Cotton is a fluffy, natural fiber that grows in a spiral-shaped boll or bristle, on the undersides of the seedlings of the plant Gossypium perforatum. The fiber is mostly pure cellulose. Under natural circumstances, the cotton fibers will further increase the internal dispersal of seeds. Cotton is very strong and is most often used to make linings, padding, yarns, and hosiery. Cotton is also a popular fabric for handicrafts, such as sweaters, bedspreads, tablecloths, quilts, bath towels, lingerie, and corsets.
The natural fiber from cotton plants are called bolls. The larger bolls, which are more than six millimeters in diameter, are usually sought after by commercial yarn makers. Most cotton yarns are produced by running water through the seed beads until the fiber is very fine, forming it into yarns. Large cotton bolls that are over ten millimeters in diameter are not favored by most commercial yarn makers.
Yarn is made of various components, including cotton fibres. The most commonly used component is cotton fibre alpaca. Cotton and alpaca yarns are the staple length for most domestic and export applications. They are soft and have good thermal conductivity properties. However, cotton fibre itself is not good for creating yarns because the fine, spiraled threads are easily damaged. The end result is yarns that are shorter in gauge.
Card sliver yarn is an alternative to cotton yarn. It is made from poplar or silk fibers that have been woven on a cotton foundation. The end result is yarns that are stronger, smoother and lighter than cotton yarn. Many manufacturers use card sliver yarn to make yarns that are suitable for making mittens, gloves, sweaters and scarves.
Lace, also known as aran, is an alternative to cotton yarn. It is created from the fine, strong, lace-like threads that arise when cotton grows. The threads are then spun, dyed and tumbled to form yarn. This yarn is stronger than most other yarns and has a lustrous shine. In Australia, aran yarns are valued highly for manufacturing gloves, dresses, shawls and baby clothes.
Long list items may be made from other sources of fibre, including kangaroo wool and silk. Kangaroo wool is a good choice because it produces yarns that are long and sturdy. Silk is another option and is quite popular in handcrafts, because it can be used to produce clothing and lingerie. However, silk may not always be available where cotton is grown and may have to be imported.
When yarn is produced from other sources, it is often mixed with cotton. This makes cotton softer and lighter but makes it weaker in some ways. When cotton and wool are blended, they create yarns that are stronger and have a natural sheen. Mixing cotton and wool means that cotton can be mixed with cotton grown in other countries where cotton is more expensive. In doing so, cotton is cheaper than yarn grown conventionally.
Yarn can be made from many types of fabric. Satin and silk are common, but some yarns are made from cotton hide, pig skin or recycled jeans. The yarn can be machine-washed and dry-cleaned, but care should be taken not to expose the yarn to heat or chemicals. Some yarns may lose their qualities and become unsuitable for weaving, so it is important to choose cotton yarns carefully.
There are many advantages of using cotton in textile production. The fibre is hardwearing and durable and requires little care and maintenance. The cotton plant grows slowly, enabling the crop to be produced throughout the year. Because cotton grown in hydroponic systems requires less water and fertiliser, it has the advantage of being cheaper than cotton grown in soil.
While it is true that cotton grown in hydroponic systems takes longer to grow than cotton grown conventionally, this is because the system enables greater air exposure, and so a bigger surface area can be covered per unit area. Additionally, cotton was grown on a structure such as a roof offers the advantage that it can be covered more frequently, meaning a fresher crop is produced each season. However, when the cotton is grown on a structure, it is much more susceptible to damage from the wind, so careful attention to weather should be observed. Cotton, which is not planted or managed in a sheltered environment is more likely to suffer from pests and diseases.
Cotton is used extensively in textiles. It is most commonly found in jeans, dresses and other clothing items. In addition, it can be used to produce fleece and other high quality wool products. Some cotton also contains natural anti-bacterial properties, making it suitable for use in the food industry as bedding and furniture coverings. cotton is also used in industrial production as stuffing, packaging and batting for garments and other items made from cotton.