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History of Fabric

History and magic of fabric and fibers

      Fabric was once an extremely valuable commodity.  In cultures like China, a woman was given fabric as a gift by her husbands family, before they were married, so that she could make all of the clothes she would wear for the rest of her life.  She also made shoes and clothes from the fabric as gifts for her future in-laws. Her mother-in-law would judge her worth by the talent she showed in her embroidery on the shoes she made for her future family.   Fabric was never wasted.  Once you grew out of your clothing, you cut up the fabric and remade it into something either you or a family member could wear.  When a family member died, his or her clothing was also re-cut and re-sewn for someone else to use.  In ancient Jerusalem, weaving looms were set up in the center of the city for women to weave their wool fibers into fabric for clothes for their family.  They raised sheep  and spun the wool into floss to make their fabric.  It was a social event for the women of the village.  

Today fabric is  mass produced, so we have lot of variety to choose from...

This is a well made video about the process of making fibers into floss into fabric. .


     Linen was the original fabric used by most of our ancestors to make their needlework fabric.  Linen is made from a vegetable called flax. Beautiful pale blue flowers adorn flax plants in fields all over the world. Linen fabric is made from the cellulose fibers in the stems of the plant. Flax is an annual, and it's long wooden stems are harvested  for the flax fibers within. Flax fibers are best when the plant is not quite fully grown.  Flax grows best in chilly, wet climates. The production of flax is labor intensive, since most of the process must be done by hand and not machine. 

         This is a unique, interesting video about the process of making flax into linen fiber, into linen cloth. We are so far removed from the actual processes that make up the products we consume today.  It is important to know how much talent, history and effort that is put into everything we buy.

  

        Materials used to make cross stitch fabrics.  Fabrics are made from 100% cotton, rayon, canvas, polyester, linen, jute, viscose  or a mix of several fibers. The types of material  absorbs the dye differently.  Linen is very absorbent and takes on color well.  Rayon, and polyester fabrics don't absorb dye as well.  If you are not sure what type of fabric you are looking for or you are interested in trying something different for your next project, purchase some of our fabric swatches.  Then you can feel and see the different types of fabric for yourself without having to commit to it for a whole project.

     Silk fabric is made from the cocoons of "silk worms" or in other words, caterpillars.  The larva create a cocoon out of silk fibers they secrete from their mouth.  The pods of silk are boiled to kill the larva, and the silk fibers and unwoven to create silk floss and thread. 

This is an interesting video about the process of making silk fabric and floss.

  

    Where does your fabric come from?  Zweigart is our main fabric supplier and they have the largest color selection in the world! We also carry fabric from  Permin of Copenhagen (Scandinavian Art Needlework).  Wichelt/Permin is also one of our fabric suppliers.