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Husp quality clothing etc  RSS feed

 
kadence blevins
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I have a huge scheme in my head. It is the current hobbling together of several big ideas.

Short version: I want to produce Husp quality clothing, mattress, shoes, yarn, raw & ready to spin fibers,...

I know, right, take big enough bites? Well if I am to attempt to take this on at any reasonable scale I need to know people would buy. And I would need to do a Kickstarter.

1) raise sheep (maybe alpacas in the future)
* wether sheep, probably several breeds and mixes (with planning for probable future breeding flock)
* fencing (play with more permie fencing that will actually keep em in)
* mob grazing, rotational pastures, etc utilized
* diet mainly pasture, deep winter hay and mineral, possible play with farm grown grain as well for winter
* probable Sepp style animal shelter buildings

2) equipment
* shears
* big washing tubs (I have doodles for RMH hot water setup)
* wool processing tools
* production spinning wheel (i have one currently but a true production wheel would make things immensely easier)

I have much more to add to this but wanted to start with this and see what yalls input is before i go bonkers with all my list of stuff.

So i guess would be best is post if you would or wouldnt buy this sort of things.
And i will be back to post more if there is interest.
 
William Bronson
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I thought HUSP meant among other things, no fire. Maybe I am misrembering?
 
Zach Muller
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here is the old thread

and a newer one

From what I gather it began as a concept that did not exactly mean nothing is burned, but was later laid out in more detail. Husp was last seen flying around in Paul's brain and did include a stipulation of not burning anything. Don't take my word for it, See the threads for the real scoop.
 
kadence blevins
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It means many things. In short: cut out entirely everything synthetic and for everything else make it x1000 better than organic. See the linked threads for more though.


My idea would be wool etc washed and made without nasty toxic gick "soap" treatments or lye soaks (as almost entirely all commercial wool yarn is) etc.

Wool would be cleaned without toxic gick or drowning in lye etc and water, in my doodling, will go to a cooling tank then to a short greywater filter with nonedibles and probably into a small pond. So safe I am even thinking i can breed minnows in the pond to feed back to chickens which i will eat eggs/meat. So promising toxic free i would literally make food supply from it and be totally fine that hopefully even Paul himself would stamp his husp quality approval on it and gladly eat at my table.
 
Elisha Monger
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The traditional wool cleaner is hot urine. So other than the possible fire to make it hot, you have a simple husp cleaner, easy to obtain.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Kadence,

I am following along and haven't digested the linked portions that Zach shared, and you referenced...

I am also afraid of "spoiling" your magic by saying something unless asked a direct question. I was just teaching a class last week to a mix of K through 6th and saw some "over teaching," by colleagues. In that class, and with adults as well, I call this "spoiling the magic," as even if something seems ill advised or implausible, there are times to let the "magic" work its way out. It may be inefficient, yet seems to instill lessons better in the participants (facilitators included.)

I love what I "think" you are "exploring," and hope to finish the shared links this morning over tea. I have a passion for vintage clothing and traditional textile arts. I make and/or tailor all my own cloths from raw material, vintage stock, and "through away," and related traditional systems. And before images of me looking like a "Muppet" (though I love Muppets) pops into the readers head, I suggest I present more as an old world modern Highlander with clear Native American undertones than I do a "Muppet." Some attire is down right "Yale Professorish" from the turn of the century when I am "decked out," as some of the cloths are over 100 years old and only slightly altered, actually coming from a retired Yale and Dartmouth Math Professor...

I will only comment if I am asked a direct question, or see a "technical" flaw in modality...I love what you are suggest and thinking about!!

>>>

Hi Elisha M.

I have read similar description about urine in new and old text...If I may share, I believe from reading other text and direct experience this is a "misnomer" about urine for the most part as it applies to textiles, and its "uric acid" application as a cleaning agent.

Please don't take this as a complete correction. I have seen Masai Woman cleaning there children in streams of cow urine coming directly from the animal, and my grandmother would have me wash my hands in goat urine in the same way before putting on lotion to keep them from getting too cracked or calloused. So I agree that urine does have a cleaning capacity, and use as an astringent for such things and foot fungus and related dermal disorders with the correct application.

In textiles however, the concept of "washing wool" with urine is a misnomer as it just won't effectively cut the lanolin and other "sheep crud," as Grandma would call it, out of the raw wool. It is nevertheless, a "mordant" of one form, and the "urine bath" is after the wool has already been cleaned in more traditional methods with soaps. The "urine bath" affixes and unifies the dyes that color the wool, and this "urine bath" is later rinsed out thoroughly with clean warm water, and then a cold bath in a clear stream if one has it..

I have seen, and or read many "recipes" for these many methods, and understand some from only traditional perspective, while others are just elements of chemistry as we know it...

Regards,

j
 
Bill Bradbury
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Hi Kadence,

If you see me in winter, chances are that I am wearing my hand spun and knitted from 2 colors of local wool sweater. It was expensive, but it wears like iron, is warmer than any other sweater I own and looks naturally beautiful.

It would be great to see more of this happening everywhere.

Good luck!
 
Rose Lee
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Kadence,

I ran across this way of cleaning wool: the fermented suint method. Apparently its basically free, has great results and uses no heat or soap. You just soak the wool which ferments the sheep sweat and cleans it somehow. Lots of water use but in a greywater system that wouldnt be too much of an issue. Hopefully someone on permies has tried it and can vouch for its simplicity!

https://mozfiberlife.wordpress.com/fsm/

The downside is it only works with the wool from certain breeds. (the more 'primitive' ones!). Oh and it smells.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Wonderful suggestion Rose, and good link to follow for the basics...

Be warned...this is not for the 'faint of heart' as I have seen the uninitiated to such fine aromas of the farm and native life go to one knee if not directly fall over from the initial "sniff,' of such a cleaning! For those interested, experiment with the wool types you have. The addition of olive oil can affect a better cleaning in some cases (and stronger scent) which is similar to "black soap." I am not sure in the "HUSP" concept, as I know understand it, that "textile processing" and clothing manufacture" will really be exactly like the "horticulture" model.

