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Misc The New Textile Thread (or What to Wear and How to make it when TSHTF)
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  1. #1

    The New Textile Thread (or What to Wear and How to make it when TSHTF)

    OK I see a couple of other threads are already here; we may want to do one specifically for knitting and another for weaving but lets start with one and see how it goes.

    Feel free to ask questions, post patterns and links to patterns/blogs/resources etc - we may also want to start a thread that is just resource links but again let's just see how this goes first.

    Basically this thread continues the topic on the main board but with a more specific and hand's on focus - Melodi

    I'll post more things when I am back at my home computer, but feel free to start posting now.
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Thanks Melodi for starting this thread over here. I was pleasantly surprised by all the responses and interest over in the main. I'll dig around and see what pattern sources I can come up with to help out.

    It may sound a little weird for a guy, but I'm the sewing and crafts person in my family. For SCA and Renn Faire I put together all our costumes. My DW has a lot of smarts and talent but sewing isn't one of them.

    I would really like to get a sock knitting machine and think I will look into that again.

    Thanks again for your support.
    We have done so much, with so little, for so long....We can now do anything, with nothing, forever.

  3. #3
    One of the wonderful things about the SCA to quote a very gay friend of mine after a class we both took on Middle Eastern Embroidery is (as my friend said)

    "Things I love about the SCA, the one place where an obviously straight man can effuse for one hour about his love of doing embroidery!"

    I know lots of households where the man does most of the garb making and if you look back in history; men were the tailors, weavers and even knitters back when such things were commercially viable.

    They only became associated as only "women's work" in the 19th century (in Europe and the US) when most (but not all) professionals were taken over by industry of various sorts.

    One gig I so want to do sometime in the SCA with the right 12 to 17-year-old male is the Elizabethan "manly young knitters apprentices" that made the "gear" for the British Navy, especially hats.

    I gather these boys would walk into town on Saturdays with their giant steel needles (all five of them) stuck into their trousers in just the "right" place, thrust their hips forward and knit like the manly men they were to impress the lassies with well, you know...

    Given the modern view of knitting I think it is hilarious though when we first moved here twenty years ago, old men would see me knitting socks in public and say "in the Royal Navy they gave us five needles you know, I used to make all my ciggie money knitting the other guys socks" - it seems until very recently the Brits (and many Irish served under their flag) in both the Merchant Marines and the Navy gave out one pair of socks to new recruits along with a ball of yarn and a set of needles for their next pair.

    They kept this up long after the hand knits were really needed because it was considered "tradition" and it keep the sailors busy...

    Oh and I saw one of those sock machines live and in action about 18 years ago in Galway; they are amazing, there is obviously a learning curve but this lady was knitting socks with heals and able to sell them reasonably cheaply because she could make them so quickly.

    Her machine was an antique found in a barn, but it is pretty much identical to the ones that came out about WWI that the American military allowed and encouraged mid-western farm wives to use to make rapid and safe socks; along with the endless hand knitting.

    Over here, knitting machines of all kinds were very popular (in Ireland until quite recently) and they are called "knitting looms" which is what they really are; the simple ones go back late SCA period and while faster than hand knitting, they are an artform to use (unlike modern electric powered ones) and have limitations on what you can do with them - still I've seen some amazing things done in Scotland knitting Fair Isles on them, again faster than hand knits but still stopping every row to redo the yarns.
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    We have done so much, with so little, for so long....We can now do anything, with nothing, forever.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    I guess I can blame my mother for my homemaking skills. She put my younger brother and I though what she called "Bachelor Survival Training". We had to learn how to plan, shop, prepare and cook meals and properly clean a house, do our own laundry....properly, learn to sew to do repair clothing, can food, bake, etc., etc., she even taught us to knit as part of our training, I recall that all I did was a simple square, but I have the idea of how to do it. Her idea was that we should be able to do all these "domestic" chores ourselves and not get married to have them done for us. Which is pretty smart when you really think about it. And it allowed us to both teach our wives those skills that their mothers hadn't bothered to pass down to much for women's liberation. Sad.

