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Fabric Dictionary

Fabric Dictionary

Kangaroo Hides

Although illegal in California, kangaroos are bread for their hides and used to make shoe leather. Kangaroo leather is a strong and lightweight leather featuring a unique structure that allows it to be cut down to a very thin substance while still retaining its strength. This type of hide can withstand 3 to 4 times as many cycles of an abrasion test as a deer hide of the same thickness. Although popular in the manufacture of motorbike leathers, kangaroo leather is also often used to make a wide variety of other applications such as car upholstery, military boots, football boots and fashion accessories.

Uses:

  • • boots
  • • gloves
  • • upholstery

Pros:

  • • lightweight
  • • strong
  • • abrasion resistance
Kapok

A type of tree that produces a cotton-like fiber in its seed pods. The fiber is lightweight, resistant to water, and mostly used in place of down. Incredibly buoyant, it was first used for life jackets.

Uses:

  • • pillows
  • • upholstery
  • • plush toys

Pros:

  • • lightweight
  • • water resistant

Cons:

  • • flammable
  • • labor intensive
Karakul

A type of sheep who's pelts were used to make hats by the same name. Also called broadtail, the breed of Central Asian sheep used for karakul have a wide tail and wool that is curled and glossy in the young, but wiry and coarse in the adults.

Uses:

  • • hats
Kasha

A blend of wool and goat hair. Kasha is its brand name. The fabric features a soft, fuzzy hand and a warp-wise streak.

Pros:

  • • soft nap
  • • warm
Kashmir

A type of goat that produces cashmere found in Kashmir India, Tibet, Iran, Iraq, China, Persia, Turkestan and Outer Mongolia. Its coat is known for its extremely soft hand. The goat's underbelly is extremely fine and lightweight. Its natural color is white, black, brown or gray, but can be dyed in a variety of shades. Incredibly warm, the fiber trumps sheep's wool in insulation 3 to 1. Kashmir goats are scarce making it a sought-after fiber.

Uses:

  • • sweaters
  • • suits
  • • scarves
  • • outerwear
  • • robes
  • • gloves
  • • hats
  • • socks

Pros:

  • • lightweight
  • • soft
  • • warm

Cons:

  • • stretches over time
  • • dry clean only
  • • not strong or durable
Kenaf

Also known as hibiscus cannabinus, Kenaf plant fibers have similar characteristics to jute. The earliest traces of the plant dates back over 3,000 years ago in Egypt. It is a great eco-friendly fabric in that it grows quickly, it has a minuscule carbon footprint, and is biodegradable. It may transform into fabric, rope, and plastic.

Uses:

  • • rope
  • • twine
  • • fabric
  • • plastic

Pros:

  • • environmentally friendly

Cons:

  • • coarse
Kersey

Dating back to Medieval England, its name comes from Kersey, Suffolk where it originated. It was the main fabric used for peasants and workers during the time and has since gone extinct. It is a coarse woolen warp-back twill created from thick, carded wool yarns. The fabric is of a medium to heavy weight, similar to a melton or beaver cloth. It contains a high luster and a directional nap.

Uses:

  • • over-coats
  • • uniforms

Pros:

  • • lustrous

Cons:

  • • coarse
  • • heavy
Kilim

A type of flat weave that is used to create pileless rugs and tapestries. Although the type of weave comes from Turkey, it has been seen throughout history in the Middle East and Asia as well. The earliest record of kilim rugs was found during the 4th and 5th century. The weft-faced weave may portray any number of designs featuring geometric symbols of women, amulets, and scorpions. Once a color has reached its designated edge, it gets wrapped around the warp yarns creating an open slit. The warp yarns are then gathered at the bottom and bunched to create a tassel fringe design. Since the indigenous nature of the rugs, their designs haven't changed from their original intention making them extremely collectible.

Uses:

  • • rugs
  • • tapastry

Pros:

  • • unique designs
  • • collectible

Cons:

  • • less durable than pile rugs
Kilt Pins

Kilt pins have a rich and somewhat argued origin. Worn on the bottom left corner of a kilt, their purpose is to keep the kilt from blowing open. It is said that the tradition began when Queen Victoria gave her brooch to a soldier during a particularly windy day. Some pins are more decorative than others, showcasing the owner's wealth. The event also determines what type of pin should be worn. Ornate pins were worn for special occasions, while large safety pins were used for everyday use.

Uses:

  • • kilts

Pros:

  • • decorative
  • • keeps garment closed

Cons:

  • • may damage kilt
Knit Picker

A tool with a tiny hook and loosely hinged piece at the end that is somewhat similar to a carabiner. The tool is used to catch snags and tuck them through the interior. It may also be used for a number of craft projects such as shag rugs and wall hangings.

Uses:

  • • knits
Knit

A fabric made up of a series of interlocking loops using one set of yarns. The benefit of the loop make-up is that it creates a stretch, sometimes up to 500%. It may be made with two knitting needles by hand, or by a machine. Knits are made up of "knits" and "purls." The knit side features a "V" shape, while the purl side is more horizontal and looks like waves. There are an endless amount of knitting techniques that produce a wide variety of outcomes. There are rib knits, double knits, cable knits and jersey knits to name a few. In a broader sense, knits are either made by warp knitting or weft knitting. The method dates as far back as the first millennium AD.

Pros:

  • • one set of yarns
  • • unwrinkles faster than wovens
  • • stretch
  • • warm
  • • quick to produce
  • • more hydrophilic

Cons:

  • • prone to snagging
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