HUSP is in a way a tradition that existed among many of our people. It is land or area that we only go for prayer, or "natural growth." We are not allowed to alter it in any way...not even fires without blessings, special procedures and methods. This was the land or area of "healings" and "vision quests" which I have been fortunate to experience both starting at a very early age. Growing things here where very special, and only "healers" and other "special people" would be allowed to stay for very long.

In Paul's model, which seems more aimed at horticultural practice, the same level of respect would be rendered, as I understand it. In such case, these lands would be little altered other than growing things in the most natural of methods and with the least degree of adulteration and augmentation of "human initiated" events, or procedures.

I am not sure if the same degree of "cross over" could be applied to the subject of textiles and clothing, as we are already (hot or cold) talking about processes and modalities that are the root of ancient and native alchemist. These would not be conducted on "HUSP" land as I understand it from Paul's or my own native perspective. I can share that there are "special places" where it is done and they too are considered sacred by many, such as the Diné (Navajo People) that have great ceremony and respect for the raising, processing and weaving of wools. I have garnered much over the years whenever I have been fortunate enough to be with them when the do this...It does, in its own ways, have a "HUSP" quality...and I look forward to how this subject method and discussion progresses.

Regards,

j
 
Bill Crim
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HUSP also has a requirement for no fire. Meaning room-temperature processing, or solar heating without metal/plastic plumbing. Most "I don't want to use chemicals" processing methods essentially boil down to "Apply heat and/or mechanical manupilation instead". It might be that HUSP isn't appropriate for all kinds of processing; so a good HUSP system would always have a "sacrifice area"(perma- or symbi-culture). However, HUSP is a thought-exercise first and formost. So we should keep going and see how far we can get imagining.

I know the lye scouring processing step both cleans the wool, and allows it to better absorb water/dye. Since kadence doesn't want to dye it, that property is not needed. Similarly we don't have to worry about mordants either. I'm not too familiar with wool specifically, so other than cleaning off the lanolin, is there some other property that lye provides that could be provided by something else? Could something like the Soap plant be used? Is there a powerful enough natural emulsifier that could be used on the lanolin instead of a detergent?
 
kadence blevins
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Ok i think theres a bit of confusion. I am not planning to be on Pauls husp land. My idea is to make stuff that can be used/worn/etc on Pauls husp land.

I know with all my stuff i would be doing to make these items there will be many things/tools that arent husp quality. I know that. I dont think i could set up this all and be on husp land. Not with what i know currently.

My idea is to make husp quality items. Items that Paul would say are of such a standard of no toxic gick that he would allow them onto his husp land.

The process will be aiming to be as husp quality as i can manage. But i dont believe paul would let it onto his husp land.
I will need tools and equipment that i cannot build. And that could not be built without metals and things that arent husp quality.
 
kadence blevins
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Would also like to add that i am seriously, seriously interested in taking up the reigns on Paul's "Land Manager" position. Theres a post in wheaton labs forum section on that.
Honestly the only thing keeping me from it is that i want to have a business plan of my own to be able to move forward with and be able to fall back on.

I would definitely want to host gappers to help with things and would love to setup workshops as well. On this and other topics.
 
Zach Muller
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I was with you on husp quality clothing being produced elsewhere, otherwise you probably would have said husp quality production process which would be an entirely different undertaking, especially at this point.

kadence blevins wrote:Would also like to add that i am seriously, seriously interested in taking up the reigns on Paul's "Land Manager" position. Theres a post in wheaton labs forum section on that.
Honestly the only thing keeping me from it is that i want to have a business plan of my own to be able to move forward with and be able to fall back on.

I would definitely want to host gappers to help with things and would love to setup workshops as well. On this and other topics.


Sounds like you already have the skills and the plan (maybe many plans) to fall back on when you need them.
 
kadence blevins
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I suppose what i need then is "I love your idea(s)! I will buy items from you!" And/Or "I love your idea(s)! I will send you money for your projects!" And/Or "I think The Lab is great and I will send money for the gappers to invest in tools/ to help setup workshops/ etc"

The last bit being my thread "scholarship fund for earnestness".
 
kadence blevins
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* Yes I have done a load of fleece with suint method. Very cool. Can be used on any fleece if ya have a prepped suint going. But to start ya need a nice lanolin rich and dirty fleece(s).

* I have tons of ideas in this space as far as setup the whole process.

* I have tons of ideas for fiber sheep flock and management.

* I have tons of ideas on meat sheep flock and management. Also a guy I follow on youtube who i like his raising and breeding and could very likely buy a nice starter herd from.

* I have many ideas for some fun, crafty, kinda more soft and purpley projects and workshops. ((Cough-cough female gappers/visitors! Cough-cough)) hahaha.

* I have lots of dairy goat experience and all hand milking and hand making cheese, butter, yogurt,.. I would love to try out some of my permaculture ideas in this space and help feed the folks here as well.
 
r ranson
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This is a very interesting idea, and I think quite feasible. Historically the home processing would easily be no-waste kind of situation. wood fire would heat the water, lye would be made from the ashes, which was made into soap with the mutton fat. The wool is washed, rinsed, rinsed, rinsed, and rinsed. The first rinse water from the first batch, gets soap added to it and it becomes the wash water for the second batch, and so on. The Big Book of Handspinning by... (too lazy to google it, the author is A--- A--) talks a lot about this. Dirty soap water would be used to water the orchard.

Already having the fibre arts experience, you already know how easy/difficult making these clothes can be. Some small scale machinery would help like perhaps a wool picker and a knitting machine. This would be a great opportunity for several artisans to collaborate together to make it happen. One's awesome at making yarn, another's awesome at weaving, third person awesome at making cloth into clothing. Something like that. If one has other life commitments, it can be quite difficult to process more than one fleece per week from greasy mess into woven cloth.

With your past experience with dairy goats, you can transfer your knowledge of minerals to sheep raising. For a quality wool, the right mineral mix for the breed and location are very important. Pat Colebey is a good author for learning about this.


The biggest challenge I can see is finding the customers. Lots of people seem interested in helping the environment and not having slavery and all that jazz, but very few people think about it when they buy clothing. Clothing costs are unnaturally low right now, and it would require a bit of customer education to get people to pay for the real cost of the clothing.

Reading your original post, I think that's the main question - would people buy responsibly made clothing?

