The Hircus Goat and the Cashmere

The goat "HIRCUS ENGAGRUS", descendant of the goat "FALCONERI" is famous for the product obtained from its fleece, called "tiflit" or "duvet" and is the Cashmere goat.

The animals are of a medium size, with a height from the withers of about 60 centimetres and the male goat weighs around 60 kilos whilst the female weighs 35 kilos.

They possess a small head, erect ears and well developed horns bent outwards, which in adult males become majestic.

The animals produce a fleece of long, coarse hairs but upon further scrutiny, particularly on the underside, the fleece is extremely soft and almost silky; the famous "duvet" that can be turned into cashmere as we know it.

In May, during the moulting season, the shepherds round the herds up for the harvesting of the fibre. The goat’s legs are tied and once the animal is laid down on a cover the shepherds begin the combing.

The task is carried out with combs resembling small rakes; they have 16 hooks and pointed teeth.

A large comb is used, followed by a finer one. The animal is combed all over with energetic movements, starting at the back and finishing with the ears and legs.

The job lasts about 30 minutes for each animal.
The product obtained is a mix of duvet and ordinary hair and is collected in bags generally made out of polypropylene or jute.

On average a male "HIRCUS" goat yields 300 to 350 grams of grizzly, the female 200 to 250 grams and geldings yield 400 to 450 grams. Exceptional cases can yield up to 700 grams.

Lambs are not shorn until they are a year old, the best quality duvet can be obtained until the age of four and in successive years the goats’ duvet, which lessens, is of a more ordinary quality. They are long-living animals, living to fifteen or sixteen years old and a female can be expected to bear five or six kids.

The goats can be kept in small groups up to just over 1,000, depending upon the wealth of the shepherd, in fact in Outer Mongolia the wealth of an individual is measured by the number of animals in his possession.

A prosperous family owns at least 250 goats, which yield around 70 kilos of grizzly, which is sufficient to guarantee the means to live for a whole family.

30% of Mongolian shepherds own at least 100 goats, which represents the poverty threshold and only a few farms have more than 500 goats. It is said that the richest man in Outer Mongolia has 5,000 ovine and bovine cattle. It is incredible to think of these modest people whose very existence relies on the product yielded by their animals.

In the People's Republic of Mongolia (or Outer Mongolia) in 1989 there were 4,003,000 goats and only 5 to 10% of their produce was exported. The rest was manufactured locally, some of which made its way to either the national market or the COMECON market. Nine years later the goat population had reached 10,000,200 goats, concentrated in the northern area of the nation (58% males, 39% females and 3% geldings). These figures were updated in May 1998 by Dr. Yo Zagdsuren, teacher at the Agricultural University of Mongolia-Research Unit of Animals and responsible for the "Cashmere Goat Project".

In the last decade, and especially the last few years, several American, Italian and Japanese companies created Joint Venture with the Mongolian society, made possible by the relaxing of the People's Republic of China's government towards foreign investment. Other companies installed dehairing plants mostly concentrated in the capital Ulaan Baatar.
In Outer Mongolia at present there are a little less than 30 dehairing lines, others are due to be built shortly, a few of which will come from the dismantled plants in America, Great Britain, France and Italy, whilst more are being made in Japan. Exportation is regular, of excellent quality and with no record of pollution. The geographic isolation of the People's Republic of Mongolia obliges the operators to export the goods aerially, passing through Moscow or Peking. Recently however the famous Tran Siberian railway is being used more frequently, taking the goods from Ulan-Ude through Irkutsk and Novosibirsk to arrive in the Russian capital: from where it is usually transported to Italy or Scotland.

With respect to the Chinese fibre, the fibre collected in Outer Mongolia is of a slightly lower quality by about 0.8 to 1.3 micron, but homogenous, long and tenacious. To understand the reason for this difference it is necessary to go back almost half a century when, in trying to increase the production per capita of each animal, "PREDON" goats from Siberia were imported. These goats guaranteed a higher return but supplied coarser cashmere than the local one, with a fineness of 18 to 19 micron. In the years that followed, the animals crossbred and so contaminated the local breed, hence supplying a fibre that rarely dropped below 16.5 micron, halfway through the last decade. Following calls for a better product a few years ago, a few agencies took to isolating the goats whom did not meet the required standard; this led to a finer cashmere that, once dehaired, supplied a fibre of less than 16 micron.
Cashmere from Outer Mongolia is predominantly light grey or brown; it's estimated that white cashmere represents only 10% of the Outer Mongolian cashmere and comes almost exclusively from the county of Shine Zhist. The cause of this minimal production is ascribed to the fact that white goats are less resistant to the harsh climate and cannot bear temperatures lower than -20C, which is normal for a Mongolian winter. Mongolian white-coated goats are therefore concentrated in the southwestern territory, protected from the freezing, northern winds by the Altai mountain range.