    Oh, below is a couple of links I relocated regarding Sock Machines:

    Circular Sock Knitting Machine Society
    Erlbacher Gearhart Knitting Machine of Missouri, USA
    Sock World Hokitika, Jacquie Grantís NZAK

    What is nice is that parts are once again being made for these old work horses. Erlbacher actually reverse engineered Cylinder and Ribber (the heart of the sock machine) and is manufacturing new machines, which price wise is much less in cost than the ones being sold in New Zealand.

    I would love to have an original sock machine with all the pieces, parts, stand and such. They used to come in their own wooden box. Do you ever run across a full kit there in Ireland? Ebay has a few old machines here but it would be more practical money wise to buy one of Erlbacher's new units. I just can't justify paying the same price for an antique that may or may not work instead of a new working machine.

    Also I understand the old metallurgy left something to be desired over time. If you ever run across one that's complete and a screaming deal please let me know (I'm talking a couple of hundred dollars), that would be worth the effort and expense to pick up and have shipped back to the states.

    I keep my eye out for one in the antique stores my wife and I frequent, but have yet to see one here on the West Coast. Probably more likely to find one in back East or down South, but doubt I'd find one in any kind of real working functional state.

    I'm quite serious.....if you find a complete one hidden away over there for a good price let me know ASAP I'm totally game! My DW will think I'm crazy but then she's used to that!
    We have done so much, with so little, for so long....We can now do anything, with nothing, forever.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    So I pulled out the sock machine stuff today. It appears that I have some of 2 different machines. I have all of a gearhart except the ribber and the weights and other stuff. I have all the parts to a Steber except the main casting that mounts to a table. I currently have the gearhart soaking in oil and am going to try to pull it apart and see what kind of shape it is in. If I can get it up and turning I can use a lot of the Steber Accessories like the weights, buckle, heel fork etc. We shall see.

  8. #8
    I actually have an antique Singer treadle. Probably time to get it running again. It is in the storage room, but now that we are rearranging everything to keep the budgies safe, I think I'll bring it out.

    One thing I remember from when I used to wear hand-sewn full skirts every day - I tended to be a bit reluctant to get them dirty, stained, or possibly torn. That can put a crimp in hard work. When they started wearing out, I put them away and switched to all thrift store skirts, and the less I liked the skirt, the better. Mid-calf length, sturdy fabric, and full are the only essential criteria. Cotton tends to be harder wearing than the linen ones anyway, but maybe it was the particular linen I had purchased.

    Our local charity thrift store has "Bag Day" once a month. All the clothing that can be stuffed into a paper grocery bag for $3.50. I like to do that to stock up, esp large fleece jackets and outer wear which can get expensive new. It all goes into totes in storage. Lately, they have been out of good skirts, but they have several denim jumpers in stock. Jumpers aren't my thing, but I'm not gonna care much once I end up needing them.

  9. #9
    Woven, not printed, closely spaced plaids and stripes make sewing much easier.

    If you are selecting fabric, consider the plaid or stripe over the solid colour. You get a measured grid build right into the fabric. A lot of post Ap. sewing might be right in your lap, in poor light. You may not have the luxury of clear quilter's rulers, gridded rotary cutting boards, fine chaulk markers, washable inks, etc. Fine pencil can very hard to see in poor light.

    I was reminded of this today when I began again on a skirt I started a couple of years ago, but left off not quite finished. I am somewhere deep in about 80-100 inches of faced hem. Fortunately, the fabric is a small scale grey and white plaid. I can finger press under the edges of the self fabric *tape* as I go, and keep a straight line on the hem too, with no double checking nor measuring.

    We may also lack good steam irons. I have a few of the old fashioned irons, and a wood stove to heat them on, but my electric iron is Teflon, so I can't use it anyway, except outside (heated Teflon kills birds). With the aid of the pattern, I can complete the sewing in the current rumpled stashed away state right on my lap, aided by the fabric's grid. It will press flat just fine when it's done.

