Textile Dictionary 
 
Specialty Fibres
 

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Alpaca
Fibre: True alpaca is a hair fibre form the Alpaca animal, a member of the Ilama family of the South American Andes Mountains. Also imitated in wool, wool and alpaca, rayon, mohair and rayon or cotton and a cotton warp and alpaca filling also synthetics - e.g. orlon.
Weave: Various weaves, knits, and weights.
Characteristics: Fine, silk-like, soft, light weight and warm. It is very rich and silky with considerable lustre and resembles mohair. If guard hairs are used, it is inclined to be boardy. It is strong and durable. True alpaca is expensive so often combined with other fibres or imitated by other fibres - e.g. orlon. Alpaca is found in white, black, fawn or gray. The fibres are less coarse than those of the llama but are higher in tensile strength.
Uses: Men's and Women's suits, coats and sportswear, linings and sweaters. Some fine alpaca used for women's dresses. Also in pile or napped fabric for coating.
Uses: Elegant evening gowns, draperies, or upholstery.
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Angora Goat
Fibre: The clipped fibre of the living animal is called mohair.
Weave: Various weaves and knitted.
Characteristics: Scoured mohair appears smooth and white. It varies in fineness and is highly resilient, very strong and has high lustre. It's value is determined by it's lustre and not it's softness.
Uses: Used extensively in industries such as carpet, upholstery, curtain and automobile cloth.
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Angora Rabbit
Fibre: Hair from the angora rabbit. It is indigenous to Asia Minor and Turkey. Often blended and mixed with wool to lower the price of the finished article or to obtain fancy or novelty effects.
Weave: Various weaves and knitted.
Characteristics: Long, very fine, light weight, extremely warm and fluffy. Has a tendency to shed and mat with time. Must be designated as angora rabbit's hair. This fur fibre is one of the finest.
Uses: Used mostly in knit wear - gloves, scarves, sweaters, etc. for children and women. Also blended with wool in dress goods and suits to give a softer feel.
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Beaver
Characteristics: Mostly found in Europe and America. Soft, silky, shiny, lending itself to textile use.
Uses: Fur coats, trimming fur and fabric garments.
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Camel Hair
Fibre: Hair from the camel. Sometimes blended with wool or imitated in wool.
Weave: Twill or plain.
Characteristics: Bactrian Species of the Chinese and Mongolian deserts. Underhair is best. It is light weight, lustrous and soft. It ranges from a light tan to a brownish-black colour. Usually left its natural tones but can be dyed-usually navy and some red. It has quite a long nap and is warm. Better grades are expensive. Sometimes blended with wool to reduce the cost and increase the wear. All wool camel hair is not as lustrous and is spongy. Can have either a rich nap or a flat finish. Wears fairly well, particularly if blended.
Uses: Coats, women's suits, sports coats, sweaters, some blankets and put in some very expensive oriental rugs. It is also used in (fine) overcoating, topcoating, hosiery and transmission belts which will withstand dampness and moisture.
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Cashmere (Kashmir)
Fibre: From the Kashmir goat, a hair fibre found in Kashmir India, Tibet, Iran, Iraq, China, Persia, Turkestan and Outer Mongolia. Often mixed with wool or synthetics to cut costs and improve the wear.
Weave: All weaves but mostly plain or twill. All knits.
Characteristics: Fibre is cylindrical, soft and silken. More like wool than any other hair fibre. Has a very soft silky finish; very light in weight. Doesn't stand up to hard wear on account of extremely soft downy finish. Natural fibre is white, black, brown or gray but can be died a variety of shades. Comes in different weights.
Uses: The textile industry is only interested in the soft fibres. Knitted into sweaters for men and women, also women's dresses. Often combed and sold in tops and noils.
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Cordoban Leather
Characteristics: Goat skin, simply-tanned. The art of preparing this leather came from Cordoba where the craftsmen who were allowed to use it for shoes in the Middle ages were called cordwainers.
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Fox
Characteristics: Colour varies from black to red, silver, silver-gray and white. Uses: Scarves, muffs, jackets, coats, trimmings, also to provide softness in wool blends for textile industry.
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Guanaco
Characteristics: Indigenous to Southern Argentina. Produced fleece of the most glorious natural honey beige colour. Very soft.
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Hare or Jackrabbit
Characteristics: Hair texture is wooly.
Uses: Felting.
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Llama
Characteristics: Found mainly in South America. Colour may from white to brown and black. This fibre has impressive lustre and warmth and is very light weight.
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Mohair
Fibre: From the angora goat. Some has cotton warp and mohair filling (sometimes called brilliantine). Imitation mohair made from wool or a blend.
Weave: Plain or twill or knitted.
Characteristics: Angora goat is one of the oldest animals known to man. It is 2 1/2 times as strong as wool. Goats are raised in S.Africa, Western Asia, turkey, and neighbouring countries. Some are in the U.S.A. Fabric is smooth, glossy, and wiry. Has long wavy hair. Also made in a pile fabric of cut and uncut loops similar to frieze with a cotton and wool back and mohair pattern. - Similar to alpaca.
Uses: Linings, pile fabrics, suitings, upholstery fabrics, braids, dress materials, felt hats, and sweaters.
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Muskrat
Characteristics: Mostly found in North America. The thick blue-gray, which resembles the beaver's, has fibres that are extremely fine.
Uses: Primarily used by the fur industry.
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Nutria
Characteristics: Mainly found in South America. Beautiful, silky, fine belly undergrowth.
Uses: Primarily used by the fur industry but the textile industry often uses fibres in blends emphasizing softness.
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Opossum
Characteristics: Can be found in Australia, Southern USA and Argentina. white face and fur that is loose, grayish and white-tipped.
Uses: Pelting used chiefly as trimming for cloth coats.
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Rabbit or Coney
Characteristics: Wild rabbits have brownish or gray colours. Tame ones range in colour from white to black.
Uses Coats and trimmings.
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Raccoon
Characteristics: Native American. The fur is grayish-brown and black.
Uses: Sportswear. Pelt is used for trimmings for cloth and fur coats. Only the wooly fibre is used for textile purposes.
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Vair
Characteristics:Thought to be the fur of the squirrel, one of the most valuable furs of the middle ages.
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Vicuna
Characteristics: Fleece is reddish brown, shading to white on the belly.
Uses: Textile industry uses the fibres to manufacture the softest coat cloth in the world.
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Weasel
Uses: The fur industry uses nearly all the species of the weasel family in making coats, trimmings, capes etc. The textile industry uses large amounts of the fine fibres.
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