STOCKINGS


ENTER THE THROWSTER!


Raw silk arrives in this country in bales, each containing hanks of silk which go to the silk Throwster who makes the raw silk into usable threads. This process is known as “throwing”.

The single thread of raw silk is wound on spools prior to being twisted. This forms the basis of silk hosiery yarns. Two or more of these separate threads are twisted together by the Throwster into strong, pliable yarn, and the method of twisting is appropriate for the style of stocking required by the Hosiery Manufacturer; that is what is meant when reference is made to two, three, or four-thread stockings and their construction and style in both seamless and fully-fashioned.

In the hosiery industry, the twist of silk per inch is important, and manufacturers measure twist, not only by the number of twists per inch, but by the method by which the threads are twisted together. These styles may be roughly divided into the following categories:-

1. Tram Silk. Two or more threads doubled together and given a slight twist, usually about five turns to the inch. (Until a few years ago, most silk stockings were knitted from Tram Silk, producing hose which not only had a “fuzzy” appearance, but also snagged easily. Duller hosiery—having a matt appearance—was demanded by the public, and manufacturers, with the help of the Throwsters, experimented with twists much higher than that used on “Tram twist”, and this resulted in today’s various constructional types, which follow.)

2. High-Twist Silk. If a strand of Tram silk be twisted, the whole strand tightens up and becomes harder and thinner. This is the beginning of “High Twist”, and is then the same construction as Tram, but with a greater number of turns per inch, varying from ten to twenty turns. This extra twist, up to a certain limit, strengthens the thread and gives a better “feel” and wearing quality. High-Twist softens down the lustre of the silk and promotes a dull finish.

3. Organzine Silk. Each separate raw thread is twisted in one direction about fourteen to sixteen turns per inch. These ends are doubled together, two or more threads, and are given about twelve turns in the reverse direction. This two-way twisting

STOCKINGS

the silk is cleaned, so that a smooth, glossy, and soft thread is achieved. After this, the cleaned thread runs over a velvet ribbon, and through two knives which are closely put together, but which can be adjusted, and these knives—as thread clearers—remove all knots and flocks in the thread. If a knot is too thick, the knives break the thread; the flaw is then removed by the spinner, and the thread tied together again.

The lengths of fibre reelable in different countries are:-

 Italy   600 yards per cocoon.

 China 1,000 yards per cocoon.

 Japan 2,000 yards per cocoon.
(The unreelable parts of the cocoons are used for the production of so-called “spun” silk articles.)

The variation is due to the different degrees of silkworm culture, and Japan, having brought this to a fine art, profits accordingly. (The silkworm little realises that the silk made is one of the main materials used in the manufacture of Fully-Fashioned and Seamless Stockings!)

After the reeling process comes the “twisting”, the final product being a yarn of first importance, its properties making it particularly desirable for hosiery. These are:

1. Strength. It has a strength of 3.8 grams per denier, and is approximately equal to steel for a given denier.

2. Long and elastic fibres. These ensure the production of a fabric having resiliency, or lively spring, so that the stocking—while giving under strain—still conforms to the leg.

3. Beautiful appearance. Not only does it possess this to a great degree, but it is also exceedingly soft, the fibres lending themselves to the process of hosiery knitting.

4. The yarn is absorbent, taking up moisture to 30% of its own weight without feeling moist to the touch. This quality also makes it peculiarly suitable for the production of stockings. (Standard regain is 11%.)

5. Denier. A cocoon thread equals approximately 3 deniers; this is too fine to knit by itself, so 5 or 6 cocoon filaments are reeled together according to the desired thickness of thread shaping, which would equal 13/15, the deniers of the final thread being known as “hosiery one thread”.