How is pina fiber made?
• It takes about 18 months for the Spanish red or native Philippine red pineapple to reach the stage of maturity. The appropriate soil required for their growth is sandy clay soil. The leaves of the pineapple are about 2 meters in length.
• The fiber is extracted either by decortication (fibers are scraped manually using coconut husk or broken plate from the green epidermal layer) or by the combination of water retting and scutching.
• The extracted fibers are then formed into bundles of long strands. These fibers are then washed and dried gently combing the fibers in wet conditions with five pins to separate the fibers from coarse bundles.
• After which they are waxed to remove the entanglements and then the fibers are knotted and bind into yarns for the next process of weaving it into the fabric. Since the fibers are quite fine, they break easily and so are required to be knotted.
• Almost 15-15 pieces of the white, creamy lustrous fiber of about 60cm long can be extracted from 1Kg of pineapple leaves.
• The whole process of fiber extraction is quite labour intensive and slow.
• The fiber extracted are of two qualities:
Liniwan: The fibers are quite fine and used for weaving lightweight pina fabric
Bastos: These fibers are coarse and strong and are employed for the purpose of home textiles such as rugs, strings and twines.