    One thing I like about old peasant styles from two hundred or more years ago, is the rough and ready approach. Skirts weren't fitted,just tied, and no one fretted about the open slits at the side. Sewing the pleated/gathered fabric directly to the tie tapes eliminated a lot of waist band fussing. Only a wrap skirt could be simpler. I tend to get deep in the weeds with tailoring and little dress making details that are lovely, but very time consuming. Making a more authentic garment (which this one is totally not!) is a good break from that.

    Also, stock up on cheap reading glasses. I wear two at a time now for reading, and my vision still isn't all there.

  10. #10
    I like the look of this pattern for men's trousers.

    Might have to try it. I already have the pattern below that for the English shirt, but have never made it.

  11. #11
    Bring back the pocket.

    These work well with those practical tie on skirts. Since my shift fabric still hasn't arrived, and I finished the previous skirt (I look about forty pounds heavier in it, but it is DONE. happy dance.), I think I'll drag out some scraps, and try a pair. Very *handy* for an extra pair of eye glasses, knife and pepper spray.

  12. #12
    Also, stock up on cheap reading glasses. I wear two at a time now for reading, and my vision still isn't all there.
    Not wanting to drift the thread, but I recently learned WHY the "cheap reading glasses" (or even the much more expensive ones) don't work for me... they don't work on anyone with astigmatism! (at least, not with the severe degree that I have!) That explains a lot! I recently had an eye exam, and the optician explained that... so I've got prescription bifocals (Zenni Optical brings the price of high index, no line bifocals down to a very reasonable amount), plus I bought a pair JUST for close up, for my hand quilting, hemming and other sewing.

    I have a Passap brand double bed knitting machine, which can be used to knit circular items, including socks. Probably not quite as fast as a dedicated sock machine, but I can make a pair in well under an hour (and I'm out of practice... now that we finally got our upstairs cleaned/organized and the guest room where the knitting machine is finished- new floor, etc... I want to get back to using the machine again)

    One tip for chore or outdoor clothing... when you first make it, figure out where the "wear points" are (for farming, jeans almost always wear out at the knees and on the face of the upper thighs). Then, iron on sturdy patches onto the new clothing. They will last a LOT longer, and if the patch begins to wear through, you can always reheat it, remove and replace it. This elminates the "hole in the jeans" issue which can be uncomfortable while working. For little boys' jeans, I used to iron on lightweight knit fabric... usually some of Malden Mills silkweight knits. It usually kept them from wearing holes in their knees until they outgrew the pants.


  13. #13
    I've been really busy this week - Spring Weather for a change that is warm (and only expected to last a few days)so washing and hanging out wool clothing and fabrics to dry outside.

    I thought we might want to start listing resources and books people might want to have - some are mentioned on the other thread but lets put some here - I did even wonder if we should ask the mods if we can do a special thread with a sticky on it; but for now I'll start with a few and we can add them.

    I think that EVERY prepper household should have at least these two books, along with some needles and natural fiber/mixed fiber yarns; better to practice BEFORE you need to but these two books, especially if you add other books by the same two authors will give you the basics and basic patterns for most things you will want for the next Winter.

    First the Classic:
    Knitting Without Tears by Elizabeth Zimmerman - already mentioned on the main thread; I don't learn well from books but I managed knitting (beyond a few badly made scarves) using this book one long dark Winter in Sweden.

    I also recommend getting ALL of her older books (sometimes you can get the used and most are not that expensive) and at least The Opinionated Knitter which is basically the first few years of her old newsletter updated and put into a book after she passed away.

    But if you can only get one to start - get this one.

    The second book is: The Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns by Ann Bud

    I often travel with this book because if I decide I want to make a hat/sock/vest/mitten/glove/sweater I have my basic sizes and patterns; the system she uses is pretty much EZ (Elizabeth Zimmerman's) percentage system so there isn't a new learning curve.

    I do prefer EZ's sweater making methods and/or Ann's similar books for just knitting sweaters; because I like to knit in the round and her patterns in the general book are almost all flat.

