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Stefan's Florilegium


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Fiber-Survey-art - 8/20/01


A class outline for a "Survey of Fibers" taught at Pennsic 28 by Laudine S. Elinore.


NOTE: See also the files: fabric-ident-msg, hemp-cloth-msg, linen-msg, textiles-msg, silk-msg, cotton-art, color-a-fab-bib, dye-list-art, green-art.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set

of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at:



Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be

reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first

or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


                              Thank you,

                                   Mark S. Harris

                                   AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                        stefan at florilegium.org                                         



A Survey of Fibers

by Laudine S. Elinore


A. Vegetable Fibers


1. Bast - fiber bundles act as hawsers and need to be freed of non-cellulosic tissue before use

a. flax (Linum usilatissium, Silene cretica, or S. linicola)

b. hemp (Cannabis sativa)

c. ramie, "China grass" (Boehmeria nivea, or B. tenacissema)

d. jute (sp. Corchorus)

e. sunn, "Indian hemp" (Crotalaria juncea)

f. kenaf, "Guinea hemp" (Hibiscus cannabinus)


2. Leaf Fibers - fibers running like veins acting as hawsers for support

a. sisal (Agave sisalana) *New World*

b. henequen (A. fourcroydes) *New World*

c. cantala, "maguey" (A. cantala) *New World*

d. Abaca, "Manila hemp" (Musa textilis)


3. Seed and Fruit Fibers - seed hairs for buoyancy in air or on water

a. cotton (sp. Mallow)

b. coir (Cocos nucifera)

c. tree cotton (sp. Malvaceae, or sp. Bombax) *New World*


B. Animal Fibers

1. Sheep Wool -probably one of the oldest fibers used by man, breeds known in period:

Merino -Roman breed

Border Leicester


Spelsau - Norwegian/Viking

Romney Marsh

Scottish Blackface - indigenous highland wild sheep


Lincoln Longwool -possibly period

Fell, slipe, or Mazamet -removed from dead or meat animals


2. Goat Wool and Hair

a. cashmere

b. Persian goat hair

c. mohair


3. Camel and Camelid

a. camel

b. llama *New World*

c. alpaca *New World*

d. vicuna *New World*

e. guanaco *New World*


4. Fur Fibers

a.  angora rabbit

b.  dog


5. Silk - extruded protein floss

a. Bombyx mori

b. Tussahs -semi-wild

Chinese tussar (Antheraea pernyi)

Indian tussah (A. mylitta)

Japanese Yama-mia (A. yama-mia)



c. wild silk moths

Atlas (Altacus atlas)

Luna (Actias luna) *New World* <note ENDANGERED SPECIES>

d. spider silk e. marine silk


C.  Inorganic Fibers

1. Asbestos

2. Precious Metal




Birrell, V. "Textile Fibers and Their Uses The Textile Arts", Harper and Bros 1959.


Blair-Nelson. S. "The History and Use of Cotton" unpublished 1998.


Cook, G. "Handbook of Textile Fibers: Natural Fibers", Redwood Burn Ltd., Trowbridge, Wiltshire, Great Britain; 5th ed. 1984.


Drooker. P. Silk, "The Story of a Culture Handwoven", vol 7, n 1, 1986 Hillstad, C. Spinning Flax Threads, n 19, Oct/Nov 1988.


Kolander, C. "A Silk Workers Notebook", Interweave Press, Co, 1985.

Mattera, J. "A History of Silk" Shuttle. Spindle, and Dyepot; vol 8, n 2 Sp 1977.


Mattera. J. "A History of Bast" Fibers Shuttle, Spindle, and Dyepot; vol 8 n 4, Fa 1977.


Nehring, N. "Hemp, the Forgotten Fabric", Threads, June/July 1997.


Scott, P . "The Book of Silk", Thames and Hudson 1993.


Ulrich, P. "From Fustian to Merino: The Rise of Textiles Using Cotton Before the Gin", Agricultural History  vol 68, n 2, Sp 1994.


Weible, A. C. "Two Thousand Years of Textiles". Pantheon Books, NY 1952.


West, V. "Sensuous Silk". Handwoven, vol 7, n 1, Jan/ Feb 1986.



Copyright 1998 by Susan Blair-Nelson. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in

the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also

appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being

reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org