Saturday, November 4, 2017

Knit-Pile Fabrics [1]
Art Resource

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Preamble
This is the seventieth post in the "Art Resource" series, specifically aimed to construct an appropriate knowledge base in order to develop an artistic voice in ArtCloth.

Other posts in this series are:
Glossary of Terms
Units Used in Dyeing and Printing of Fabrics
Occupational, Health & Safety
A Brief History of Color
The Nature of Color
Psychology of Color
Color Schemes
The Naming of Colors
The Munsell Color Classification System
Methuen Color Index and Classification System
The CIE System
Pantone - A Modern Color Classification System
Optical Properties of Fiber Materials
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part I
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part II
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part III
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part IV
General Properties of Fiber Polymers and Fibers - Part V
Protein Fibers - Wool
Protein Fibers - Speciality Hair Fibers
Protein Fibers - Silk
Protein Fibers - Wool versus Silk
Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff
Cellulosic Fibers (Natural) - Cotton
Cellulosic Fibers (Natural) - Linen
Other Natural Cellulosic Fibers
General Overview of Man-Made Fibers
Man-Made Cellulosic Fibers - Viscose
Man-Made Cellulosic Fibers - Esters
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Nylon
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Polyester
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Acrylic and Modacrylic
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Olefins
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Elastomers
Man-Made Synthetic Fibers - Mineral Fibers
Man Made Fibers - Other Textile Fibers
Fiber Blends
From Fiber to Yarn: Overview - Part I
From Fiber to Yarn: Overview - Part II
Melt-Spun Fibers
Characteristics of Filament Yarn
Yarn Classification
Direct Spun Yarns
Textured Filament Yarns
Fabric Construction - Felt
Fabric Construction - Nonwoven fabrics
A Fashion Data Base
Fabric Construction - Leather
Fabric Construction - Films
Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins
Fabric Construction – Foams and Poromeric Material
Knitting
Hosiery
Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns
Weaving and the Loom
Similarities and Differences in Woven Fabrics
The Three Basic Weaves - Plain Weave (Part I)
The Three Basic Weaves - Plain Weave (Part II)
The Three Basic Weaves - Twill Weave
The Three Basic Weaves - Satin Weave
Figured Weaves - Leno Weave
Figured Weaves – Piqué Weave
Figured Fabrics
Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements
Crêpe Fabrics
Crêpe Effect Fabrics
Pile Fabrics - General
Woven Pile Fabrics
Chenille Yarn and Tufted Pile Fabrics
Knit-Pile Fabrics
Flocked Pile Fabrics and Other Pile Construction Processes
Glossary of Paper, Photography, Printing, Prints and Publication Terms
Napped Fabrics – Part I
Napped Fabrics – Part II
Double Cloth
Multicomponent Fabrics
Knit-Sew or Stitch Through Fabrics
Finishes - Overview
Finishes - Initial Fabric Cleaning
Mechanical Finishes - Part I
Mechanical Finishes - Part II
Additive Finishes
Chemical Finishes - Bleaching

The Glossary of Terms, Timelines of Fabrics, Dyes and Other Stuff, A Fashion Data Base, the Glossary of Colors, Dyes, Inks, Pigments and Resins, the Glossary of Fabrics, Fibers, Finishes, Garments and Yarns, Glossary of Art, Artists, Art Motifs and Art Movements and the Glossary of Paper, Photography, Printing, Prints and Publication Terms have been updated in order to better inform your art practice.

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The Art Resource series will be the first post in each calendar month. Remember - these Art Resource posts span information that will be useful for a home hobbyist to that required by a final year University Fine-Art student and so undoubtedly, some parts of any Art Resource post may appear far too technical for your needs (skip over those mind boggling parts) and in other parts, it may be too simplistic with respect to your level of knowledge (ditto the skip). The trade-off between these two extremes will mean that Art Resource posts will hopefully be useful in parts to most, but unfortunately may not be satisfying to all!