It's a question I've been struggling with for some years now. YES, of course I would buy it - if I could afford it. But I can't and I doubt I ever will be able to. But I make it, and I do my best to create a high quality, luxury, hard wearing product.

Would other people buy this sort of thing? Well...

I think a lot of people seem to think that handmade clothing is frumpy, lumpy, bumpy, impractical, wears out quickly, difficult to maintain, and all sorts of qualities that don't fit into the modern lifestyle. If you can make a product that is awesome, luxurious, exciting, classic in appearance, long lasting, and has this Husp quality, then go for it. It's going to take some customer education, but I think the market is ready for it.


In summary, the execution of the idea is quite practical. Finding a market for the product... that's the part that's going to take the effort.
 
Niele da Kine
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What constitutes a "reasonable scale"? Are you trying to keep yourself clothed? Provide enough to sell to pay for the upkeep of the sheep & etc? Handspinning is probably not going to provide enough fiber. Didn't it used to take five spinners to keep one loom in yarn? IMHO, you'll need machinery for yarn and fabric production if you're hoping to produce much volume.

If you get down around the Kansas City area, there's a state park there called "Watkin's Woolen Mill". Something along that line although smaller scale might work for your modality. It was a steam operated woolen mill. Sheep would be sheared with hand shears at the side door. The fleeces washed, picked and carded on site. Then the sliver was spun on mule spinners and then woven into blankets and cloth. Some of the yarn was sold as yarn, there was a foot operated skein twister that had been used so much that a hole had been worn in the 2" thick plank floor. They had a variety of natural dyes and the fabric was combed with bristly weed cones threaded onto racks. It was an interesting place and only a couple of dollars for a tour. Sometime in the early 1900's, they just shut the door and left everything in place. I suspect the Spanish Influenza, but the tour guide didn't know. But, it was steam operated and did everything on site, all sustainable and no chemicals that were visible.
 
r ranson
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Handspinning is probably not going to provide enough fiber.


I think, perhaps, it depends on the spinner.

Like you say, traditionally, it takes 4 to 5 spinners to keep up with one weaver, or to put it another way, 4 or 5 hours making yarn for every one hour weaving. Traditionally, however, the time spinning also included washing and preparing the fibre for spinning. I've never discovered which fibre they are talking about or where this ratio of spinner to weaver comes from. This 4 or 5 to 1 ratio is commonly stated in my spinning circles and applies from everything from spindle spinning through all types of wheels and looms. I would love to discover where it originated from. If it's linen, using modern tools, than I can see that 5 spinners would scarcely be enough to keep a weaver busy.

But with wool, using hand tools and a production wheel (like the Ashford Elizabeth or a Quebec wheel)... I don't know. I think perhaps a different ratio of spinners to weavers may apply. Maybe as small as 2:1, spinner:weaver.

My personal experience is like this:

When I have my spinning mojo going, I can spin enough yarn for a sweater in about 4 days, with about 2 to 4 hours a day spinning at a casual speed. I say this in days instead of hour, because it includes washing (and waiting for it to dry) the wool, hand carding, blending, spinning, plying, washing, setting/blocking the yarn, and counting the yardage. This is all by hand, with minimal equipment - soap, washing tub, drying rack, hand cards, spinning wheel, yarn blocker/nid. And I had 4 skeins left over after knitting the sweater. All in all, 6 to 12 hours is causal amount of time for me to spin a sweater's worth. If I send the wool to the local fibre mill and have them card it for me, it can cut that time in half. If I really focus on my spinning and not just do it at a casual speed, in the dark, while watching a dvd - I can spin faster. The real limiting factor is how long I can sit at a wheel before my body complains. When I'm doing production spinning, I need to work my way up to long, ie more than 4 hours, spinning sessions.

For spinning finer yarn for say a skirt or a light sweater, it takes a bit longer, but once I get in the rhythm of spinning every day, my speed picks up.

I'm not as fast a spinner as I can be, mostly because I usually only spin in the winter. But If I were to keep at it year 'round, I think I could get my skill and speed up to spin better yarn, faster.

Most handspinners today don't spin for production. They treat it like a hobby and usually spin fibre by the 3 oz packet, not the pound. There is nothing wrong with treating it as a hobby, it helps keep the skills alive and we can get together and share our experiences with each other and eat cake.

Maybe there is one thing wrong with it. It's like many other daily skills that have become hobbies; cooking, sewing, knitting, gardening... people take such time and care, seeking out the 'one proper way', and all those lovely toys that come with any hobby. I think they forget that these skills use to be done quickly and efficiently, by hand, without most of those toys, done daily, and done well. People didn't muck about, they did it, they did it quickly, they did it on a production scale, they moved on to the next task.

With a bit of dedication, even modern people can create high quality yarn by hand: efficiently and quickly.
 
Niele da Kine
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If you can get a Quebec wheel (aka Canadian Production Wheel) those are wonderful to spin on. They spin amazingly fast. They also like to spin thin - pounds of fiber spun thin. If you're looking for chunky yarn, they aren't quite the thing, but they can spin thin really fast. They're BIG, though and take up quite a bit of room.



The CPW here was pretty ratty when it showed up, but even injured they still want to spin. Fortunately, they're mostly wood and with a bit of work they can be restored to working shape again. The rim is made in sections held together with wooden pins, no glue. Someone told me the "production" part of their name is also because they were built in a production fashion and not as fine furniture. I'd always thought it was because they can spin a lot of yarn fast, but they do that, too.

The two little spinning wheels are Ashford Tradiitonals. Between a Traddy with all sorts of flyers and the CPW, all kinds of yarn can be made. For angora and Merino, the CPW is usually the wheel used. For spinning fat rug yarn, then the Traddie with the bulky flyer is usually the go to wheel.

Yeah, we have some spinners like that. They get little samples of fiber - usually in the form of roving. And, as you said, only get it in 2 or 3 ounce packets. What can you make with three ounces? Maybe one wrist warmer? They don't seem to make much with their handspun yarn, but they make pretty good cookies so going to spinning group is tasty if not productive. I'll go to their meetings occasionally, but they are generally appalled by my spinning. For some reason the smell of raw wool offends them. My favorite method of spinning is the "zero prep" of just taking raw wool from the bag and spinning it thick, chunky and rustic. Well, I do pick the fleece beetles out, so maybe it's not quite zero prep? They don't like the raw wool, they don't like the chunky and they just don't resonate to "rustic". Oh well, I don't understand people wanting to spin "gossamer" weight yarn but we all agree that the cookies are great.



