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|Clothing: Muted Pink Dress|
Purchased at Housing Works Thrift Store in Manhattan in 2007. It has moved with me from Brooklyn to Queens to Manhattan to Brooklyn. The cotton process demands cultivators rip out weeds and grass that may compete with the cotton. Land is plowed under and soil is broken up and formed into rows. Cottonseed is planted. The boll matures in a period that ranges from 55 to 80 days. Ten weeks after flowers first appeared, fibers split the boll apart, and cotton pushes forth. The process includes seeding, picking, ginning, and baling. Samples are taken from the bales to determine the quality of the cotton. At this point the cotton plant is defoliated if it is to be machine harvested. Defoliation is often accomplished by spraying the plant with a chemical. At a mill the bale is broken, the fibers are opened by a comb-like device, mixed together, and cleaned. The cleaned cotton fibers are called laps. The laps are fed into a carding machine that separates the fibers. Further cleaning, combing, and sorting readies the fibers for processing into thread. Buttons and labels are made from recycled PET plastic from bottles. Workers sort the bottles by color, separating green ones from clear ones. Then workers visually inspect each piece, and remove any foreign objects. The sorted plastic then moves into a sterilizing bath. The clean containers are dried and crushed into tiny chips. The chips are washed again, and the light-colored batch is bleached. Chips from green bottles stay green, and become yarn that will be dyed a dark color. When the chips are thoroughly dry, they are emptied into a vat and heated, then formed.
Spandex fibers are produced in four different ways: melt extrusion, reaction spinning, solution dry spinning, and solution wet spinning. All of these methods include the initial step of reacting monomers to produce a prepolymer. Once the prepolymer is formed, it is reacted further in various ways and drawn out to make the fibers. The solution dry spinning method is used to produce over 94.5% of the world's spandex fibers. The first step is to produce the prepolymer. This is done by mixing a macroglycol with a diisocyanate monomer. The two compounds are mixed in a reaction vessel to produce a prepolymer. A typical ratio of glycol to diisocyanate is 1:2. The prepolymer is further reacted with an equal amount of diamine. This reaction is known as chain extension reaction. The resulting solution is diluted with a solvent to produce the spinning solution. The solvent helps make the solution thinner and more easily handled, and then it can be pumped into the fiber production cell. The spinning solution is pumped into a cylindrical spinning cell where it is cured and converted into fibers.