Characteristics and qualities of the Cashmere from the autonomous province of Inner Mongolia

Of the 35 million goats that lived in the territory of the People's Republic of China in 1999, 7 million were located in Inner Mongolia.
Until 1985-6 the channels through which the Chinese cashmere was bought were as secure as the quality. All the exportations were managed and controlled by the "China National Produce & Animal by Products" that also decided the pricing policy. It was possible to buy cashmere 'lots' via telex based on a standard quality referred to by figures that the operators had used for decades. KVSS01 was 38 mm white fibre, dehaired to 0.1%, KVSS02 was white, 38 mm dehaired to 0.2%, light grey was KW, brown was KX etc. Trading took place without any particular problems, the cashmere was of a standard quality: uncontaminated and a 'lot' was a ball of 1,500 kg reduced to 75 kg and marked with the famous red monogram.
Tientsin, in the Hebei province was for many years the historical centre of cashmere processing, with a good number of dehairing centres in the early 60s. Until 1980 it was the most important industry of Chinese dehairing and a point of reference for the "China National Produce & Animal by Products" in Peking, when they took control. Tientsin is also the capital's port and one of the three cities that depend directly on the government.

After Tien Ammen there was an important programme of Chinese economic reform, which resulted in more liberal attitudes towards the end of the 80s. Thanks to this liberalisation and know-how of the operators the number of dehairing lines increased considerably in the early 90s. They sprang up in Quinghe, in the Hebei province; more then 4,000 companies, some private, others local, some centrally controlled and others managed by Hong Kong traders. The control held by the "China National Produce & Animal by Products" was lost after the liberalisation and small companies began to adulterate the product, mixing it with wool during the dehairing and creating all sorts of problems for the sector operators. Since then, little has changed and a secure partnership with extremely accurate controls is the only way to avoid contamination of the cashmere.
Today Quinghe has the biggest concentration of dehairing plants in the nation; an estimated 50% in fact, followed by the Dong Shong area with 20% and Tientsin 5%. The remaining 25% are scattered over the huge Chinese territory.
The fibre collected in Inner Mongolia is ideal for products destined for the shops, with an excellent length and an average fineness of 14 to 15 micron. The difference between here an Outer Mongolia is that about 70% of the fibre is white, which the operators later control, accurately separating it from the coloured hair by hand. In the early 90s in some areas a selection of goats was chosen to try and produce a product devoid of coloured hair. One particular area is the Alan-Shan area, where there is the greatest concentration of white goats of the best quality, here the breeding of coloured or mottled goats is suppressed.

Characteristics and Qualities of Tibetan Cashmere

The Tibetan territory is so much more fantastic than we could possibly imagine, a place where nature rules uncontested. The Tibetan mountains constitute the most important plateaus in the world both in terms of their height and their vastness. The mountainous range from Kuenlun in the north to Himalaya and Karakorum in the south are a geographical strength.
Tibet is enormous, covering an area two-thirds the size of Europe, comprising of deserted areas rich in vegetation, which is steppe-like on the plateaus with an abundance of prairies and tundra and it's here that the herds of Cashmere goat live.

Without doubt Tibet is the mark of excellence, where cashmere was first discovered by the world when caravan leaders in the last century led camels and yaks carrying the precious long fibres of north Indian silk towards the neighbouring region of Ladakh. Today Tibet is still important as it represents 10% of the People's Republic of China's production, or an estimated 1,000 to 1,300 tons of grizzly, which is of the best quality. Tibetan cashmere is the finest in the world, 50% of which is brown and is usually under 13.5 micron.
The climatic conditions and altitude in Tibet mean that their harvest finishes later than everywhere else. The usual month for harvesting is July but due to the difficult territorial conditions, communication and the sheer size of the land it can take from 45 to 60 days. Only at the end of August is the fibre ready to be dehaired by the Chinese. It must be remembered that there are no railways in Tibet, the few roads that do exist are impassable for most of the year and many cities and villages are frequently cut off by snow. Plus the fact that the two major collection centres, 'NAGQU' and 'AR LI' are extremely far apart and the only means of communication is an almost inaccessible road.
Tibet is an immense country, with snow-capped mountains 4,000 mountains high, where the ice and snow never melt and there isn't any vegetation or signs of life. Lhasa is the capital and is 3,700 m above sea level and although there is a dehairing centre located there, it doesn't really figure in the cashmere business. 1,800 km north of Lhasa is the city of NAGQU and is the most important collection zone; from here most of the cashmere from Tibet Oriental is taken to Lhasa and then to China. All the cashmere collected in western Tibet is taken to the city of AR LIR in the northwest, near Ladakh and the Indian border. The best fibre in the world is found here as it is where the Tibetan "CHIRU" (Panthalops Hogsani) live, the 9 micron fibre is used to make the famous Shahtoosh shawls. However, Shahtoosh trading is illegal as the Chiru antelopes are on the edge of extinction and all Shahtoosh shawls are therefore imitations. AR LI is linked to Lhasa by a single road, which can only be traversed in the summer months and even then it can be impossible due to constant landslides. The goods are taken from AR LI to HOTAN in southern Xin Jiang, a Chinese province in the north of Tibet. The 10 day journey passes 7 mountains over 7,000 m high and involves a large group of vehicles because to remain isolated in that area means you'll never return. This is the only secure way to transport the west Tibetan cashmere to be dehaired by the Chinese.