This is the current project. A Husp rug. There are four Clun Forest sheep who mow my friend's yard. They're pretty tame sheep so we bribe them with a bucket of sheep treats (I'm not sure what she puts in that bucket, but the sheep love it) and tie their halter to a fence post. Then we cut their fleeces off with our sewing scissors - one half at a time. We tried a horse clipper but it kept jamming. We have some of those old fashioned hand sheep shears, but those are rather a bit of work to use. Sewing scissors are much lighter and more comfortable and go faster since we have two pairs of scissors and only one of those hand sheep shears. I'm sure some folks can shear a sheep in less than forty five minutes, but we're not professional shearers and fortunately there's only four sheep.

It's an Ashford Traditional with a bulky flyer and I replaced the original hooks with 1-1/4" ones and it works much better now. Once the yarn is spun, then the wool is washed. The Clun Forest wants to felt, so once the rug is crocheted (half slip stitch or "shepard's knitting" or some such stitch. I dunno the name of it, but crocheted as dense as I can. Anyway, once it's done, it will felt until it feels like one big piece and not anything crocheted. This will be a rug for the kitchen and will probably take three fleeces. Probably some left over for some hot pad holders or some such. Hmm, might be nice for some house slippers?

Do you have sheep yet?
 
Susan Doyon
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just a few thoughts
the types of wool that are nice against the skin are heavy with lanolin , ( merino ,cormo ) lower grease sheep have wool more suited to outer wear for the large percentage of us that have trouble with the prickel factor . removal of lanolin requires 140 degree water to dissolve the waxes and a good surfactant to carry away the dirt sweat and lanolin . orange oil solvent is quite good at removing stubborn oxidized lanolin . wool not properly cleaned becomes stiff and sticky over time . Lanolin used to be used to manufacture masking tape . trying to avoid soaps and hot water means you will not be sanitizing the wool . I am not sure how much fun wearing something that smells like a sheep stall would be . after having goats and sheep and watching them lie down where another has just peed does not make me want to wear unwashed or cold water washed wool .
Next thought is what prices would be needed to charge for a sweater that takes 4 days to spin the wool and another week to knit the sweater or even 2 days to knit . what would the price point be and how many homesteaders could afford to purchase . A wonderful warm sweater that is hand made may not be the most affordable .
last thought would be consider a strand of linen plied in so if there is moth damage the sweater can easily be darned.
 
kadence blevins
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glad to see there is new posts here! ironic too because just a few days ago I went and picked up my first ewes! and being the nutball I am I got good wooled sheep and they were in a large flock and not handled too much and they are in full fleece! so I will be getting them used to me and will be needing to get them sheared by hand (hand shears/scissors) within the next two weeks really before its too cold.

let me reiterate a bit here. and now with a refreshed outlook on this epic and epoch-ly big idea.
1) I already spin and am a good spinner
2) i'm not a 3oz of super pricey roving girl. i'm a free fleeces that were going to be composted because no one wants to pick them girl. i'm the drive two hours in an astro van to pick up 3 angora goats and a two hour drive back home girl. hahaha!
3) I have been spinning for about 4 years now. very little of anything I have done has been from roving. I love roving and batts and hope to be able to buy my own drum carder. I know the work involved here. I don't want to give the impression that i'm diving head first into a mess that I don't know anything about what needs done. i'm a "this is going to be huge and plenty of work but damn wont it be so fun and adventuresome!" girl!


the saying I know of was that once the cottage industry was in place it took 9 spinners to keep a good weaver going on the loom full time. it is my understanding that the weaver would do nothing but weaving... the 9 spinners would probably be doing the whole gambit of work from raw fleeces to yarn plus I imagine once the fabric is off the loom you had to full it and wash it and hang it plus get it ready to go to your market or ready to be sold however. with all that in mind it kinda fits in my thinking with all the work that would be accurate.


I would like to do a project. before I can have much to sell anyway I need to make things and test them. will my fabric hold up, etc.
I will start this as a test. do kind of like the fibershed woman video. can I do all this and make my own clothes? can I make them so that I like them, they are comfortable, have a style to them,...?

so there we go. the project begins! I already have a few projects on the knitting needles and several skeins I've spun that are waiting to become something. between this and working on the sheep stuff I will be full up of my time!

I will start doing videos. first one will probably be in a few days. I will share with yall the whole build up (:

ETA: update also vs when I started this thread, I am in ohio and will be here for at least a few years. I don't see myself moving right now or probably even within 5yrs. so this project/idea/business idea/thingy lol will be based here for the foreseeable future. so while I don't think I would need to have completely HUSP level processing techniques yet I do try to do things as low impact as possible. I don't use lots of soaps and icky additives etc but I do use hot water.
 
Niele da Kine
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What breed of sheep did you get? Did you get very many sheep? Each breed has different wool characteristics and I'm always amazed when reading a yarn label and they say "100% wool" like that means anything. That "100% wool" label puts Merino in the same classification as Karakul.


Some folks really like the "fermented suint" method of washing fleece, but I've not had much luck with that, myself. Something about the sheep sweat (suint) on the fleece being used to clean the fleece. I tried it once and the results were less than pleasing. Well, the chickens were pleased, but they like maggots. I obviously didn't do it right.

An old video I saw somewhere mentioned putting the fleeces in a stream and weighting them down with rocks and then waiting a week or so for the water to wash the fleeces clean. That sounds like a nice way to wash fleece, but it would take a fairly specific sort of stream, I'd think. Also a net bag might be an improvement over using big rocks.