    That said, in an SHTF situation flat needles are going to be easier to make and find; plus if you know how to knit in the round it is dead easy to adapt most simple sweater patterns (especially those without set in sleeves) to round knitting - the stitch numbers are almost the same and you just need to remember that you don't have any "wrong side" rows - you just knit or pearl according to the chart (if you have a pattern) - think of it as knitting a giant sock.

    For knitting in the round when you can't get modern round needles; just either make yourself or have your needle maker make 4 to 8 giant double pointed needles of the size you like best (use a gage to get them all the same needle size) that's how it is still done in parts of Scotland and it works really well; not quite as easy as modern round needles but still I think easier than knitting flat for many projects.

    OK that's the basic start - I'm not being allowed to post photos right now (no idea why I am on my PC) so I'll try for some more stuff tomorrow - meanwhile please add things!
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

  14. #14
    I muse, ... that after the SHTF and if I'm still alive... I'll should have at the least 7 pairs of work pants or coveralls. And at least a few robes. Robes that I only ware when I'm not working in the field. And loin cloths under the robes. Just a muse. It seems that having two sets of ware would be smart. Also forget about (for the most part) about showers or baths, but a good vinager and water sponge bath each day useing a spray bottle that mists and rags to clean up every day.

    Just food for thought. This way one can check for ticks etc.. every day.

  15. #15
    Socks and gloves in the round are one thing, but I find the sweaters in the round get very big and heavy. Also, have never been able to source the long needles that were paired with the padded belt. I HATE circulars! Last I looked, a year or so ago, Gansey Nation has kits that include the needles, but they don't seem to sell them separately. They are also UK. Not sure if they even sell to the US, but I've always been tempted to just spend the money, and get an entire kit.

    One sweater that I finished knitting, but never put together was a Sedestal sweater. Cutting the steek seemed too stressful, so it never happened. Also, the instructions got VERY sketchy when it came to applying the felted fabric, and the traditional embroidery. I knew the results would be poor if I attempted that without any more references. I like the idea of the fabric facings, and the Sedestal when done right is my favourite style. Bold and refined at the same time. Gansey is IMHO the ultimate in sweater making, but the knit pearl makes me cross-eyed.

  16. #16
    The silkworms are all dead. Well, a word to the wise: don't put the squirt-on flee and tick treatment on three dogs with the worms inside the house. I didn't even think about it, but it stank up the house, and the worms were all dead several hours later.

    Ordered some more, but I just feel bad for the ones lost. I was rather attached to them, and one feels a sense of responsibility for their well-being. Hope they didn't suffer.

    Working on another ferment dye indigo vat for this summer. Not sure if I can mix the pre-reduced easy indigo with *real* indigo. (I have about three ounces of pre-reduced left over from several years ago, Dharma brand.) Didn't have enough money for the recipe specified four ounces of indigo to include in the same order with the silk worm eggs. I also ordered fresh washing soda, but will try to use my old left over madder chunks. Hope the enzyme they hold is still good. Tiny indigo vat on a shoe string. Well, we'll see.

  17. #17
    I was going to suggest the Budd book as well, and the Craft Yarn Council has a PDF of standards for knitting and crocheting that is very, very handy.

    I happen to love circular needles, because I am forever dropping double points. Makes me very frustrated. I have straights, circular, and double points in most sizes, so am fairly well set as far as needles go.

    Long double points can be made from dowls, bicycle, or motorcycle spokes, or any other straight and fairly strong material. And who says you have to have only four or five double points? Actually, you can use ten or more dp needles if that is how big your project is.

    We have to look at how people have worked around problems in the past, and not get too hung up on "right" or "wrong" techniques.


  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Jacki View Post
    I was going to suggest the Budd book as well, and the Craft Yarn Council has a PDF of standards for knitting and crocheting that is very, very handy.

    I happen to love circular needles, because I am forever dropping double points. Makes me very frustrated. I have straights, circular, and double points in most sizes, so am fairly well set as far as needles go.

    Long double points can be made from dowls, bicycle, or motorcycle spokes, or any other straight and fairly strong material. And who says you have to have only four or five double points? Actually, you can use ten or more dp needles if that is how big your project is.

