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The Cotton - UK Housekeepers Association

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The Cotton - UK Housekeepers Association
The Cotton
Selection and understanding
The History Of Cotton
What is Cotton
Where is it Grown?
The Processing of Cotton
From the field to the towel
Textile Terms
Cotton Prices and the
advent of blended products
Product Comparison and
some quality testing
you
A presentation to the UKHA London & SE
By Stephen Broadhurst 13th March 2012
The History Of Cotton.
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The History and Origins of Cotton
Scientists searching caves in Mexico identified cotton bolls and
pieces of cotton that proved to be at least 7,000 years old.
In the Indus River Valley in Pakistan, cotton was being grown,
spun and woven into cloth as early as 3,000 BC.
Cotton Merchants brought cotton cloth to Europe about 800 AD.
When Columbus discovered America in 1492 he found cotton
growing in the Bahamas, by the Year 1500 cotton was known
generally throughout the World.
Cotton was first spun by machinery in England in 1730, the
Industrial Revolution and the invention of the ‘cotton gin’ in the
U.S. paved the way for the importance cotton holds in the World
today.
The cotton Gin (short for engine) was patented by 1793 and
enabled the production of spun cotton 10 times faster than the
same process completed by hand.
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How old is cotton?
What is Cotton, Where is it Grown?
The fibre is pure cellulose , a native shrub/plant of tropical and
sub-tropical regions around the World, including the Americas,
Africa and India.
The fibre is spun into yarn/thread and used to make a soft,
breathable textile fabric.
Current estimates for World production of Cotton are about 25
Million Tonnes annually, this accounts for approximately 2.5%
of the World’s arable land.
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Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fibre that grows in a boll or
protective capsule around the seeds of the cotton plant.
Where is cotton Grown?
People's Republic of
China
33.0 million bales
India
27.0 million bales
United States
18.0 million bales
Pakistan
10.3 million bales
Brazil
9.3 million bales
Uzbekistan
4.6 million bales
Australia
4.2 million bales
Turkey
2.8 million bales
Turkmenistan
1.6 million bales
Greece
1.4 million bales
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Top ten cotton producers—2011
(480-pound bales)
The Processing of Cotton
There are five stages:
1/ Cultivating and Harvesting
2/ Preparatory Processes
3/ Spinning
4/ Weaving
5/ Finishing
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Cotton is the world's most important natural fibre.
From the field to the towel.
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What is Warp and Weft?
John Kay’s Flying Shuttle 1738
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James Hargreaves Spinning Jenny
1764
Richard Arkwright’s Water-Frame 1768
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Samuel Crompton’s Spinning Mule
1779
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Edmund Cartwright Power Loom
1785
Eli Whitney’s Cotton Gin 1793
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Cultivation and Processing
Cotton is normally planted in the Spring and harvested
around a 100 days later- subject to location.
Once harvested the following processes take place to
produce yarn ready for the production of a woven textile
item:
Gin – to separate the fibre from the boll.
Carding, Combing, Drawing, Spinning, Winding,
Sizing/Dressing and Weaving!
Lots of processes all ending in “ing” to wash/clean,
condition and extrude the fibres to produce a yarn.
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Cotton requires a long frost free period, plenty of
sunshine and moderate rainfall. However areas with less
rainfall use irrigation systems.
Thread count is the number of horizontal and vertical
yarns WARP/WEFT in ONE SQUARE INCH.
Thread count in sheets and other products can range
from 80 to 1000. In general the higher the thread count
the softer the product should feel.
Generally Thread counts above 300 are produced by
doubling the yarn – commonly known as the ply i.e. A
400tc fabric is a 2 ply yarn with 200 threads in ONE
SQUARE INCH.
Thread Count is NOT the key factor in the quality or feel
of a sheet, , the yarn coarseness and the ply of the yarn
SINGLE or TWO ply have an impact.
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What is Thread Count?
Other Textile Terms
JERSEY – a plain stitch knitted cloth – produced in a
circular manner with stretch/elastic qualities.
SATEEN – more yarn on the face of the cloth giving a
softer feel and more lustrous look
TERRY – A fabric that is looped by weaving/knitting to
produce loops to create an absorbent product (Towels)
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PERCALE – a closely woven plain weave normally 180
thread count and above. PERCALE can be 100% cotton
or 100% Polyester
Other Textile Terms
A 140 THREAD COUNT is based on the number of
threads in the warp and weft. i.e. 70 in both directions or
76 in the warp and 64 in the weft the total must be 140!
Ideally equal threads in both directions produces the most
stable product.
.
GSM – relates to Grams per Square Metre the normal
measure for TERRY – towels and bathrobes.
The heavier the weight does not mean the better the
quality. YARN count is also KEY.
Towels above a certain weight become too dense – they
end up looking like bath mats – i.e. 750 – 850gsm.
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YARN – the higher the number (YARN COUNT) the finer
it is – for instance a 20’s yarn is not as fine as a 40’s yarn!
The higher the thread count the finer the yarns need to be
to ensure they can be tightly packed/woven into a square
inch.
Cotton Prices and the advent of blended products.
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Cotton prices over the last few years have been volatile,
driven by increased demand, lower production and
challenging weather/growing conditions prices have
fluctuated between $2.10 in March 2011 to the current
price of $0.88 today.
The market remains challenging and most textile mills are
now producing blended products. Poly/Cotton sheets,
duvet covers etc and the introduction of polyester in
towels.
The benefits are a stabilisation of costs, longer
lasting/more durable products, improved stability and life
cycle, and lower wash temperatures and reduced/lower
drying times – reducing the carbon footprint and helping
the environment!
Whilst Polyester is an oil based product – when woven as
a yarn it provides greater elasticity. This reduces the
element of creasing when washed, good shape retention
and less shrinkage.
Polyester table linen is easier to wash, has better stain
release properties and retains its shape for longer.
Please can we have some audience participation
(HOUSEKEEPERS PLEASE) to review and test some of
our products to understand weight, construction, thread
count and quality.
Winners get a small gift from David – losers get a week in
their local Sunlight factory!
TEST ONE: Bed Linen 400/200/130 &120 TC’s
TEST TWO: Towels 665 v 550 GSM
TEST THREE: Towels 3 towel test - Which is best?
TEST FOUR: Table Linen - Cotton v Polyester
TEST FIVE: Bathrobes touch test - Which is best?
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Product Comparison and some quality testing
Cotton is a plant, grown for many years and thrives on
sunshine and rain.
It has become very expensive, and involves a highly
involved technical process to get from plant to yarn to
fabric to end user products.
Yarn count, thread count, construction and GSM need to
be carefully checked and considered when purchasing.
Polyester and other alternative fibres/yarns are available
and should be considered.
Many thanks to Anne and the UKHA for the opportunity to
be involved this evening.
We welcome the chance to welcome you to visit us at
Mitre anytime, or allow us to visit you to provide you with
more products or more technical information.
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Conclusion & Summary
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THANKS FOR
YOUR TIME
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