Usually, if possible, I like to spin raw fleece and spin from the side of the locks of raw wool. However, if I'm gonna wash it, we have a top loading washing machine as well as solar heated hot water. On a hot afternoon, the water is really, really hot. I'll put the soap (or the cleanser of your choice - one suitable for hair) in the washer and then fill it with the hot water. Then push the fleece down into the water and let it soak for about half an hour up to an hour. Never let the machine agitate, though. It would make a felted mess pretty quick, I'd expect. Then spin the water out, take the fleece out, wipe out the tub, refill with hot water and push the fleece back in. Spin the water out and then decide if it's clean enough or to do it again.

If you're doing smaller batches, a salad spinner works pretty good at spinning water out of fiber or yarn.

If you got a whole lot of sheep and have lots of fleeces, someone told me you can make a "sheepskin" rug out of them. They said it was done by taking a whole fleece, skirting it really well, then turning it upside down and pouring hot water on it and then agitating it to felt the back of it. You end up with the back felted, but the tips still loose. I've not tried it yet, though. But if you start stacking up too many fleeces, this might be a way to get them into a useful format for rugs and chair covers and such. Although, I suppose, you'd still need to wash them somehow.

Did you get covers for your sheep? None of our local shepards put covers on their sheep, but that's supposed to keep the fleeces much cleaner.
 
r ranson
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last thought would be consider a strand of linen plied in so if there is moth damage the sweater can easily be darned.


Great idea to have a ply of something that is stronger than the wool. I often do this with socks and it makes them much easier to darn. Although, given the choice, I would take silk over linen for this.

Linen is lovely and strong, however it isn't kosher to mix it with wool - literally, there's something in the Jewish scriptures saying they aren't allowed to mix it. I'm not kosher so I don't know exactly why or the context for not mixing linen with wool, but I'm told it's important. There are some woven cloth that traditionally has linen warp and wool weft, but care is taken that the linen strands don't wear out the wool. The thing I have against mixing linen with wool in knitting, is that the linen is so inelastic and strong, that it would cut into and wear out the wool quickly. Linen degrades when exposed to many acids over time. Wool degrades when exposed to alkali. Too much the opposite in care and temperament.

Silk has more elasticity in it so it's a good match for wool in both care and characteristics - and is drastically more affordable than linen these days.


You are right, it's going to be a challange to keep the price in a range that people will pay.

Say it takes 10 hours to make the yarn, 10 hours to knit the sweater, plus the cost of materials which would be for me about $30 for the cost of raising that much wool, plus soap and hot water (because I don't make my own soap yet). Minimum wage, that's $230 for a sweater - round it up to $275 for a hand spun, hand knit sweater made with locally sourced, responsibly raised wool.

Personally I could never afford to pay that even if the sweater lasted decades. Quite often, people who make goods like this are not the people who could ever buy them. I often forget that there are people who make more than a couple thousand dollars a year in spending money.

A Cowichan sweater, hand knit, sometimes hand spun, usually made with imported wool, starts at $400, and they sell like hot cakes. Part of that is the connection to history, and part of that is the quality. I still wear my grandfather's cowichan sweater in the winter. It was knit back in the 1960s. People buy a Cowichan sweater, they understand it's something that will last decades with care.

Down the local shop, a shop that focuses on local textiles, there is a person who makes wool hoodies and other lovely clothes. She imports organic wool, knit fabric from somewhere far away, uses her electric serger to put together clothes of her own design. The design is simple yet elegant. A hoodie goes for about $200 depending on the size. They sell quickly. Her quality and reputation is excellent and people I've talked to say that they wear her clothes several times a week and they last several years.

Going down the local shops, a new wool sweater, machine made, sweatshop assembled, starts at about $75, and usually runs between $150 to $225.


People seem willing to pay quite a lot of money (by my standards) for natural fabrics that are quality made. My personal thoughts that to start a line of husp clothing one would need to focus on: quality, customer education, reputation, and quality. Get those down and people are willing to pay a price that reflects the effort put into the garment.



 
r ranson
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I've been thinking a lot about this spinner to weaver ratio. I wonder...

I wonder where the idea comes from. I wonder what tools they used. I wonder what it is like now.



The first time I heard it, was at a local spinning guild. It's oral legend that it takes four spinners per weaver.



The first (and only) time I remember seeing it in print, was a textbook from my university days. The author was discussing something about the rise of the towns in the 1300s, specifically about the guilds in one town in the North of England (probably York). The author had mentioned the 4 spinners to 1 weaver ratio, but I remember he did not cite his source. It was implied that it came from guild documents. Giving this author the benefit of the doubt, let's examine it a bit more. Let's assume the second half of the 14th Century. What was it like to be a spinner and weaver then?

Early 1300s, was the end of the golden weather for Europe. At the beginning of the century, southern England was still Europe's wine producing capital, making top quality wine and lots of it. Then came the mini-ice age. Three years of no summer brought famine, plague, wars, and basically by the second half of the 14th Century, the population of England was reduced by half and the weather was decidedly colder. I'm over simplifying, but it shows you the general trend. With the change in population came the trend to move to the cities and greater acceptance of labour saving technology. Looking at the laws passed at the beginning of the century, they favour methods that keep people employed. At the end of the century the laws are more accepting of technology that saves labour. Mostly because the labour force wasn't there any more. There was also greater demand for wool cloth than previously due to the change in weather.

It wasn't until the end of the 14th Century that the spinning wheel was accepted for general production. Before then, it was almost entirely spindle spun yarn. This isn't the spinning wheel as we know it today. It was a Walking Wheel, or spindle that was turned by a large drive wheel.



Even after the great wheel was accepted, it was only for weft. All the warp (the strong woven threads) were spindle spun. Due to something called loom waste, you need more warp than weft for most weaving.

The walking/great wheel works best with short fibres, under an inch long. It creates a yarn that is lofty and warm but not strong. Compared to a spindle, all other things being equal, per minute spent the wheel produces more yarn. However, when you are spinning on a wheel, that's all you are doing. A spindle can be used anywhere, while cooking, walking, whatever. So per day, a spindle still produced more yarn than a wheel. Very few people could afford a wheel, so it was usually purchased by the guild.

This author also made no mention of the wool prep - in fact he didn't mention if it was wool at all. Both wool and linen are most common for the time period. But I think wool would be more likely for the guilds he was talking about. Looking at other books I've read about that time period, a spinner's job includes sorting, washing, drying, carding, and spinning the wool

Weaving technology at the time isn't much different than the floor looms of today. We haven't got the punch card looms yet, so it's change shed, pass shuttle, beat, repeat.

