was pressing was wetter than it should have been for efficiency.  What that means is that I had to get it dryer before the fibres would begin to react with the compression, flatten and smooth.  It also took quite a while for the drape of Tencel to begin to manifest.

Instead of my more usual side A, side B, side A pressing, I had to continue to press.  How many sides?  Don't know.  Until it was 'done'.

In other words, when the cloth flattened due to the compression, I felt whole cloth between my fingers as I rubbed the cloth between them, and the lovely drape had developed.

The second scarf got tossed into the dryer for a further 10 minutes or so and that one went much more quickly - maybe 5 sides.

By the way - that difference in thickness means that at times a higher density than the same count of cotton may be needed, especially since Tencel is also slipperier than cotton.

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