The mix of ordinary hairs and duvet, collected by the shepherds, is delivered to traders or taken to collection centres. The displacement brings together the small quantities that would otherwise be lost in the immense territory. They are usually located in major cities, often agglomerations of a few businesses or at a market where negotiations are concentrated on the exchange of the goods.
From the collection centres the product is packed and transported to the factories by means of old, Russian lorries where the process of refining begins.

Once at the factory the material is carefully selected by hand and having discarded the mediocre parts it is divided into piles depending upon colour and fineness. During this operation the inevitable contamination caused by the packing is removed.

Subsequently the selected fibre is dispatched to the opening where strong aspirators remove the residual earth, after which it is washed and the fats are removed. From there it is dried and is then ready for the dehairing process.
The dehairing is a mechanical procedure to separate the coarse hairs from the "duvet". These mechanical methods vary according to the constructor of the plant and the origins of the machinery. Often the machines are constructed, modified and personalised according to the know-how acquired by the operator, who is generally very particular about his own modifications and his shrewdness in improving the quality and return.

The hourly production of these machines is extremely low and varies according to the productive system from 1 to 4 kilos per hour.
The principle of dehairing is very simple but to obtain a good product and a good return requires a correct evaluation of the characteristics of the material to be dehaired and good mechanical experience linked with the knowledge, and limits, of ones own machinery. The fibres are passed through numerous pairs of cylinders, typically in line with each other, and due to the difference in weight, the "giarre", or coarser fibres, fall leaving the duvet, which leaves the machine by means of a conveyor belt.

Some machines have a card, or comb, for the fibre, which is normally used in cotton manufacturing.

This machine is often the only solution to obtaining an effective cleaner for a cashmere laden with scurf, however at the expense of the loss of the fibre length.
This is due to the strong mechanical action that causes many breakages of the fibre.

A good lot of the cashmere originating from Inner or Outer Mongolia reduces to 50-60% prior to the dehairing and 60-70% afterwards.

This signifies that by hypothesising an average return of 200 grams per animal, the quantity would reduce to 100 to 120 grams prior to the dehairing and so 60 to 70 grams afterwards. Therefore 6 to 7 goats are needed to make enough cashmere for a jumper, 12 to 14 for a jacket and 25 to 30 for an overcoat.

The Yak was domesticated approximately 3,000 years ago by the Tibetans to be used for the transport of goods, but also in order to exploit the fibre, meat, skin, milk and other derivatives. It has always colonised particularly inhospitable Alpine environments characterised by tundra and rocks.

Cloaked in layers of long shaggy hair, and protected by a soft down, the yaks live at high altitudes in groups of between 10 and 30 individuals, more rarely in groups of up to 200, in the most remote areas of the Himalayan plateau in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Ladakh, China and Western Mongolia.

This large bovid possesses a thick, shaggy coat that is essential for its survival in the freezing temperatures of the high altitudes of Tibet. The coat is characterised by long coarse hairs and a thick, soft underlying down. The colouring ranges from black to dark brown with paler patches, sometimes whitish, around the muzzle. The animals that live at higher altitudes develop a thicker and longer coat, which often reaches to the ground.

Each spring the dense hairy coat of the yak is carefully combed to gather the fibre, and is then trimmed. Only the stomach and the lower part of the animal is combed, while the neck, the back and the entire upper part is left as it is. Each animal produces annually approximately 100 grams of hair, and the sale of this fibre represents the only resource of the nomad family for earning money.

The fibre is stored in big sacks and sent to the collection centres where it is sold to the purchasers and enters the production cycle which will transform it into fibre that can be spun.

The first phase is the selection, during which the coarser fibres are eliminated by hand and the material is classified in terms of colour and fineness. This is a slow and laborious task, performed by qualified workers, leading to the production of a daily quantity of approximately 10 kg of selected fibre.