    We have to look at how people have worked around problems in the past, and not get too hung up on "right" or "wrong" techniques.

    Agree, materials change, techniques change, needs change. My clothes are not for SCA nor re-enactments, so they sometimes have zippers and snaps. I also adapt for a more modern silhouette. (BF suggested making some stays that close with Velcro.) The history is more of a reference point.

    I almost always use five needles when knitting in the round. I think just three needles holding the stitches puts too much stress on the work. That sometimes means purchasing an extra set of DPN's, but I occasionally break the bamboo ones anyway. You really can't have too many DPN's in any particular length or thickness. I usually go down two sizes to get the correct gage. Lots of size one and zero needles in my collection.

  19. #19
    For beginners at sewing, or folks who haven't sewn for years, has some really excellent reference and educational materials. She has several books out, including some on quilting, on "remodeling" clothing (making it more "in style", or fits better). Some include DVD's, for those who learn easier in that format.

    In my experience, there are a few tools for sewing that you REALLY don't want to be without. GOOD scissors (I LOVE either the Mundial or Gingher brands of scissors... they aren't cheap, but with reasonable care, they'll last a lifetime). If you can't afford those, consider Fiskars... and a sharpener.

    GOOD pins... that means glass (or other melt-proof) heads, very sharp, and as fine as will work for your project. If you are going to be working with leather, vinyl, or other materials where "holes" will show after a pin is removed, consider buying a package of the clips they sell now... I used them when making fabric diapers, so the PUL waterproof outer layer wouldn't leak. I still personally prefer pins, but there are places for the clips:

    If you have any plans for quilting, etc, you'll want a cutting mat and a rotary cutter. Extra blades, plus a way to sharpen them.

    Good hand sewing needles, and plenty of extra sewing machine needles...more problems with stitches not being even, skipped stitches, etc are caused by worn, dull or damaged (bent) needles. You can extend the life of pins and needles by buying a "sharpening pad", and using it. IIRC, they used to sell pincushions filled with pumice rock... every time you put your pins or needles into it and remove them, it polished then and helped keep them sharp.

    Something to make/trace patterns on... either heavy "tracing paper" (they sell it in rolls up to 48" wide), or (my preference) lightweight interfacing. I occasionally buy a bolt of lightweight *fusible* interfacing. It works fine for tracing off multi-size patterns, but it is really great for ironing onto tissue paper pattern pieces to reinforce them. I used to buy basic patterns when JoAnns would have them on sale for a buck... I'd buy as many as 6 of the same pattern, so I could cut out each size and iron on interfacing, to make a "lifetime" pattern. I have these for most of the basics- men's boxers, t-shirts, pull on sweat pants, nightwear, swearshirts, turtlenecks, etc...

    Awhile back, we were discussing thread. I've discovered that polyester thread tends to last much better than cotton in storage. If you're storing cotton thread, you need to be extra careful to keep it from being exposed to direct sunlight or excessive heat. (then again, a few spools of polyester I had which are probably 10 years old are fine- but the plastic cones they are wound on are disintegrating into dust!!)

    I've since learned that you want to use polyester for any application where you want some stretch in the thread. Basically, use cotton for woven fabrics, and poly on all knits. For some really nice quality thread (as well as some super- and very nicely priced- thread storage containers), check out

    Get on their mailing list, and you'll find out when they're having 40% off all their thread- that's the time to stock up!


  20. #20
    Great posts everyone, I think I've solved the posting images problem (it works on go advanced but not on quick reply) so hopefully I can post a few things over the weekend.

    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

  21. #21
    One other thing I thought of is felting needles. They can be used for repairing knits, and embellishing knits. They are not expensive, and are pretty easy to use. They do need to be used with care 'cause they are really, really sharp. Think fish hook sharp with barbs!


