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Thread Spools

Fiber Facts

We have collected some Good to Know,

Fun Fiber Facts

As stated on our About Blends and Fibers page, there are basically two groups of fibers:

  • Natural fibers, consisting of animal and plant fibers

  • Man-made or manufactured/synthetic fibers

Let’s look at the variety of natural fibers to work with and their properties. ( In alphabetical order)


Image by Hanna Balan

Image from Hanah Balen

Cotton is obtained plant source and it is classified as a natural material as it is obtained from the seeds of cellulose seed fire staple fiber measuring .39 " - 2.1/2 inches in length and white to beige in color in its natural state. There are colored cotton being grown and it is darker colored.

Cotton is composed basically of a substance called cellulose. As cotton occupies 50% of the consumption of fibers by weight in the world it is known as the king of all fibers.Cotton is the fabric for every home and is the most widely produced of textile fabrics today.


  •  Structure: The cotton fiber is cylindrical

        or tubular as it grows. 

  •  Strength: Cotton  is relatively strong 

  •  Elasticity: Cotton is relatively inelastic 

  •  Hygroscopic moisture: Cotton does not hold moisture as well as wool or silk but it has the ability to absorb moisture

  • Drapability: Cotton does not have good drape or ability to hold its shape. The type of construction of the fabric may improve this property.

Cotton continues to be the world’s major textile fiber. It is the oldest and most versatile of all fibers with good properties when blended with other fabrics. The main reason for the major use of cotton is its, low cost, high absorption, excellent, abrasion, and stability to repeated blending. Cotton can be safely ironed even at high temperature of 425 degrees F. 


Image by zoo_monkey

Bamboo : Zoo Monkey

Although bamboo has been around for centuries, the use of bamboo for textiles is relatively new.  Bamboo is a readily available, renewable resource since the plant grows extremely fast and requires no pesticides. 

There are two different types of bamboo fiber produced:

  • Bast Bamboo 

    • The bast bamboo process is very similar to retting used in the flax to linen process. The bast bamboo fiber looks and feels like linen, hemp and ramie.  

  • Viscose

    • The viscose type bamboo, or "regenerated cellulose bamboo" is the bamboo most people are familiar with.  The production process is like that of paper. Bamboo is ground into a pulp and  extruded. This yarn has the next to skin comfort and drape that bamboo yarn in known for.


  • Soft, silky to touch, natural sheen, drapes well anti microbial properties, anti UV, breath ability, bio-degradable, and odor absorption

  • Strength: relatively strong 

  • Elasticity: relatively inelastic 

  • Moisture: highly absorbent material, quick drying, machine washable,

  • Drapability: extremely soft hand and drape

Bamboo is also cool to the touch and comfortable to wear in warmer weather. 


rayon pulp.jpg

Photo from

A rayon fiber was the first man-made composed of pure cellulose the substance of which is the man constituent of cell walls of trees and cotton. Rayon
fibers are made from cellulose that has been reformed or regenerated. Consequently, these fibers are identified as “regenerated cellulose fibers”.
Because of its luster and soft hand feel, it resembled silk and came to be known as “artificial silk”. However it is more like cotton in its chemical composition In 1884, count Hilaire de chardonnet
produced the first man made textile fibers from nitro cellulose. He is known as “father of Rayon”.

When seen under microscope, the fiber appears smooth and rounded.Viscose rayon fibers are rod like with numerous, longitudinal, thread like striations
or lines. These are due to the indentations of fiber surface.

Bamboo is known as a viscose processed fiber.


  • Strength : The tensile strength of viscose rayon is greater than that of wool but is only half as great as silk. Viscose rayon is also weaker than cotton and its strength is reduced to 40 to 70 percent when wet. Yet it produces fairly durable,
    economical and serviceable fabric whose smoothness of surface favorably
    withstands with friction of wear

  • Elasticity : Viscose rayon has greater elasticity than cotton but less than wool and silk. 

  • Resilience : Viscose rayon lacks the resilience.It's resistance to creasing is contributed to its finishing such as weaving or knitting.

  • Drapability : Viscose rayon possesses a high quality to draping because it is a relatively heavy weight fabric.

  • Heat Conductivity : Viscose rayon is a good conductor of heat and is great for summer clothing. 

  • Absorbency : Viscose rayon is one of the most absorbent of all textiles. It is more absorbent than cotton or linen, but less than wool and silk.

  • Shrinkage : Viscose rayon fabrics tend to shrink more than cotton fabrics.


tencel roving.jpg

tencel fiber photo coutesy of

This branded fiber comes from the pulp of the eucalyptus trees and wood pulp , it is grown on sustainably run farms certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

The process used to make TENCEL™ is designed to be as efficient as possible, and uses non-toxic chemicals and solvents during processing. In addition, TENCEL™ is a high-tenacity cellulose fiber, which gives strength and shine to yarn and fiber blends.


  • Strength : Unique physical properties of TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers lead to their great strength

  • Elasticity : lower elasticity but able to hold its shape

  • Resilience : a product of high durability and resilience, it must be handled with as little aggression as possible.

  • Drapability : feel and drape of an expensive silk

  • Absorbency : Highly absorbent and breathable for increased comfort

  • Shrinkage : Viscose rayon fabrics tend to shrink more than cotton fabrics.

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