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Homespun Challenge

 
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Travis Johnson wrote:

R. Ranson: If I was to give some of my wool away to someone in Maine (just on account of shipping it would be expensive) would you consider giving them extra points? I would love to contribute to your lofty endeavor, but have no skills in which to convert sheep wool to clothing, but sure would help someone else.



Absolutely yes!  

Community, increasing awareness of fibreshed and homemade textiles, all these things help.  

If we get enough entries, I want to give away at least two prizes a year.  Indefinitely.  

So many textile artists only hang out with other textile artists and sites.  This is wonderful because we can see what amazing things other textile artists are making.  But this is also very selfish because the rest of the world doesn't get to see this.  You wouldn't believe some of the things I've seen people make.  Now, if only we could get them to share with the rest of the world.


 
r ranson
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I've been neglectful and haven't shared this yet.

handwoven sweater
fast to make handwoven sweater


The goal of this project is to design and create handwoven clothing that can be made on a narrow loom.  This cloth is woven at 14" wide and fulled to 12" wide.  It's based on a Japanese peasant's jacket, but it didn't have the right drape to look good, so I seamed the front to make it into a pullover.  Now that I know this will fit my body, is comfortable, durable and looks good enough to wear into town, I will experiment with different variations on this using handspun yarn. It was very fast to make.  The weaving took less than 24 hours from ball of yarn to finished cloth (minus a few hours for sleeping) and sewing it together by hand took the length of one movie (about two hours).  It was very economical with the cloth as I had only 2 square inches of cloth left over at the end.

I hope to find someone to model this for me so I can get some better pictures.
 
r ranson
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Here's a vest I made at least 9 years ago from handspun alpaca/silk blend.  The alpaca is from our island and the fibre was milled here too.  I still wear it in the spring and fall.  It's proven itself to be durable, practical, and good for both farm and city.
 
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raven ranson wrote:... Here's a vest I made at least 9 years ago from handspun alpaca/silk blend.  The alpaca is from our island and the fibre was milled here too.  I still wear it in the spring and fall.  It's proven itself to be durable, practical, and good for both farm and city.


Beautiful vest Raven! Agree: clothing made from beautiful natural materials stays beautiful, even when it starts to wear-and-tear. Even when you wash it - by accident- too hot / in the machine, it's still beautiful felt ...  And I like it finally your name Raven is in the permies forum too

Btw I love your woven sweater! I can't imagine how you can make this in so little time. You must have a very fast weaving loom.
 
r ranson
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I was looking at my growing handspun yarn stash just now and thinking, I wonder what to do with all this yarn.

Then I came to my computer and someone had reminded me of this thread.

The contest is still OPEN!

I have 400 yards (approximately 100grams, aka, enough for an average pair of socks) of natural coloured wool sock weight yarn ready to go out to someone who can impress me.  This yarn is suitable for weaving, knitting, or hanging on the wall to admire.  


Edit to add: that skein of yarn sells for $50 in my local yarn shop.
 
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At first I thought, man, I haven't knit any clothes, but then I realized I do make hats and mittens and booties! Mine aren't nearly as fantastic as other's posted here, but they have the advantage of cuteness :D. I keep forgetting to take pictures of things I've made. I also knit up a set that was black with pink flowers with silver buttons for my cousin, but forgot to take pictures before sending it off!

I used for all of these Cascade's Silk/Wool blend-- It's washable and holds up really rather well from washing and wearing. I LOVE how soft it is. It's also very warm and keeps the rain off little heads pretty well, too. The people at my local craft store look at me funny when I insist on getting it to knit for baby stuff. They always try to direct me to the polyester-blend "baby" yarns. I have to tell them, no, I much prefer how warm and soft the wool is, thank you!

(Some of the flowers might be from (some of the flowers might be made from cotton yarn or embroidery thread, as I usually use left-over bits of yarn for them...)
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My daughter's baby hat and booties, knit from Cascade Silk/wool blend
My daughter's baby hat and booties, knit from Cascade Silk/wool blend
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Booties/Hat/Mittens I knit from my niece from Cascade Silk/Wool blend
Booties/Hat/Mittens I knit from my niece from Cascade Silk/Wool blend
 
Nicole Alderman
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I also like to make felted mittens for my kids every year. I use a prewashed wool yarn for the wrists and then switch to big, size 10 needles to knit the hand with Cascade worsted wool. Then I felt it down to their hand size.