  22. #22
    Dress like a Viking. I love their metalwork, but they also had practical solutions with simple materials. I esp. like the description of leggings, and the cut of men's trousers given on this site:

  23. #23
    Shift is finished. I ran into a bit of trouble, as usual, where the triangles meet. However the stitching is perfect. Took four entire days of sewing, but I got thru a large backlog of You Tube videos during the process. Now, a shift should not take that long - even hand sewn. Nor should it require the majority of three yards of 60" wide fabric. I REALLY like bias tape binding around the neck, hem, and other trouble spots, and I always make it myself. That eats up a lot of fabric and time. The results are beautiful, however. Fit on this shift is pretty good. It is a bit of a hybrid; the neckline is higher, so I can wear it as a blouse. Love the freedom of movement in it. It doesn't pull up at all when I raise my arms. Also, looks good paired with the full skirt.

    I was planning to use the left over fabric to make stays, but there are only small scraps left. I'll have to find something in the stash.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    What is some good general purpose thread to stock up on? I have a ton of misc thread but would like to bulk buy some that is all the same.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by mecoastie View Post
    What is some good general purpose thread to stock up on? I have a ton of misc thread but would like to bulk buy some that is all the same.
    I'm not sure it is GOOD thread, but WM has all-cotton thread in bulk. I wouldn't use it on a sewing machine (they are particular), but the off-white and black spools I bought years ago still have a lot of thread left on them, and I've made many clothing items with each. I go through a lot of thread with each project, because I don't pin, I always baste. I bought the spools for $4 each several years ago. At our WM, they are stocked at the bottom of the thread display near the floor. If you go to a site like JoAnne's, I'm sure they have the really big spools of quality poly/cotton thread for sergers. Sergers go thru miles of thread.

  26. #26
    Thread stock is the one time (besides children's clothing) that I got for polyester; I also stock up on cotton and nylon threads but in general when it comes to thread the synthetics last longer; especially in storage.

    No, you don't want them for your hand sewed reproduction Colonial outfit; but it may be exactly what you want if 10 years after you buy the stuff you really need it to sew or make general clothing repairs.

    I stock up on it when it comes into Lidle or Aldi; I also get linen, silk and cotton thread when I can find it on sale, but again for long-term this is one place that synthetic shines - the same is true of the 25 percent polyester in many sock yarns; while I think 100 percent wool is a bit more comfortable, using part polyester yarn and/or polyester THREAD held together while knitting the yarn when making the heels and the toes will add months or years of life to your socks.

    And that is another thing I buy the polyester sewing thread for, is for reinforcing the toes and heels of socks either when knitting them or replacing them (with hand knit socks it is worth replacing toes and heals that get too darned or have holes too large to darn properly).
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

  27. #27
    OK, bumping this thread to find out what the winter projects are y'all got going.

    I'm just now starting through the Viking tv series (ok, been at it for a week or so now) ... and have been eyeballing their looms. My studio's not quite ready to work in yet - but it's lots closer.

  28. #28
    I've got a wool fleece "fall and spring" jacket planned... if course, it's been "planned" for the last 5 years, but I actually have the pattern and fabric out on the table now! LOL! I've been wearing a cheap JoAnnes fleece jacket in an autumn leaf print I loved for at least 10 years now... that silly little afternoon project has gotten more comments and compliments when im out and about in stores than anything I think I've ever worn... i swear I should have found a bolt of that print and made them for sale! Sadly, it's really showing it's age, and it isn't really a heavy fleece... good enough over a wool sweater when it gets into the 40s, but a bit too light over a lighter top, or when the temps drop into the 30s.

    But my winter jacket is a down, stadium length coat from LL Bean, and it's just TOO warm until the temps drop into the low 20s... hence the wool fleece compromise.

    I'm also planning on making a king size quilt, hoping to have it ready for a house warming gift for my daughter... they're building their dream home next Spring. I have an Amish lady who will hand quilt it, so I just have to get the top pieced. It's complex, but not crazy so... it should be doable. I've been ironing all the batik fabrics I prewashed for it the last couple of days.