Once it has been classified by colour, resulting in approximately 60% dark brown, 30% light brown and just 10%White, the fibre is then beaten to eliminate any earthy parts and then washed.

After this, the fine soft undercoat has to be separated from the shaggy coarse hairs that form the outer coat of the animal. This procedure, which is the same as that used for cashmere fibre, takes place in the dehairing plant, with the help of machinery which, exploiting the weight difference, separates the coarse fibres (heavier) from those which are softer and finer (lighter).

The dehaired fibre deriving from adult animals, ready to be used in the manufacturing industry, is of a length of 32-34 mm with a fineness ranging from 17 to 18.5 microns, while that originating from animals in the first two years of life is of a fineness that can vary from 16 to 17 micron, and is hence classified as "Super Yak" or "Baby Yak".

The province of Qinghai is the world leader in the collection of Yak fibre, with an annual production of 500 tons a year, while the overall total is around 1,000-1,200 tons.

The Alpaca is a domesticated species, is a South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance.

There are two breeds of alpaca, alpaca Suri and Huacaya alpacas.

Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador and northern Chile at an altitude of 3,500 but 5,000 meters, throughout the year. Alpacas are considerably smaller than the blade, and, unlike the blade, are not bred to be beasts of burden, but are bred specifically for their fiber. Alpaca fiber is used to make blankets, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, and a wide range of fabrics and ponchos. The fiber is available in more than 52 natural colors classified in Peru, 12 classified in Australia and 16 classified in the United States.

The Alpaca produces a natural fiber shiny and silky. And 'warmer wool, not pungent. The fiber has a special structure that helps protect from the cold and to maintain a constant heat and moisture from the body. The finished garment is therefore comfortable both at low and at high temperatures.

Being deprived of the natural oily substance called lanolin (present in wool), the fiber does not cause allergic reactions. In fact, the alpaca, like all camelids, produces no hair, but hair, very similar to our hair, and alpaca garments should be washed with shampoo and hair conditioner, as our hair. Also does not attract or retain dust.

The preparation, the processes of carding, spinning, weaving and finishing are very similar to the process used for wool.

Alpaca fiber is also flame resistant, and meets the standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission of the United States.

The alpaca is known in the world of high fashion as fiber elegant and of great value to the extraordinary softness and heat capacity. At the time of the Incas was reserved, for its rarity and preciousness, the exclusive use of the imperial families.

The most prized Baby Alpaca is obtained from the first shearing of small alpaca, when they have just a year old and is considered a noble fiber for particular properties and characteristics that distinguish it from other textile fibers found in nature.

Thanks to the fineness of the fiber (22.5 microns) the finished garment is extremely soft. The fiber has a special structure that helps protect from the cold and to maintain a constant heat and moisture from the body. The finished garment is therefore comfortable both at low and at high temperatures.

This large bovid possesses a thick, shaggy coat that is essential for its survival in the freezing temperatures of the high altitudes of Tibet. The coat is characterised by long coarse hairs and a thick, soft underlying down. The colouring ranges from black to dark brown with paler patches, sometimes whitish, around the muzzle. The animals that live at higher altitudes develop a thicker and longer coat, which often reaches to the ground.

Each spring the dense hairy coat of the yak is carefully combed to gather the fibre, and is then trimmed. Only the stomach and the lower part of the animal is combed, while the neck, the back and the entire upper part is left as it is. Each animal produces annually approximately 100 grams of hair, and the sale of this fibre represents the only resource of the nomad family for earning money.

The fibre is stored in big sacks and sent to the collection centres where it is sold to the purchasers and enters the production cycle which will transform it into fibre that can be spun.

The first phase is the selection, during which the coarser fibres are eliminated by hand and the material is classified in terms of colour and fineness. This is a slow and laborious task, performed by qualified workers, leading to the production of a daily quantity of approximately 10 kg of selected fibre.

Once it has been classified by colour, resulting in approximately 60% dark brown, 30% light brown and just 10%White, the fibre is then beaten to eliminate any earthy parts and then washed.

After this, the fine soft undercoat has to be separated from the shaggy coarse hairs that form the outer coat of the animal. This procedure, which is the same as that used for cashmere fibre, takes place in the dehairing plant, with the help of machinery which, exploiting the weight difference, separates the coarse fibres (heavier) from those which are softer and finer (lighter).

The dehaired fibre deriving from adult animals, ready to be used in the manufacturing industry, is of a length of 32-34 mm with a fineness ranging from 17 to 18.5 microns, while that originating from animals in the first two years of life is of a fineness that can vary from 16 to 17 micron, and is hence classified as "Super Yak" or "Baby Yak".

The province of Qinghai is the world leader in the collection of Yak fibre, with an annual production of 500 tons a year, while the overall total is around 1,000-1,200 tons.

