Catherine Windrose wrote:I've worn light merino tanks, and even a sun dress, that were comfortable in summer weather and not itchy at all. Addressing the OP, cotton twills and jersey, and merino wool are my favorites all around.
I like the thin merino and wool/silk mix base layers a lot, I'm not sure what it would be like trying to produce and use such fine fibres on a homestead scale.
Catherine Carney wrote:I think the biggest barrier to creating sustainable approaches is people's suspicion about anything different. Around here if it doesn't fit in with the mainstream paradigm (monoculture agriculture, commercialism, consumerism) it's automatically viewed with suspicion, and dismissed as being something only "those crazy hippies" would do.
That mindset, thankfully, is changing as the old guard dies off. And it gets easier to make changes as things like craft beer proves small/local industry is viable. Hmmm, now I wonder if community level manufacturing might be especially useful in small rural areas like mine.
I grow 3 types of bamboo that I planted myself, so I did a fair bit of research on this one and was totally disappointed. From what I could find out, it was essentially the same as making rayon - highly mechanized, chemical, and polluting. I suspect its only saving grace may be that it might actually biodegrade, unlike many of the modern artificial fabrics.
Eric Hanson wrote:Interesting thread,
I guess my thought would be bamboo. It grows very fast, but truthfully I just don’t know what all is involved in processing it so that might put a crumpet in that thought.
Another thought would be hemp for much the same reason. Eric
Catherine Carney wrote:Regarding bamboo: there are species/cultivars of it that are winter hardy in my zone 5 climate--in fact people down the road have a patch. It's fast spreading, and I don't like to think about how invasive it will be if it escapes their cultivation. That said, it's also my understanding that the bamboo "fiber" we see for sale (or incorporated into finished items) isn't entirely a natural product, but created from bamboo pulp using a chemical process much like rayon is created. Perhaps someone here knows more.
If anyone sees any instructions on how to do this on a home or community basis, please, please post it to this thread or a specific bamboo thread. I've got a lovely bamboo patch which is just waiting for some good uses other than garden stakes, and even if it was only for friends and family, I'd love to be able to make clothing from it!
I have read that some people have taken the bacterial process, called retting, that is used to turn flax fibers into linen, and adapted that process to use with bamboo. This is very exciting, but I have no idea what products are actually on the market.
Yes, that's true. But how to produce that very fine cloth out of nettle or hemp fibers? It's a forgotten skill! It hasn't been done for many decades (or maybe even over a century). It used to be all hand crafts, done by specialists, educated in a system of 'guilds' with 'apprentices' who could become 'masters' only after many years of training. And this was the case for all crafts of the past, when a piece of clothing was made to last a lifetime.
Carina Hilbert wrote:There's some evidence that hemp was the first fiber made into cloth (Women's Work: The First Ten Thousand Years). It makes a lovely linen, softer than flax, even. Same with nettles.