    I still have some more cloth diapers for the ever- growing granddaughter... fitting has been a problem, as she's long and lean, but with very chubby thighs! I modified a pattern last week, adding gusset (requested by my son) and added about 1 1/2 inches in length, which should provide the necessary leg room- I hope! I made 4, and if they fit, will make a dozen more... i think that size should work for the next 6 months or so.

    I'm also planning on making some "beehive quilts"... a prototype turned out really nice, but I took the measurements off the 'net... and apparently missed the fact that it was an 8 frame hive...mine are 10 frame! ☹

    I do have a couple of 8 frame hives I was planning on setting up next year, so it won't go to waste, but I have to start from scratch...sigh.

    I might end up making quilted totes or handbags for the women in the family for Christmas... depends on my energy level, but I have to make up my mind soon! Last year, I made men's shirts from Polarfleece for my sons and son-in-law, and they were a big hit. But also a big job! I must be getting old-er (as my daughter diplomatically says!)

    Winter is my sewing time though, and I love it. I'm grateful I stocked up on everything I did when I had a few extra bucks, because I don't have to feel at all guilty about indulging my passion.

    I also want to make a couple more wool jersey turtlenecks for myself... I made two last year, and they've gone through the washer and dryer multiple times and come out looking like new. They're the best under payer for our biter winter days, especially working in the barns or outside.


  29. #29
    Well, my only grand-daughter turns 5 in January. I was so looking forward to making those precious heirloom dresses when she was tiny... and life interfered with that plan. I've not done smocking or any of the fancy cutwork before... but I have done enough formal wear and vintage sewing to look forward to the attempt. I need to finish unpacking/sorting in my studio - look closely at my storage needs and clean off my table (it's 4x8). She's definitely a girly-girl, but I plan to continue my campaign to develop her tom-boy side... so she wants the "princess" stuff these days.

    But I think before I do that - I need to actually plug in the sewing machine, oil it, and see if it still works. I bought a Husqy Designer I... it uses floppy disks for the embroidery programming... so that tells you how old it is at this point. It will do anything and everything I ask it to -- or it did. Including fake fur toys. In some ways, I'd really like to have a simpler machine - but I was very impressed at how much the machine helped me sew better.

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    SW Louisiana
    I love fiber arts in general. Sadly we are down to zero designated fabric stores in our area so selection is limited. I have to travel an hour away to get to a Jo Ann's and was even disappointed to discover they've cut down on their fabric drastically and have gone with alot more general crafting merchandise instead. Textiles will be primarily determined by your local area. Here in the deep south 100% Cotton is the best virtually year round due to the heat and humidity. Up north you'd want to look at wool and wool blends during the winter months.

    I've been crocheting non stop to finish an afghan for my Mothers birthday on Nov. 30th. I actually had this half completed when I lost my home in a hurricane in 2005 and the afghan was destroyed. She's never let me forget it so I decided to start over and get this done for her.

    We have a huge pirate festival locally each year with period costumes so I've been sewing DH some new costumes for Christmas. It's been years since I've really put my serger to use so I decided to dust it off and get busy. I've also been tasked with making Militia costumes for 6 others as well as monogrammed sashes for gifts. Although some think period clothing would be ideal in a SHTF situation I feel that modern improvements in design and style of the garment industry has it's advantages such as deep pockets, zippers and so on. I am also working on various durable cobbler style aprons as well.

    I've been teaching myself to knit for the past year. I've always really wanted to knit socks using the 5 DP needles and not depend on a loom. I just finished my swatch and hope to get started on my first pair as soon as I get the afghan finished. I am still working on a rib knitted afghan for my sister.

    Below is the afghan I'm finishing up for my Mom. I know it's nothing to wear and may be a thread drift but I'm proud of it.
    Attached Images
    Last edited by ejagno; 11-16-2017 at 09:14 AM.
    My posts are simply my opinion, understanding and perceptions. Nothing more, nothing less so please don't get offended if mine sometimes differs from yours. It's what makes us unique and all valuable as a group.

  31. #31
    That looks seriously challenging ejagno; way beyond my basic crochet skills - I was better at Embroidery.

