A Steamy Past

For this posting I am going to switch gears (ha-ha) a little to talk about a movement that is fairly recent, called Steampunk. This movement has enjoyed some popularity lately, and I think it’s pretty nifty. Here is a photo to get you excited too!

 

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Steampunk at it’s finest (a)

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Bamboo

Bamboo has been a very hot topic for the past few years, so I decided it’s high time for a posting about it! First, and foremost, a picture:

 

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Bamboo Flooring (a) Read more

Wood 2

Welcome back! This latest installment will finish up the latest and greatest list of different wood types and their characteristics. Read on and enjoy!

Myrtle- Although this is not considered a ‘popular’ wood, I wanted to include this since it is one of the few that can be found near me. Myrtle is considered to be moderately dense and heavy with interesting figuring. It takes polish very well and can range (often in the same piece of wood) from yellowish green to light brown.

Cost: Medium high to high

Where in the world: United States, mostly in Oregon and California. This is a shorter tree, so be aware that planks will not be very wide nor long.

Janka Hardness: 1270

 

myrtlewood

Myrtle (a)

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Wood

Well met my faithful readers! I’ve been in the design industry for a while now, and I’ve noticed that there is a lot of confusion between the difference species of wood. There are many, many different types of wood, but only a certain few pop up over and over again in the design industry. I got to thinking that it might be helpful to create a list specifically for the consumer so that it is easy to compare look, style, durability, and cost.

Before I begin my list I would like to go over a few terms that are used often, but seem to be misunderstood.

Janka- (pronounced Jane-Ka) The Janka hardness test is a measurement of the force necessary to embed a .444-inch steel ball to half its diameter in wood. It is the industry standard for gauging the ability of various species to tolerate denting and normal wear. Red Oak is what we use as our benchmark for hardness which tests at 1290. Anything below 1290 is considered ‘soft’ while above the 1290 is considered to be a harder wood.

 

Janka

Janka Test in Progress (a) Read more

Weaves ‘N Patterns

This is it! This is the posting you’ve all been waiting for (with bated breath I’m sure)!  But first, a little back story. I had the idea for this posting probably a year ago now, and I actually sat down and started to research/ write it. Part way into my research I realized that my readers need a better background, so I created Textile And Dye Time Line. The writing of this post continued, until I realized that the history was not enough… oh no. We (both you and I) needed a better foundation as to the characteristics of each material before we could even talk pattern, so Characteristics of Natural Fabrics and Characteristics of Synthetic Fibers postings were born. And here we are. The grand finale to this idea that I’ve been kicking around for so long!

The big idea behind this post is to familiarize you with the textile making process, and understand a few common weaves. This definitely is not an exhaustive list, but maybe it will help out in every day life- plus you’ll be a little smarter for it!

England was the first to create power looms in the 1800’s, while America was trying (and failing). A man by the name of Francis Cabot Lowell spied on the British power looms and memorized how they worked. He then came back to America and had it recreated by a mechanic. Thus the power loom was born, which really helped to revolutionize the textile process. Shortly after the power loom came along, and number of other machines were created to expedite the textile process, which lead to mills popping up all over the place.

 

textile mill

Textile Mill (a) Read more

Cork

Cork is a beautiful natural material that has been used since the turn of the century. Traditionally it can be found in churches and libraries but today it can be used for so much more!

cork flooring

Cork! (a) Read more

Characteristics of Synthetic Fibers

Hello again! I have created a 2 part list that will go over the most common types of synthetic fibers and the characteristics associated with them. But before we get to the good stuff, I would like to present a list of terminology, to ensure that we’re all on the same page.

Durability/ Resistance- the ability for a fabric to resist wear from continual friction

Absorbency- How well a fiber takes and holds in moisture. Good absorbency can affect many things such as comfort and shrinkage. Poor absorbency can lead to water repellant which translates into efficient drying time, static electricity, stain removal, and wrinkle recovery.

Hand- the way a fabric feels to the touch (by a hand)

Colorfast- The fabric can hold a color, meaning that it dyes well (easily) and does not react poorly to sunlight and washings.

Drape- ability- the way a fabric falls, think flowy.

drapeability

Drapey! (a)  Read more

Characteristics of Natural Fabrics

Why hello and welcome back to my blog! I know it’s been a little delayed, but I have some really great topics lined up!

Todays topic is actually something that I’ve been picking up and putting down for the past 6 months or so. Once I began writing this posting, I found that I needed more history on the subject so I wrote the Textile and Dye Timeline, which was really a prerequisite for this blog. Don’t worry folks, it’s finally here! This week I’m going to cover the most common natural material characteristics, next week you can look forward to the list of synthetic fibers. Here we go!

First up are characteristics of natural materials (from good ‘ole mother earth).

Cotton

Pros

Natural

Considered to be a breathable fabric

Easy to clean

Durable and strong

Resists abrasion

Resists pilling and moths

Soft and stretchy

Can have different luster’s (glossy vs. matte)

It has natural antibacterial properties and UV protection

Great anti allergenic and antifungal (ew- fungus!)

Quick drying

Lasts a long time (for a natural material)

Retains original shape

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The Lowdown On Carpet

Hello my faithful followers! Let’s talk carpeting! Carpet is constructed of a few different things. First, there is the filament which is basically a string that is spun with other like strings to create a bunch (of strings) anywhere from 2-4 strings which are twisted together to create a fiber. The twist is very important, the more twists there are the higher quality the carpeting is because the twists play a large factor in durability. The finer the filament (or string) the softer to the touch the carpet will be.

 

 CAM00074

See the difference between the loose filament and the tightly twisted one?

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Textile And Dye Time Line

Textiles are literally used every single day. The most obvious example is clothing, but there is also upholstery and window coverings just to name a few. This posting will cover the (chronological) history of textiles and dyes.

In the beginning, there were only natural products. The very first product that was woven was flax (from the flax plant). There are some discrepancies about the timing of this, but it’s safe to say somewhere between 5000- 8000 BC. Finely woven flax material was used as burial shrouds on the pharaohs of the ancient Egyptians.

Flax plant

Flax Plant (a)

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