I imagine it's something like this: spindle spinning mostly, a ratio of 4 spinners to 1 weaver. Looking at people who dedicate all their time, every bit of daylight to their craft. They have someone else cook and clean for them, as they are city people and the beginning of what eventually becomes the middle class. They took 7 years to learn their skill before being allowed into the guild.




Looking at modern day spinners. Hobby spinners. People who love the craft and take it very seriously, but don't do spin for income.


Sometimes we do sheep to shawl demonstrations, sometimes competitions. It's where we have the wool prepared, washed and carded beforehand. We show up and spin like the devil.

We must all spin the same quality and thickness of yarn, as fast as we can. It is then plyed together, and woven on site. For a demonstration the loom is already warped, and we have any number of people spinning. About 5 good spinners make more than enough yarn for the blanket/shawl weft in 2 hours. It takes the weaver about 4 or 5 hours to weave the shawl. Of course, we are all talking to the public, the weaver more than most. So it's not a good comparison.

A sheep to shawl competition is better for understanding how many spinners per weaver. It's usually a team of four. At least one of them can weave, all can spin. The wool is washed and cared before hand. There is no yarn on the loom. Warp and weft are spun on site, the loom is dressed and the cloth woven. The weaver usually spends the first half hour spinning with the others, and the rest of the time weaving. Sometimes the weaver is faster than the spinners, quite often she can't keep up. They are using modern bobbin and flyer spinning wheels.





Anyway, these are the things floating around in my mind when I think about the spinner to weaver ratio. Each natural fibre takes different time to process. Different tools and skills of the user effect things too. What is easy and fast for one person isn't for the next. It's difficult to predict what is possible until one tries it for themselves.


 
Susan Doyon
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The only problem I see with silk and wool is moths eat both , I use a nylon or rayon as a core to be spun to ply with fine wool more for structural integrity if I get a moth attack than for just strength , ( it would allow me to mend easier than a 100% wool /silk/cashmere or mohair .
for strength suri alpaca is very strong and a bit more elastic than silk ( but silk is so darn easy to spin )
I think this is a fun idea, loads of work , soap and hot water are necessary( in my opinion ) for the clean feeling and smelling wool I would want . Coats are a big help especially if the amimals will not be full time grazed and sheltered with a slat floor run in . hay fed sheep if not feed in special feeders can trash a fleece.Sheep sleeping on mud or manure makes it worse And free fleece that is full of VM will cost many times what prepared top or roving will in labor to remove the VM , it does not really fall out with carding . I had to get my husbands friends to stop giving me fleece as it was so dirty and filled with hay , it was costing me 30.00 of labor to produce a clean few oz
It would be wonderful if this works I do fiber work and sales of fiber full time , so I am a cheerleader for this but aware of many of the difficulties
 
Burra Maluca
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Susan Doyon wrote:The only problem I see with silk and wool is moths eat both , I use a nylon or rayon as a core to be spun to ply with fine wool more for structural integrity if I get a moth attack than for just strength


Using nylon or rayon would, however, immediately render the yarn not suitable to be used in HUSP quality clothing.


 
Susan Doyon
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correct , that was why I suggested linen , flax can be grown and processed on farm . also husp methods may not produce a fabric that is practical for work clothing . it will need to be hard wearing and kind to the skin
 
r ranson
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Moths and other creepy crawlies are a problem with natural fibres, especially protein ones like wool. Mice, rats, weevils, beetles... oh my gosh, the list is endless. It's the way of nature. The moment you make something nice, every other critter want's to have a piece of it for themselves.

Thankfully our ancestors have discovered many natural ways to discourage pests from eating our clothes.

Little things like knowing that moths almost always go for dirty wool and almost never go near clean wool.

Certain smells like lavender or clove deter moths - but won't kill them.

Keeping wool items in isolation while in storage helps control any infestation that might occur. Traditionally, winter garments would be cleaned then wrapped in cotton or linen before being put away for the summer.

Lots of little tricks and tips for avoiding moths naturally. My feelings are that since we are going to this trouble to preserve our wool, it's also keeping the moths from eating our silk.




This HUSP idea is simply an old world for what humanity has done since we first started wearing clothes.

Before mills and machines, before the Industrial Revolution - all of mankind's time on this earth before ... let's be generous and say the 18th Century, but really we're talking like 1830s for most of the 'developed' world and 1940s for the rest. It's been at least 6 thousand years, of making our own cloth, by hand, with only the materials that grew near where we live. These clothes had to be hard wearing, soft enough to be next to the skin, practical work clothes. The method of making them was basically what we are calling HUSP in this thread.

It may be that modern people aren't as intelligent or as skilled as our ancestors. I don't know. I do know that it has been done before, and done well. I think it can still be done, even with our handicap of being born in this time period. At the very least, we should give it a try before saying it won't work.
 
r ranson
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For faster removal of vegi matter from fleece, wool pickers are very popular:



image from here

Not a substitute for clean fleece, but labour saving.

Having a farmer that pays attention to the quality of the fleece makes a huge difference.
 
Susan Doyon
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I really wish I knew less about wool and mohair , would make it easier to keep quiet . I have been a full time dyer ( wool and mohair 23 years now ) I have made every error possible

moths do not care weather the wool is clean or dirty , dyed or not , scents simply make it harder for the moth to find your fiber
the former head of the wool/ mohair research station at Texas A+M is my source his quote was a capped glass jar is the only sure way to keep moths from wool

a wool picker will allow much VM to fall out , while it helps it also can mangle a fine wool and cause neppy yarn due to the short broken bits

you can start with any wool but you will be selling to modern humans with wide choices and art yarn with vm may be ok for a handbag but not great for work clothes . scarfs , hats ( at least the part that touches skin ) will be very uncomfortable is not made with well prepared wool . I for one have been driven nuts by a bit of hay spun into an angora hat band and it did not help it feel better that I was the spinner

I am not saying you will not prepare well
I am not saying do not do this
I am not in any way trying to squash your dreams . I had a similar ,but different fiber dream and it worked out well .
I am saying gather all the knowledge you can from those that have walked before you . Humans in this century are far more picky about what they wear our skin is no longer used to harsh fibers
spinners ,dyers , and shepherds that have come before you have made the errors and gained the knowledge of what may cause problems .
we do not know all but I wish I had a forum of other dyers to help me when I was learning .
 
r ranson
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I'm not a fan of a picker myself. Many of my other guild members absolutely adore it, but I find it's hard on the fibre. I would much rather work with a fleece from an animal that has been cared for well. A good farmer will keep the fleece clean and give the animals the nutrition they need to produce superior quality wool.