The fibrous coat of the Bactrian camel is concentrated predominantly on the abdomen, the neck and the throat, and ranges in colour from pale cream to dark brown. The quantity of hair depends on the habitat in which the animal lives.

Like the Hircus goat, the cashmere goat, the camel has an ordinary outer coat and a fine undercoat. The duvet produced by animals that live in hotter and more temperate areas tends to be coarser than that of those who live in colder regions, who have thicker coats of finer hair.

The best fibre comes from Inner Mongolia, an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. More specifically, the desert region of Alashan, where the winters are extremely harsh, supplies the fibre of the best quality in terms of fineness and softness.

In the Bactrian camel the hair grows principally on the head, neck, shoulders, stomach and humps. The outer coat is thick and cannot be used for the manufacture of fabric, with a fineness varying from 20 to 120 micron and a length of around 38 mm. The undercoat of the adult animals instead varies from 19 to 22 micron with a maximum length of 34 mm.

By making a careful selection, it is sometimes possible to obtain a fibre of less than 17.5 micron, and even 16.5 micron, a fineness comparable to that of Iranian cashmere. This is fibre originating from animals in the early years of life, which is hence known as "Baby Camel".

The harvesting takes place in the spring when the camel loses its coat. This does not happen all at once; first the hair of the neck is lost, followed by that of the throat and finally the body coat. This process takes place over a span of 6-7 weeks, beginning in the late spring.

The fleece from the humps is not used, since without this the animal would be more prone to illness in the summer months. The hair is collected using various different systems: by combing the animal, by shearing, or simply by collecting the hair as it falls naturally. Each camel produces about 2.5 kg of hair per year.

Details regarding the quantities of camel hair produced are scarce, and the figures are undoubtedly somewhat inaccurate. The only reliable statistics date to 1987, when the People’s Republic of China recorded an annual national production of 1,800 tons, of which no less than 56% originated from the autonomous region of Inner Mongolia. Other regions for breeding and production are Xinjiang, Gansu, Qinghai and Ningxia. Small quantities of camel hair also come from Afghanistan and Iran, but the quality is decidedly inferior.

Camel fibre features interesting thermal characteristics which make it suitable for use in clothing. Only the most prized fibres of highly selective origin are used for knitwear, while in order to reduce costs the fibres used for weaving are of inferior quality.

The merino modern derived from a race bred in Spain in the twelfth century. Spain itself, by law, he has retained the exclusive until the seventeenth century.

The first country to which Spain granted the merino sheep, in the early eighteenth century, it was France, apparently following a donation from their respective sovereigns.

The merino wool is the fiber that is obtained from merino sheep. Each specimen can produce up to 10 kg of very fine wool.

It is estimated that nearly half of the world production of merino wool comes from Australia.

New Zealand is the country with the largest number of merino sheep in relation to population: there are seventy million, compared to three million and a half inhabitants.

Today it is present in various parts of the world and it is estimated that almost half of the existing sheep belong to the merino breed.

This type of wool is particularly sought after because of its subtlety, dependent on the fact that the hair of a merino sheep is thinner than the hair of a sheep common. Generally, a hair with a diameter of 20 microns or less comes from a merino sheep.

This particular characteristic, added to the other common quality wool, make it a very valuable fiber, ideal for certain packages of clothing, especially men's clothes. A dress merino fact is resistant to wear and fold like a wool suit common, but unlike this, being lighter, it can also be worn in warmer seasons.

The fabric said familiarly cool wool or even "wool four-seasons" is generally made with merino wool.

Australian wool is assembled in bales and sold in traditional public auctions, attended by buyers from around the world. The bales best, that is, with the finest wool, are traditionally purchased from Italian wool mills.

Silk is a very fine filament textile derived from the secretion of an insect called the silkworm.

The silkworm Bombyx best known is the larva of the moth Bombyx mori, that of silk moths, belonging to the order Lepidoptera and the family of Bombicidi.

The complete life cycle of the insect takes about 45-50 days, and through the following stages: hatching, larval growth through age five, spinning the cocoon, butterfly emergence, mating and spawning.

In spring, the eggs hatch when the mulberry tree begins to have leaves in the stage of maturity ideal for feeding newly hatched larvae baby girls, that is, between the end of April and beginning of May.
Hatching seeds whitening and the larvae are born, about 3 mm long.

At hatching the breeder transfers the small silkworms on horizontal trellises covered with mulberry leaves; larvae, about half a centimeter long, are small and dark, after ten days take on a whitish color.
Not all seeds produce the cocoon: on average 10% is lost to the death of the embryo or larva.

The larvae are insatiable and they feed voraciously on the leaves of the white mulberry "Morus alba". To feed 28 grams of seeds are needed 1000 kg of leaves.

