Camira Goes From Fabric To Farming To Secure Supply Of Bast Fiber
Camira's hemp is grown as agricultural crops under licence from the UK Government on farms in England. This bast fibre plant - like nettles, flax and jute - contains naturally occurring textile fibre just inside the outer bark to give the stem both strength and flexibility.
Hemp is sown from seed in the springtime and is one of the fastest growing biomasses known, reaching over 10 feet in just 120 days, without the need for agro-chemicals. After harvesting, the long stems are left in bundles on the field, while its leaves decompose and act as natural fertiliser for the following year's crop. A process called dew retting breaks down the fibres inside the stalks, the stalks are then baled ready for final separation. Mechanical decortication breaks the brittle, woody stems which gradually fall away from the lighter, flexible fibre. The woody shive is used for bio-degradable animal bedding, while the textile fibre is blended with pure new wool.
Camira plant 40lbs of hemp seed per acre. 1 acre produces 2.5 tonnes of hemp straw, yielding 1,000lbs of hemp fiber, which - in a 60% wool, 40% hemp blend - makes 2,500 yards of fabric. The company currently has 12 acres under cultivation which should provide enough hemp to make 137,000 yards when blended with wool.
The wool hemp yarn is blended and spun locally near the Camira manufacturing facility in England. The fabric is then woven on energy efficient high speed dobby looms. Finally the fabric is piece-dyed in low liquor dye vessels using non-metallic dyestuffs and a natural water supply flowing directly from local hills.
The combination of blending bast fiber with pure new wool, makes an inherently fire retardant fabric without the requirement for FR chemicals, post treatments or backcoating. Providing enhanced fire security for commercial interiors.
Soft to handle, naturally inspired and manufactured using locally grown materials, Hemp is Camira's most sustainable fabric ever.
Posted on August 14, 2012
Source: Camira Fabrics Ltd.