I agree, it's not an easy path. If it was easy, it would be taken over by industrial capitalists long ago.

My feelings are that husp style clothing is not only possible, but the historical norm. Historical precedent shows us that it can be done and it can be done well. There will be lots of challenges - or learning opportunities. One can read and read, and it helps to know what to look for. But it's no substitute for trying it for oneself. When working with natural materials, there are so many possible variations. Location, materials, weather, resources, time, all these things have their effect on the results. Because there's so many variables, the challenges one encounters are almost never what one expect. I feel that one learns more by doing than they can by reading. Of course, as a lover of spinning, weaving and natural textiles, I am always bias towards encouraging people give it a try first. As challenges creep up, we can walk them through solutions.

We can learn a lot from the past, and past mistakes. We can learn a lot more from doing. We can learn most of all by acknowledging the past and trying new things for ourselves.

If I were to approach a husp style clothing business, I would spend a lot of time getting my quality up. Trying a lot of different styles of cloth making to see what matches my craft style and resources. Making a lot of clothing for myself and my friends/family to wear. See how the clothing holds up to rigorous use. Maybe selling mitts and hats on etsy to fund my endeavour. But then, once I know I have a quality that people will pay for, then I would launch a product. But that's just my style of approaching things.


The original question from this thread wasn't how difficult is it. The original poster has sufficient experience with fibre arts to know what she's getting into. Rather the question was, would people like to buy a product that follows these ideals. Yes, I still think people would. At least in this part of the world. There is a growing awareness of the damage that the industrial clothing industry has on people and the environment. I think there are people would spend the extra money on a product like this.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote: Hi Elisha M.

I have read similar description about urine in new and old text...If I may share, I believe from reading other text and direct experience this is a "misnomer" about urine for the most part as it applies to textiles, and its "uric acid" application as a cleaning agent.


Hi Jay C. White Cloud. I think really in the old days urine was used for cleaning wool. There is a town in the Netherlands where the inhabitants were called (translated) 'jar pissers'. The urine was collected for use in the fabrication of wool fabrics. But maybe it wasn't the fat wool right from the sheep, but the spun or woven wool.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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I learned a new, interesting, word: HUSP. I did not know that word before
 
r ranson
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It's surprising to learn how much urine is used in textile production. Most of the time it was collected then allowed to sit or ferment for days/weeks. The result was something like ammonia which is often used as a colour modifier for natural dyeing. I don't know much about cleaning with urine, however. It's something worth looking into.

Modernday pee isn't as awesome as the urine of our ancestors. Our diet is very different, and a lot of us take medications that can alter the chemistry of the water we pass. Sometimes, at least in dyeing, modern urine doesn't have the same strength or effect that it had in the past. 'Though, I imagine that a person living in a husp setting would have a diet more suitable for urine harvest.

Another method to wash wool that was mentioned is the fermented suint wash. One ferments raw fleece in a very smelly way. Basically the sweat from the sheep combines with the grease to create it's own soap-like substance. Only, it's more complicated than that.



I've tried this with a few fleeces and I'm not super fond of it. The first time I did it, I timed it so that the wool would be ready about the same time we had a rain. So I could take the fleece out, put it on a pallet, and let the rain do the rinsing. It worked well enough at first. The muck and detritus was mostly gone from the fleece. The smell went away after a few days in the rain. The problem I had was after a few days in storage the wool became really tacky and I haven't been able to get this stickiness out, even scouring it.

One of these days I'll try this method again. There are several things I can do differently that might improve my results. I know at least one person in this thread that's had good luck with it. Jay. He's inspired me to give it another go.




I need to read more about the husp threads to understand why fire isn't considered acceptable. Husp is an invention of Paul's mind and it's always a challenge of mine to understand the thought experiments of others.

The way I am understanding the philosophy behind husp living, is that nothing is wasted or used unnecessarily. Burning seems to be wasteful from first glance. Except it's also very useful as a way to heat humans so we don't freeze to death, and allow us to make full nutritional use of many of the foods we harvest. The ashes can be used to augment the soil. I've noticed plants I grow with a top dressing of ash on the soil at planting time, have fewer issues with aphids and blackstickybugs. Instead of killing the bugs when they arrive, it helps to make the plant stronger and less attractive to them. I've seen many animals, wild and domestic, eat ashes for the trace minerals. Also, and this is really awesome to me, ashes can be used to make soap. If we have sheep for wool, chances are we have sheep for food as well. The fat from the sheep makes excellent soap, or so I'm told. Still waiting on a spare moment when I can make my own soap and try this first hand.

Washing wool can be far less wasteful in both water and soap, than it is often treated in this day and age. I mentioned The Big Book of Handspinning, and how the author has a multi bath system. Each bath is used three or four times. As an example (different fleeces need different amounts of water, but this gives the general idea of how it can use less water): Bath one has the soapy water. We wash, and put the wool in bath two with no soap to rinse, then bath three, then bath four. Then off to dry. We take bath one, use it to water the garden because it's full of muck and good stuff for the soil, fill it with clean water. Add soap to bath two and start our second fleece in bath two. Every bath but bath one have dirty water in it at this point. Bath two, three, four, then finishing up in bath one - the bath with the clean water. This way you don't need four sets of water for each fleece. By washing several in this way and reusing the water, we need a lot less water. Allowing the fleece to be out in the rain the day or two before washing, and we would need even less water.

Having hot water means we need even less water. If hot enough, it can melt the lanolin and release the dirt easier.

I interpret husp living as involving some sort of fire. Washing wool is a case where we can using fire with care and awareness, reduces the resources we need. Using less resources is just as important to me as creating no waste.
 