On the purple mittens, the wrist is made with the Cascade silk/wool blend.

My daughter wouldn't give up her brother's old blue mittens, so I had to take pictures while she held them, LOL!
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Nicole Alderman
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When discussing yarn in R's project thread (https://permies.com/t/73354/permaculture-projects/yarn-projects-spinning-weaving-natural), I realized something about natural fibers, especially handwoven ones. It's something I had never quite put words to.

Natural fiber yarns--especially handwoven and/or hand dyed ones--really add a lot of depth and beauty to a piece. I'm still a pretty average knitter, and most of my projects are simple or short. I knit a lot of scarves in a very easy pattern that just repeats the same stitches every line. What I find facinating is how different each scarf turns out, depending on the yarn I use. Undeliably, the handspun wool scarves look the best.

Here you can see a bunch of various scarves, all in the same pattern. Only the blue is wool. And it's a lovely, soft, handspun, handdyed wool.



Here's a close-up of that blue scarf, as well as a natural wool yarn from the same spinner.


It's a simple pattern, but with that yarn, it just looks luxurious and soft. The wool drapes so well, and is so warm. The slight changes in tension from the hand spinning add dimension to the scarf. It's just lovely. Of all the scarves I've knit, these two are my favorite. They were a delight to knit, as the wool was so soft between my fingers and the slight changes in color and texture always made me want to knit "one more row" to see how it would look. And, seeing how much they delighted my sister-in-law really made my day.

Natural fiber yarns really DO make a difference in a project. If you haven't experienced them yet, you really need to treat yourself!
 
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Jacket.  
Warp: bought yarn dyed with onion skins. Weft: homespun natural wool.  Pattern: undulating rosepath, woven on a Baby Wolf loom. Cut: kimono style to conserve fabric and showcase the pattern, and edged with bought fabric. The linen we edged it with originally wore out and had to be replaced with a thicker cotton.  Buttons are old coat buttons.

I did the spinning and weaving, and my mother sewed it up for me.

Durability: It was made about 15 years ago, and aside from needing a new collar and cuffs, it is still in good shape. I wear it pretty regularly as a lightweight jacket. I wouldn't put it through a top loading washer, but it does go through the front loading washer on the handwash cycle. I wouldn't wear it in the brush, as the loose weave catches things too easily, but it has held up quite well to normal wear.

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Am I having fun yet? Gotta start somewhere...
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Spinning wool
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I made about 100 feet of 2 ply yarn... I had asked for 1 ounce of each color of wool at the wool shop. I decided that I preferred to pre-draft long ropes of fiber first, and then twist them up, rather than trying to draft from the bulk (pre-carded) wool. That gave me a much more consistent diameter. I plied from the mid-point of the yarn, which meshed the first-made with the last-made, and I wasn't very consistent with the amount of twist, so that made for some weird meshing... That won't matter for my end application, but it would drive someone batty that likes perfect symmetry. Details later.
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Spinning wool with drop spindle
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2 ply yarn
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Preparing a loom
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I built a backstrap loom using sticks from the yard, and some old, stiff construction nylon. The nylon wouldn't stay knotted, so parts of the loom were falling apart from time to time as knots came untied. Lost the heddles at one point. Other loom parts like the bobbin and batten were made from a piece of cardboard.

I made a belt/head-band. And still have some yarn left over. Might use it as a braided fringe for the belt.

The properties of the magenta and teal wools were slightly different, so next time, I intend to not mix them randomly.
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backstrap loom
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Belt or head-band woven from hand-spun wool
 
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Holy cow, you guys! These pictures are beautiful! Now I think I need to go pull out my spinning wheel and get busy again. Thanks for that. :-)
 
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Here is a sweater I designed for my boy Max, and even though the yarn is as soft as a cloud and very light, the sweater has lasted him 3 winters! It's true! It has held up nicely even though he did get it quite muddy on three occasions when we went hiking in the snow. I though for sure the sweater would be stretched out and ruined, but after I got home and washed it and lay it out in the shape I wanted--it was "good as new" each time! Now, I would like to point out here that I mostly had my pup wear the sweater on cold days around the house, and outside on days when it was not raining or snowing. Still, I think the garment has held up remarkably well because he is a dog--and for this reason is quite hard on anything he wears, even his leash and harness!  



