Sisal - what is it and what is it for?
Many needlewomen who are interested in new types of materials could often hear about such natural fiber as sisal. What is this material in fact, few know. Where does it come from, what can be made of it?
In fact, sisal is an absolutely natural plant fiber. It is produced in Mexico and Latin America. His properties have liked people since ancient times. For the first time, products from sisal came to Europe only in the 16th century. In Spain arrived ships from America, on board which were unusually strong ropes.
People did not yet know what sisal is, but already then they understood its value. Since then, of course, natural fiber has been actively replaced by synthetic analogues, but the production of sisal in the world is still quite developed. The first global producer of this raw material is Brazil. Keep up with Tanzania, Mexico and Colombia.
In this article we will take a detailed look at what sisal is, what plant it is produced from, how it happens, what can be made from this material, how to work with it nowadays.
Sisal is obtained from the long narrow leaves of a plant belonging to the genus Agave, or rather its name is: Agava sisolana. Now more and more often the name is simplified and the plant is also called sisal. Grow good full agave bushes from 5 to 7 years. It is during this period that the size of the leaves reaches two meters. At the very tip of a sharp leaf spike grows. The leaves are dense, like swords. In one outlet of an agave there can be up to 250 leaves of different lengths.
Interesting fact! In the last year of its 10-year existence, a long arrow with a flower is thrown from the center of the rosette of leaves, sometimes its size reaches 6 meters. After that, the plant gradually fades and dies. This type of agave does not give seeds, as the plant belongs to hybrids. You already know what sisal is, now let's look at how strong leaves are obtained from leaves.
How is fiber extracted?
Agave grows in a hot subtropical climate with an average growing temperature of + 25 ° C. Gather the leaves of the man, cutting off their long machetes near the base of the socket, then they are beaten off, and the dense part is divided into small parts. Inside the leaves are incredible long and strong fibers.
There are regions, for example, some plantations of Tanzania, where until now all manipulations are done manually. In more advanced countries, decorticating machines are used for this purpose, which break and crush the leaves. However, long fibers are pulled out by the hands of workers.
Next, the raw fiber is thoroughly washed to remove the remains of the plant and hanged to dry on long racks with ropes stretched. Then hand brushes fibers combed out. The flesh of the leaves is also used. It is dried and fertilizers are made. In the photo, sisal is pulled from the inside of an agave leaf. It turns out a long bundle of individual durable threads.
Properties of sisal rope
A coarse and rather barbed rope is obtained from the fibers of the plant, since no special treatment is used in production. It is made of different thicknesses - from deck ropes to thin twines.
Rope and rope manufacturers love sisal fiber for the following properties:
- extraordinary strength;
- light natural shade of fibers (jute is much darker);
- rigid structure (therefore often they make racks for cats for sisal ropes to sharpen claws; in pet shops you can touch this material by touch);
- however, its cost is higher than that of a jute analogue of natural ropes.
Why use in mattresses
Many have heard about the filling of good orthopedic mattresses with coconut coir. However, it is highly valued sisal. Fibers have better elasticity. Even with prolonged use of the mattress, the strength of sisal fibers is maintained.
This material is perfectly breathable, so the moisture in the mattress is not delayed. Sisal itself does not absorb moisture, is constantly dry, has anti-static properties, thus does not attract particles of dust at all. Even a small layer of sisal between the filler materials in the mattresses allows all parts to "breathe."
Crafts made from sisal ropes
Craftsmen handmade found a way to use even such thorny strings as sisal. In addition to the already named cat fun, you can make such small baskets for trifles. It is enough to pick up a dense bottom, for example, from packing corrugated cardboard and, using durable PVA glue, to attach the rope in a circle, winding it around the base, for example, a can.
The ears are created at the end of work by flexing the fingers of a tight sisal rope. Do not forget at the beginning of work to leave the end loosely lying on the table. This is the tail of the mouse. It remains only to attach the cardboard eyes and spout-button. The mustache can be sewn with a needle using a black nylon thread.
How sisal is used in needlework
What sisal is made of, you already know. Now we will look at what the processed fibers look like for needlework. They are sold in stores of goods for needlework. They can be purchased in rolls of pressed sheets or in hanks. Finished sheets are expensive, so often the masters themselves are engaged in their manufacture. How to do this, read on.
It is necessary to take two glasses or mirrors, the main thing is that the surface of the bases for gluing should be smooth and even. Then we brush the PVA on the bottom glass with an even layer with a brush. Then sisal threads are laid out in any order. You can at your discretion to make a sheet of air or dense. At the end put the second glass. It is desirable to squeeze something between two surfaces with something heavy. You can put a couple of books. After some time, the glass is removed, and the resulting sheet itself perfectly separated from the surface.
Crafts from sisal
Using rolls of different colors, you can cut out any figures with scissors.For example, such wonderful apples will decorate kitchen furniture. You can cut flowers and stick them on the flower pot.
Such strong rolls can be cut and sew volumetric crafts. For example, from a cone you will get a princess dress, it will remain to sew a doll’s hand and face from fabric. Due to the hardness of the material, the craft will stand perfectly on the shelf in the children's room. The cone of green color decorated with fine details will be a New Year's hand-made article.
And from the threads themselves, you can twist small balls and stick them on the base. Get the original Christmas tree, as in the photo above.
Sisal Balloon Topiary
Recently, topiary made from a variety of materials are very popular. Not paid attention to the masters and beautiful in the work of sisal. Small balls are twisted by hand from the fibers. They should not be dense, but air. All details are alternately glued to the foam ball, and the craft is decorated with additional decorative elements. These can be flowers or beads, small artificial apples or pears.
The base of the stem of such a tree is strengthened with a solution of gypsum or alabaster.That it was not visible, after drying on the frozen mixture spread sisal fibers in a free order.
Matting on the floor
Real craftsmen of the ropes can weave baskets, stands for cups and a hot kettle. And what are durable and durable sisal carpets.
This coating is not only a decorative function, but also perfectly preserves the floor. After all, as described by us earlier, sisal passes air and does not absorb dust. But, of course, the reader already understands that such a thing will cost a lot. But it's worth it, believe me!
The article describes how and where sisal grows, how fiber is produced, and what is produced from it. You can also try to work with such an interesting material.