The development is huge: the bug increases 40 times in length and 8,000 times by weight.

During development the larva changes four times the skin and any change constitutes a wetsuit. The suits are made about the 5th, 9th, 14th, 21 days after hatching, the larval period and divided into five age.

After about 6 weeks the caterpillar is fully developed and gives start the manufacture of the cocoon: in principle attaches to the branches some sections of burr, constituting the outer casing (spelaìa), then moving the head in all directions running spinning emitting a secretion stringy sticky paste that yes coil to coil.

During this phase, which lasts 3-4 days, the caterpillar ceases feeding and decreases in weight and volume.

Once the cocoon, the caterpillar will "pupates" to become an insect tough, still, dark brown in color, forming the chrysalis. After about two weeks, the chrysalis becomes a butterfly and, thanks to a small gland that emits a special liquid an opening between the filaments that form the cocoon and comes out.
Will mate and give birth to a new life cycle.

The adult moth is usually yellow or yellowish-white, with a stocky body and hairy.

During his short life (10 days) does not feed and die shortly after spawning, yellow, which ensures to a surface by a gummy substance produced by herself.

Usually a moth deposits from 300 to 500 eggs that are fertilized if, shortly after turn brown and hatch within ten days. The seeds are very small, say lenticular shape and brown color. Appropriate institutions collect them, keep them and distribute them to farmers in frames of gauze. 28 grams equals about 55000 seeds and become approximately 70 lbs. Of cocoons.

the Sericulture

It is mainly women of rural families to take care of the bug and to follow the various stages of breeding: the mute, the construction of the "forest", the elimination of cocoons putrid, winding wire, freed from sericin manually in 'boiling water using small reels.
Breeding begins putting the seeds of bugs on mattresses. After hatching, the worms are placed on racks wicker, called "silkworm" armor of wood with several shelves made of reed mats.

At this point, the silkworms are covered well and fed with mulberry leaves dry, fresh, clean and crushed.

The first bug that check is called Cavallaro. With the growth of the "knights", increase their appetite and eating mulberry leaves grow rapidly at first then crush them whole.
When the silkworms eat continuously work of peasant family becomes very challenging.

6000 bugs are needed to feed 100 kilograms of mulberry leaves.
This requires that the breeding of silkworms is near mulberry plantations so as to satisfy the greed of the caterpillar leaves always fresh.

The of silk moths this name because his power is made from the leaves of the white mulberry, the most common is the "Morus alba", a tree-like plant native to the Asian regions around the Himalaya.

After about forty days after hatching, four skin changes and an increase in body weight of 10 000 times the original one, worms stop feeding: it is time to spin the cocoon.

The peasant family prepares the "forest" with dry twigs twisted so that bugs can stand on it and make the cocoon clinging to branches. The premises are suitably darkened and the rod, by means of the chain, an organ located below the mouth, begins to spin the cocoon secreting a filament wet which solidifies just in contact with the air.

As soon as the cocoon is completed (about 4 days) is disconnected from the "forest" and worked right away, before it occurs the metamorphosis of the silkworm chrysalis and the inside is transformed into a butterfly escaping and thus breaking the precious filament that for each cocoon is long up to 1000 m. If nothing is done in time, and the little animal is done flicker, once the pupation, the butterfly emits a reddish secretion,

dissolve the gummy substance caking combining the wires and, through the use of a dedicated anatomical file that cuts the fibers, comes out. Within a few days you consume the whole cycle of "silkworm": mating, oviposition and eventually death.

The breeding of silkworms for centuries constituted the fundamental economics of farming families in rural areas of Zhejiang and Jiangsu and the mulberry growing still represents a source of income for these primary.

Reeling and Twisting

In breeding silkworms the reproductive process is interrupted at the stadium since the moth chrysalis, emerging from the cocoon produce lacerations that would reduce the commercial value of the silk and therefore most of the bugs is suppressed.
The cocoons are immersed in boiling water or dried in ovens. Only moths strictly necessary for playback are made flicker.

The recovery of the silk thread is a very delicate process, technically called reeling, and begins with the drying of cocoons followed by a careful selection to classify the regularity and obtain homogeneous yarns.

The cocoons of different types (normal and duplication) are split before starting the task, and then are taken separately, in order to ensure the uniformity of the wire.
The following operations are spelaiatura, scopinatura and reeling.

The cocoon is covered with a fluff, said spelaia. that must be removed in order to unravel the thread after finding the capofilo. For this purpose are used brushes sorghum, which are rubbed with cocoons to highlight the capofilo.

Tied capofilo to a reel, the cocoons are made to rotate in boiling water (to remove the gummy layer that covers) and the filament of four or eight cocoons joined and wound on a reel.