I believe the secret is in the sleeves! You see, doggie sweaters without sleeves (with just holes in the body of the sweater) tend to pull rather hard on the front of the legs, and this results in excessive stress on the knitted fabric. (It is also not very comfortable for the dog to wear!) By adding even short sleeves to the armholes, the sweater is not subjected to this pulling effect and the result is a happier dog, a more comfortable sweater, and a more durable design that has lasted over 3 seasons! This is one of those cases where the construction of the piece substantially enhanced the function and durability of the knitted item. Needless to say, I put sleeves on ALL of my new doggie sweater designs. :)  



 
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Love this thread, and all the other fibre oriented ones I've been reading on permies this week! I just wanted to say, Valya, that your knitting skills are Awesome! That sweater fits him so perfectly, the shaping is as good as can be and it's very satisfying to look at.

I love knitting and natural fibre, but I'm not sure if I have any finished projects around. I could dig up some baby clothes for sure, but the only adult projects I have are not finished lol.

I have been dreaming about producing clothing with raw materials grown at my home. The property is perfect for goats, and I want to get cashmere producing goats for fibre and meat.

Raven, your info on flax that you've posted has been so exciting for me. I have a love of linen, but didn't realize I could grow and spin it myself.

I was recently gifted a spinning wheel, which I have no idea how to use, but I'm going to learn.
 
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I have wanted to make a large foil kite from hemp and silk or some other combo of natural materials for many years now
I have a long list of things i would like to do though... we will see if i actually get to it some day
 
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Wanted to give this old thread a bump.  What excellent creations!  Please, post more pictures  : )
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Matthew Nistico wrote:Wanted to give this old thread a bump.  What excellent creations!  Please, post more pictures  : )


Thank you for the reminder. Here a photo of the socks I knitted for 'Dave the boot' (as a BRK). This is the first one of the pair. I used wool a friend spun especially for socks. Wool from sheep of the 'Deventer schaapskudde' (the town's sheep herd of Deventer).

So called goat's wool socks, made of home spun (sheep's) wool
 
r ranson
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Nicole made a beautiful image for this thread that you can share with your friends, neighbours, and sheep.



Which reminds me, I've been wanting to send out a prize again soon.  Been spinning a lot of yarn!  Please share your projects and prove me right that homemade clothing isn't terrible.  
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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I think I did not (yet) share here the items I knitted for boots, as BRK (look up here on Permies if you don't know what BRK is).
Sorry I can't show photos here now, first they got to have an URL ...
I knitted two hats and a pair of socks and I am going to knit another hat. I did use 'homespun' wool, but I didn't spin it myself. Some friends are having this project, they adopted a local herd of sheep of which they use the wool for spinning and then for knitting, crochet and weaving.  They are such good spinners! They can even spin wool for socks, both strong and fine (three ply). Sometimes I knit some small things for that project too.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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I found the thread of Dave Burton, who was a boot in bootcamp. I  knitted him a pair of socks and he made a photo of his feet with the socks :
https://permies.com/t/100703/a/96609/thumb-4F49B799-1A48-4686-87D7-608B5652B42A.jpeg
 
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I've been working on tons of things but need pictures. I'm working on my handspun knee socks right now. Took ages to math up the pattern to fit my leg, which of course didn't then fit my leg. After restarting with less stitches, twice, then pulling back to the cuff three times to change the increase/decrease rate.. The first sock is finally cuff to ankle and ready for the foot. Now I'm hoping I can use this pattern I've figured out with this sock to make more.
I'll have to get pics of what I've been working on. I have a big bunch of handspun yarns that I'm compiling to weave some fabric to eventually be sewn into clothes for myself. We shall see.
 
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