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On looking at my closet, I see that cotton has won the textile wars. Why is cotton the preferred fabric? I think because it is soft. Why is it soft? I think that this is a combination of small fiber diameter and long fiber length. The small diameter fibers mean that when a fiber end protrudes, its
lack of size and thus stiffness makes it non-poky and so nonitchy. The length means that there are less of these ends to protrude.
Hair shirts have legendary itchiness. Wool can be pretty itchy too. Why are these animal fibers itchier? I propose that it is because fibers are thicker/stiffer, so when a fiber end pokes out of yarn it jabs the wearer more.
But this whole "poking out of the yarn" is an artifact of the archaicism of yarn - multiple small fibers wadded into one big one. This does n ot capitalize on potential long long length of animal hair. I propose that with modern machinery individual long hairs each be treated as a single piece of yarn, and individually woven into fabric.
The result: very long individual fibers of hair, with very few protruding ends. Hair cloth which is one hair thick. Extreme softness and durability.
or the reverse- a woolen beard!
[xandram, Feb 10 2011]
||I would question durability. Yarn (or thread) has has the advantage of redundancy. If a single fiber breaks, it doesn't completely break the weave. The same would not be true of this.
||I like leather - but that's just me!
||Hair shirts are for wusses! I wear a shirt made from old coconut matting.