Sunday, 24 April 2011

Linen and Ramie




These nuggets of wisdom about Linen Fabric I have gathered from the website of Jayashree Textiles of Aditya Birla Group:

1.Linen was extensively used in the mummification process by the ancient Egyptians, as it helped preserve the dead body and to this day remains of some important mummies have their linen coverings intact.

2. In ancient Celtic times, linen was spun in an anti-clockwise direction as it was believed that this endowed mystical powers bringing the weaver good fortune

3. Scientists have recently discovered, cutting linen that was preserved in the British Museum woven 6000 years ago, is structurally perfect just as any new linen today. This reveals that linen has the ability to resist the effects of time and that linen is not affected by germs.

4. The word ‘spinster’, meaning single woman comes from the time when flax was still spun on spinning wheels by women. This skilled work was considered as an advantage when looking for a suitable husband. Single women were encouraged to sit outside and spin, so that they could be admired by potential suitors as they passed. As a result, the word gradually became associated with single woman.

5. ‘Flaxen hair beauty’ comes from the beauty of the flax fiber, which resembles golden hair.

Then there is a “caution” of confusing Linen against Ramie and other synthetic fibers and cotton slubs;  this reads as follows: 
1.   Ramie is being sold as Linen in India whereas Ramie is not Linen. 
2.   Ramie the Produce of China gets harsher after every wash and itches to the skin, whereas linen fabrics gets softer after every wash and becomes very much soothing to skin.
3.   Further cotton slubs, polyester slubs fabrics are also not linen, however they are being sold as linen misleading to the consumer.

A search about the Ramie Fiber and its comparison to Linen revealed to me an amazing treatise on the other natural fibers, which by itself very helpful but unfortunately deals very less with ramie and their potential for India. On probing further, I came to know this article on Ramie fiber.

A site selling Ramie fabric talks about “100% Ramie Linen Fabric-Ramie is a fiber similar to linen. In fact, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between this fabric and the most expensive linen”.

I just wonder what would be the price difference between these two fabrics. Ramie is reported to be twice strong than Linen.

A very useful article comparing Linen with Ramie says the following among other opinions: "Textiles made from ramie behave similarly to linen textiles. They are prone to wrinkling and will breakdown if sharply creased, so it is best to fold them loosely and store flat. One advantage ramie has over linen is that it is naturally bacteria- and mold-resistant. It holds dye well, although saturated colors can be prone to crocking, which is discoloration of skin or other fabrics that contact the dyed ramie at stress points or wet areas. Ramie 
can handle the same heat and agitation as linen."

A further research article says that “ Ramie is the strongest bast fiber and one of the strongest natural fibers comparable to cotton and silk. In terms of length to breadth ratio, whose higher value indicates better fiber quality, is even greater than cotton and linen. However Ramie is stiff and brittle with low elasticity".

I feel that Ramie has potential to be another fiber of the future


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1 comment:

Chuka said...

How much is ramie fabric?

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