The filament which is obtained is called raw silk and consists normally of 48 individual filaments.

To obtain a semi-consistent four additional steps are necessary: incannaggio, rewinding, doubling and twisting.

The coils are unraveled on a winder that allows the passage of the wires from the coil spool.

The stracannatoio instead moved the wire from a racchetto another, forcing it through a thin slit (clearer), whose task is to clean it from any nodes and eliminate groviglie.

Through Doubling the wires are coupled together so as to prepare the yarn for the subsequent operation of the twisting and make it more consistent.

So through the wringer spools, quickly rotating in the vertical direction, while the reel rotates slowly in a horizontal direction, giving a twist to the filaments.

According to the way it backfires, you will get different types of yarn: the organza, crepe etc.

Commercial classifications

The first classification is to divide silks taken from those obtained from residues.
In both cases, the other important elements are the fineness and color. The fineness of each bavella ranges from 12 to 15 microns. The colors are the most valued white and yellow, but there are also cocoons green and pink; however much importance is the uniformity of color.
With the silk is important that you get two yarns are the organzine and the plot and have the following characteristics:
The organza is silk yarn of the highest quality and is made from fine silks drawn. It is obtained from two or more wires twisted unique "Z" and subsequently to "S".

Depending on the amount of the wires and the degree of twist you get next organzines: the grenadine or granadine which is the most twisted, the organzine strafilato, the average and the common.
The plot is a yarn obtained with current and thirst, generally used in the plot tissue, crepe stands (the most twisted) and marabout.

The waste can be classified into spelaia, strusa and yarn wastes.
The spelaia includes cocoons sfarfallati used for breeding, those moth-eaten, the incomplete, the bad and the down surface.
The strusa includes cocoons soaked in water during maceration, because they were healthy (gallettame) and the cocoon before the end of the chrysalis (annealed).

The yarn wastes include residues of spinning and twisting.

From the processing of waste combed longer you get a yarn that is called noil silk or Terzanelle or foil; this is the silk yarn commonly used for knitting but because of its nature it can not compete in quality and regularity with silks taken.

Sometimes also the impurities and the small number of nodes present therein influence the result of the finished product. By combing waste, other products come out even more shorts that provide appropriately processed bourette or roccardino.

variety

Mulberry silk: the quality of silk is the most common product of the secretion of two glands moth called "Bombix mori", or more commonly silkworm, which feeds on the leaves of the mulberry tree.
And 'silk most common and the most widespread in sericulture.

Tussah or wild silk: There are other types of silk derived from larvae of various species of moth as "Antheraea Mylitta", "Antheraca proylei", "Antherea pins" and "Antheraca yamamai" living on oak and ash trees, of which they feed, but their cocoon is darker, hard and compact, usually yellow or gray.
The burrs are irregular and of a section coarser. The thirst that derive are called wild (tussah).
The cocoons are brought to a boil in a chemical solution or treated with a softener to obtain a product more fluffy.

Muga: silk native of the production area of Assam and India called "Muga" which indicates Assamese in the amber color of the cocoons.
It belongs to the same family of Tussah and is very popular for its characteristic golden color.
Muga is produced by "Antheraea Assama" and is an endemic species of the Brahmaputra valley.

Eri: other silk of Indian origin. The word comes from the Sanskrit Eri where the castor plant "Ricinus communis" is called eranada.
The leaves of castor, herbaceous plant common in tropical and sub-tropical, belonging to the family Euphorbiaceae, is the diet pricipale of these larvae are called accordingly Eri.
The larvae are the sun You were among those not belonging to varieties that feed on mulberry leaves, in order to be kept in sericulture.

Quantity Produced

A larva produces up to a maximum of two kilometers of filament, which, however, must be joined with others to obtain a yarn suitable to be used in knitting.

To get a kilo of raw silk are required at least 10 pounds of cocoons, or 6000 silkworms fed a ton of mulberry leaves. In summary, it takes about 1000 silkworms to produce the yarn necessary for the realization of a mesh of 200 grams.

The cultivation of flax

The flax grown in Western Europe is known for being the best in the world. This level of excellence is the result of a combination of three factors benefits: the availability of suitable land, favorable climatic conditions and knowledge of experts linicoltori quality-conscious.
In the field of agricultural production, the specialists leave nothing to chance: land preparation, selection of varieties, planting and growing of flax, control culture, collection for extirpation and maceration designed to encourage the extraction of the fibers. These are all steps that require the same rigor and the same treatment.
With a strong content of tradition but open to advances in scientific and industrial research, this culture is practiced by always respecting the environment.

PLANT

The Linum usitatissimum

Flax, Linum usitatissimum defined in botany, is a plant of the family of dicotyledonous linacee.