Thomas Partridge
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Very interesting information on the creation.

As for pricing such clothing, how much of the mark up would be because it is environmentally friendly and how much would be because it is actually superior to synthetic products currently available. I am the type where I will pay good money or keep an eye out at thrift stores for clothing that is actually better than other clothing. I have a pair of carheart coveralls that I got a really good deal on ebay for (about half of the price) and even with the good deal are still twice as expensive as some other coveralls. They are actually worth the price though. Would these items offer a significant advantage in terms of durability and/or function over say something I could pick up at Walmart?

I understand the point is to be more ecologically friendly but to me there is only so much I am willing to spend on supporting "green" enterprises before it pretty much becomes charity. This is a matter of practicality for me because as a young person I have to watch where my money goes.
 
Matthew Nistico
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R Ranson wrote:I think a lot of people seem to think that handmade clothing is frumpy, lumpy, bumpy, impractical, wears out quickly, difficult to maintain, and all sorts of qualities that don't fit into the modern lifestyle. If you can make a product that is awesome, luxurious, exciting, classic in appearance, long lasting, and has this Husp quality, then go for it.


@Kadence - Yup, that is pretty much what I think when I think of handmade clothing. At least of the Etsy variety. I also think "overpriced." So yes, there is going to be a LOT of customer education necessary for your enterprise to succeed. But that doesn't mean it can't be done. The trick is making an article that embodies some of those positive descriptors from above - awesome, classic in appearance, and long lasting - and convincing people that knowing the wool came from permaculture sheep is worth something to them.

I have done the yuppie thing; had to leave that world behind. Now I am trying to create a homesteading lifestyle for myself while working PT on the side. Which means I live on a small budget. So suffice it to say: I am a thrift shopper. Exclusively. I would never pay $40 for any item at a mall when I could buy it for $4 (or often for less) at the thrift store, even if I have to wait a while till it shows up on the racks. But I also buy my eggs, milk, and at least some of my meat from certain local producers because they exhibit land management that at least approximates my permie ideals. While their prices are reasonable, or else I simply wouldn't purchase, they are still more than Walmart prices, to be sure.

All of this means that, while I would never buy that $40 piece of clothing at the mall, I WOULD every once in a while augment my normal stream of thrift store goods with that one special piece of permie-made clothing, even for a lot more $ than the mall price. But again, I would expect it to be "awesome, classic in appearance, and long lasting." And for the record: I could not care less whether it met the strictest definition of HUSP and was made without burning wood. Frankly, that just sounds absurd to me. HUSP was a thought experiment of Paul's to explore the limits of how close to the earth one could live. I shouldn't put words into Paul's mouth, but I don't think he imagined it as a realistic standard for how even 1% of people would actually live, even in the most ideal vision of a sustainable future economy. What I would care about is permie-level land management with your animals, natural dyes, handmade attention to detail in craftsmanship, and free of toxic gick. Based on your original post, I would feel safe that we are on the same page in these areas.

Your original post indicates that you were at a "pre-Kickstarter" stage of conceptualization and business planning. How far has your plan evolved in the two years since? You asked a simple and direct question - would we be willing to buy your clothes - and few if any posters have given you a simple and direct answer. Until you are prepared to provide a few more details, I don't think you will get any more direct answers.

So, as soon as your preparations are ready for it, I look forward to you posting here 1) photos of actual clothing items; together with 2) descriptions of their manufacture (weaving method, dyes used, etc.); and 3) at least a ball-park realistic price. Ideally these would be photos of your own prototype items, though presumably made with someone else's wool, but I think you could also get away with using a photo of someone else's clothing and simply writing "my sweater would look very similar to this and be of similar quality."

When you are at the stage to be able to provide these three details, then I think you could expect to start getting actual yes/no answers in order to gauge your potential customer base. Then, on to Kickstarter! Although it occurs to me that you might have problems getting Kickstarter backers to put up money now so that you can start building animal paddocks and provide them with clothing over a year in the future (how long does it take to raise sheep to first fleecing?) You might need to get your project further along using your own funds before taking it to Kickstarter, though I realize that kind of negates the whole point of a Kickstarter campaign. I'm sure you've already considered that wrinkle...?
 
Jason Silberschneider
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I'd be prepared to pay money for good quality linen clothing that didn't cost a gazillion dollars, such as you'll pay for top-of-the-line executive shirts, which is pretty much the only way you'll buy linen clothing these days.

Even linen manchester is typically triple the price of top quality cotton manchester.

I don't want executive dress shirts costing hundreds of dollars, I want a good, strong work shirt (or even buttonless tunic) made of linen that I can throw in the compost pile at the end of its working life. In the past, the rag and bone man would come along each week and collect all the worn out linen to be made into paper. But composting is just as environmentally friendly. Use simple wooden buttons, and linen clothing is 100% compostable.

Living in the global, online shopping world that we do, you'd have no problems selling your clothing to permies anywhere. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for the first of the linen gardening shirts!
 
r ranson
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these videos about fibresheds are a great start at showing what can be done. Not HUSP exactly, but moving in that direction.

This is my favourite.



Whenever I feel discouraged about what we can make by hand, I watch this video and look at her clothes. Again, not fully HUSP, but functional, hand made from local materials, often handspun or felted, hand woven, &c. Nice shape, enjoyable colour, and practical.

What I would look for in HUSP clothing is everyday wear that I can feel comfortable wearing on the farm, or for a trip into town.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Thomas Partridge wrote:... because it is environmentally friendly and how much would be because it is actually superior to synthetic products currently available....

I understand the point is to be more ecologically friendly but to me there is only so much I am willing to spend on supporting "green" enterprises before it pretty much becomes charity. This is a matter of practicality for me because as a young person I have to watch where my money goes.

That's the way I see it too (though I'm an 'older person' ). For the environment too the better quality is important. Clothes we can wear for many years, and are worth some reparings during the years, are so much more 'environmentally friendly' than the cheap 'fashion' of nowadays! Also better for the people who made those clothes. You can support someone who produces best quality clothes of natural (locally grown) materials because he/she likes that, or you support a wealthy multinational who owns factories in the far East where people are slaving under very bad circumstances ...
 
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