grained silk

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susanna76

Senior Member
Romanian
Is "grained silk" short for "large-grained silk"? And does that refer to some sort of thicker silk?

Here's from David Lodge's Changing Places:
"A young man dressed in a black grained-silk with a red kerchief knotted round his throat, accosted Philip's companion."

Thank you!
 
  • bluegiraffe

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I'm not familiar with "grained-silk", I'd suggest he's talking about silk with a visible slub - what we call Dupion Silk, though he could be talking about Crepe de Chine. It's hard to know, but I don't think it affects your understanding of the story.
     
    Last edited:

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    Yes, I thought about slub silk too, with its uneven thickness of thread. Crepe de chine I think is defined by the weave rather than the grain. As b.g. says, not much difference as to the story.
     

    bluegiraffe

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Yes, I thought about slub silk too, with its uneven thickness of thread. Crepe de chine I think is defined by the weave rather than the grain. As b.g. says, not much difference as to the story.
    In fabric we talk about the grain as the direction of weave, so he could mean the weave rather than the fabric having large slubs. I don't think David Lodge is must of a silk expert, so I don't think we'll ever know!
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Just to say - the version I found via Google Books has an extra word:
    A young man dressed in a black grained-silk shirt with a red kerchief knotted round his throat, accosted Philip's companion.

    That doesn't help me to interpret 'grained-silk', but it might help someone else:cool:
     

    bluegiraffe

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Sorry Loob, that doesn't make a difference! I think I mentally added in the word "silk" as I just had to scroll up to see if it really was missing! I think the author just doesn't know about fabric so has made a term up.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    It seems to me that there is over-analysis of “large-grained silk”. The grain of anything is caused by irregularities in the surface and/or surface colour of the material in question. A “large” grain would indicate that these areas of irregularity each cover a larger area than average for that material.

    “Large-grained silk” would thus be a coarser textured silk because the uptake of the dye (i.e. colour) is regular regardless of the thickness of the material.
     

    bluegiraffe

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It seems to me that there is over-analysis of “large-grained silk”. The grain of anything is caused by irregularities in the surface and/or surface colour of the material in question. A “large” grain would indicate that these areas of irregularity each cover a larger area than average for that material. “Large-grained silk” would thus be a coarser textured silk because the uptake of the dye (i.e. colour) is regular regardless of the thickness of the material.
    Yes, that's correct and this silk is usually called Dupion silk. A slub is a texture in silk.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I stand in awe of these technical terms. Perhaps the author used the simpler-to-understand* phrase as he was unacquainted with those terms?

    * although, for some, it wasn't. ;)
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    ... Perhaps the author used the simpler-to-understand* phrase as he was unacquainted with those terms?

    * although, for some, it wasn't. ;)
    The author wrote "grained-silk", Paul. Are you saying that "grained-silk" is easy to understand?:eek:
     

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    I looked up images for Dupion silk (thank you, bluegiraffe!) and saw it was heavier silk. It makes more sense now. Because the word "large" was missing, I wondered whether "grained" meant something else with regard to how this silk was woven or reflected light.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    The author wrote "grained-silk", Paul. Are you saying that "grained-silk" is easy to understand?:eek:
    For me, yes. I know what grain is and I know what silk is. " Dupion" was, until this thread, a mystery word without clues. :eek:
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    I've sometimes seen silk that has a discernible...let's call it "texture" instead of "grain"...Anyway, some silk with this slightly rougher texture, including the slubs, is called "raw silk." Is raw silk the same as Dupion silk?
     

    susanna76

    Senior Member
    Romanian
    Oh, that's actually very helpful. It finally drove home the descriptions some of you gave here. Thank you, Paul!
     
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