The plant is composed of a single stem that can reach approximately one meter tall with a diameter ranging from 1 to 3 millimeters on which grow from 80 to 100 sessile leaves alternate.
The flower, usually blue is said "to 5". It is in fact a capsule comprising 5 lobes, each of which contains 2 seeds. The seeds, smooth, flat and usually reddish-brown color, they are light and small and slightly curved at the tip.

Flax is a plant characterized by rapid growth; its growing period is about 100 days. It is cultivated as a textile plant because its stem produces the fibers and its seeds, a quality oil that is widely used.

A plant "ecological"

Among all the textile plants, the cultivation of flax is one that respects the environment more.

The production of flax in western Europe

In Europe it is cultivated since ancient flax, a production that has always been recognized as the best in the world. The cultivation of flax draws fact benefit both from more favorable climatic conditions - temperate humid climate - both from the lands best suited They consist of sandy clay soils.
The best soils are currently in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, but also in Germany, Austria, Finland. They represent a total area of cultivation of about 75,000 hectares.

SEEDING AND CONTROL OF CULTURE

Although the cultivation of flax requires few active substances, however, requires a profile of land favorable for germination, a rigorous selection of varieties and a regular distribution of the seeds. The preparation and the control culture are decisive for the success of the production.

Seeding and growth of flax

Flax seeds are small and have limited nutritional reserves. This peculiarity obliged to follow the rules of sowing different from those used for cereals: the linicoltore must effectively adapt their behavior so as to create the most favorable conditions for the germination of seeds and adjust to ensure the homogeneity of the crop stage seeding. The application of these two precepts is a guarantee of the quality and profitability of the cultivation of flax.

Land preparation and sowing

The preparation of the earth must favor one part regular and quick germination of the seeds and, secondly, the good development of the root system of the plants.

Sowing takes place between mid-March and mid-April. The linicoltore must check that the grains are distributed as evenly as possible on the ground to obtain a homogeneous plantation.
The optimum density is 1800 plants per square meter in such a way as to ensure the best possible relationship between crop yield, resistance to lodging (bending towards the ground) of the plant and the quality of fineness and strength of the fiber.

The development of the plant

The growth of the flax is fast. From seed germination to maturity desired passes little more than a hundred days during which the stem reaches its maximum height.

The choice of the variety

There are about twenty selected varieties of flax grown for the production of textile fibers in Western Europe. The choice of the variety of flax it is a function of the conditions of the soil, the nature of the climate, the wind resistance of the stem of the plant, of the criterion of productivity and the quality sought for the final product. The choice of the variety to be sown is a key factor in the context of the culture of flax.

Protection of crop

Flax growing demands very limited use of fertilizers and pesticides.

The plant has recently attacked by parasites and predators. His only enemies are serious weeds that does not tolerate much.

COLLECTION OF LINEN

For collection processes are required, specific techniques and materials. It must ensure, in particular, the phases of the plants and grubbing of maceration to the ground which causes the natural decomposition of the binders that hold the fibers.

The pulling the stems

The collection typically begins five weeks after flowering means when the flax has reached maturity desired detectable by staining of the stems and the degree of defoliation of plants.
The flax is extirpated to preserve the entire length of the fibers contained in the stem. This technique requires the use of special agricultural machinery. Upon grubbing machines form windrows (corridors) on which are laid parallel rows of stalks.

The maceration on the ground

Once extirpated, flax is left lying on the ground in a manner that, with the first rains, it triggers the process of maceration. This promotes the degradation of the stems through the enzymatic action of microorganisms (fungi and bacteria) occur naturally in the soil. The decomposition activated by moisture, wind and the mild temperatures, eliminate the ligands of the stems allowing to separate the fiber bundles by the coating substances thus facilitating the subsequent extraction.

A natural process

For maceration on the ground, the linicoltore does not resort to any treatment because the process is entirely natural. This is a common technique that depends on climatic conditions and therefore may not be applicable to all regions of Western Europe. Researchers and industrialists are researching innovative enzymatic processes of maceration.

An operation that depends on the climate

Depending on weather conditions, the length of maceration can vary from two weeks to three months.

The overthrow of the stems

The overthrow of the straw on the ground is an operation that takes place midway through the maceration and is critical to occur a good soaking to the ground. Is practiced to promote the maceration homogeneous on all sides of the stems allowing drying.

the mixing

The mixing is performed after the flax is withered, for the production of seed. During this operation, the capsules containing seeds for sowing the next season are removed and jokes.

The collection and storage

Once the flax is macerated and it has reached a moisture content less than 15%, is collected mechanically and pressed into large round bales that, left field, are stored until the moment of extraction of the fibers. Collected in these conditions, the flax is able to maintain very long without being degraded.

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