Introduction
Today’s post continues to explore pile fabrics namely knit-pile fabrics.

Pile loop-knit cardigan.


Knit-Pile Fabrics
Pile knits look like woven pile fabrics, but they are more pliable and stretchy. Knitted pile fabrics are classified as circular knit or sliver knit.

Loop-pile cable-knit jumper.

Circular Knits
Circular knits usually have cotton-backing yarns comparable in size to those used in medium weight fabrics and low twist, larger-sized, face yarns. The fabrics are terry cloth and velour.

Knitted terry cloth is often used for baby towels and wash cloths because it is absorbent but softer than woven terry. Because it does not conform to shape as well and thus does not look good on the rack, towels and washcloths for adults are seldom made of knitted terry.

100% Cotton knitted terry Infant saliva towels baby pinafore.

Velour, a fashion fabric used in men’s apparel in the 1960s, is a cut-pile knit.

Hugo Boss men’s black label basic velour sweat-suit in medium grey.

Sliver Knits
Sliver knits are used to produce imitation fur fabrics. The knitted back makes the fabric more pliable with better draping characteristics. It has only been since 1955 that fabrics with true fur-like appearance and texture have been available. They have a luxurious hand and dense face of the furs but are much lighter in weight and require no special storage. Until recently, special care in cleaning was necessary because the heat sensitivity of the fibers caused shrinkage and fabric distortions when fabrics were cleaned in the normal manner. By using a cold tumble dryer and combing the pile rather than steam pressing, the fabrics can be successfully cleaned.

Sliver knit fox fur suit jacket.

High pile knits are made from acrylic, mod-acrylic or olefin fibers or blends of combinations of these fibers. The back is knit from fibers (Dynel) that will shrink during the finishing operation to make the pile surface more compact. There is a trend to use cotton for the back to reduce the cost.

Fashion designed acrylic faux fur fabrics.

The background is knit with yarns but the pile is made from a sliver. Fibers from the sliver are picked up by the needles along with the ground yarn and are locked into place as the stitch is formed.

Grey mod-acrylic Cossack hats.

The steps used in finishing these fabrics are: (i) heat-setting, which shrinks the ground fabric and shrinks and expands the diameter of the individual face fibers; (ii) tigaring – a brushing operation which removes surplus fiber from the face of the fabric; (iii) shearing; and (iv) electrifying, a process that combs the fibers first in one direction and then in another by grooved heated cylinders that rotate at high speed. This process imparts high luster to the pile. The electrifying process may be repeated many times to develop the required finish.

Oleg Cassini vintage olefin faux fur coat.

Fur like fabrics are used for shells (the outer surface) or liners (the inner surface) of coats and jackets. The table below shows the difference between shells and liners that are made by sliver knitting, weaving and tufting.

Comparison of fur like fabrics.

Notice in the above table that the difference is mainly one of weight, the shells being heavier than the liners. In actual use the dividing line is less distinct since because shell fabrics are used as liners in expensive garments and liners are used as shells in low-priced items.

In sliver knits, the fibers from the sliver are already loose on the surface, while in the tufted and woven constructions the fibers must be opened or teased from the yarns. A denser pile can be obtained because the amount of face fiber is not limited by yarn size or distance between the yarns as it is in tufting and weaving.

46% Mod-acrylic, 37% acrylic, 17% polyester faux fur.

In tufting 5/64-gauge machines are used for apparel pile fabrics. This gauge is the distance in inches between tufting needles. Normal tufting specifications on this gauge call for 10 to 11 stitches per inch and a pile height of one eighth of an inch.

Woven fabrics are usually a half an inch or less in pile height. They are less pliable than knits or tufted fabrics and rows of tufts sometimes cause the fabric to “grin” (i.e. the back shows) when the fabric is folded at the edges.


Reference:
[1] N. Hollen and J. Saddler, Textiles, 3rd Edition, MacMillan Company, London (1968).

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