  32. #32
    I'm working on a "stash busting" afghan called "The World's Easiest Afghan pattern" you just knit long strips of blocks and alternate light and dark yarns; I've got a few issues with miss-matched "color tones" something I usually don't do but this isn't supposed to be art, it is a combination of something mindless to keep the hands busy and using up yarn; also making something WARM as all the yarn is part wool/part acrylic so I don't likeit for clothing but perfect for a washable afghan or bed spread that the cats are already sleeping on the pieces of of.

    At the same time, this Summer I had a bit of extra money and ordered a bunch of sock yarns from Italy; I had two balls of it my housemate bought in Germany and the super-wash socks really ARE OK to throw in the washing machine and even survived husband putting them in the dryer.

    So I've got those on needles most of the time and hope to have a number of pairs by the end of the year; also for fun I cast on a pair of larger needle wool socks for an SCA (Middle Ages Club) demo at a local castle; I made them in 2 days and they are SO WARM I plan to make more of them - they are more like over socks and have to be gentle washed/line dried (or over the stove dried) but they got me through trecking around Germany with warm feet!

    Finally, I've got a lot of old wool fleece I need to go through and decide what is worth spinning and what isn't; I had hope to get some weaving done but that will probably wait until Spring.

    As for period clothing after a collapse, the weaving part is the one best suited to traditional patterns; or rather many traditional styles take advantage of the fact that once people started using floor looms in the 14th century and commercialization started, fabric got narrower. That means styles for the average person (not the wealthy) tended to be made from smaller pieces of fabric and cut in such was as to not waste anything.

    In fact most traditional clothing is like that with a few exceptions where people had lots of time for cloth production (think Minoan skirts) but most traditional clothing, even into the 18th and 19th century consists of lots of squares and rectangles with a few triangles to make them fit better (often cut to waste zero fabric).

    Of course, innovations like zippers, pockets, buttons etc are highly useful and shouldn't be discarded when making real SHTF working clothing; but the shapes, even during some periods that look complicated are often pleated or smocked squares; which gives extra warmth or fit (or room to nurse a baby) but still working with the basic loom shape of the rectangle or square.
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

  33. #33
    ejagno... that is stunning! For sure, a ton of work, and time and love went into that afghan. Your mom is going to think of yo every time she sees it or snuggles in it.


  34. #34
    Question for y'all - some years ago I was able to buy a magazine titled "Piecework"; it was a UK or Australian publication I think. It was more needlework oriented - embroidery, needlepoint, etc - and I haven't seen it anywhere in ages. Just wondering if it's still around.

  35. #35
    There is a magazine called Piecework, probably the same. I got it for a while, but had to drop it whe I lost my main source of income. I consider it a fairly good source of fiber information, and would be happy to get it again.


  36. #36
    I think it is published by Interweave Press.

  37. #37
    Piecework is Interweave and comes out of the US, there are now download versions too; I had a subscription to most of their magazines for years but had to stop when the mailing rates got to high; now I tend to buy the downloadable ones a few months after they come out (or at the end of the year) in much cheaper bundles.

    Our latest project (housemate and I) is a nearly SHTF "proof" monster knitting machine; it is all mechanical and similar ones sell for a couple of thousand (we paid about 200 for it) most people in Ireland can't have a big, hulking piece of metal sitting around but we can and it knits in the round. Even better the people we got it from have a small business selling, repairing and restoring them (there is only one current maker of machines and I they are expensive from China and I gather not very well made).

    Last night I managed to jam "Monster" in a spectacular way but German Engineer housemate managed to sort it, got the machine working and just needs to change out the needle I already broke.

    I have a deposit on another machine that will do larger yarns so we have almost all sizes of yarn covered; we will try using up some of my yarn stash with the idea of selling at craft fairs, but as husband suggest for now it can be a fun way to make things quickly and if the world falls apart he said "you have the means of production."

    Once we figure out how to really use it ..(for those who know it is a Passup Duo 80 complete with the punch cards)...Meanwhile, I think I will relax this evening with regular knitting needles after I finish the Venezuelan Christmas bread for the potluck tomorrow.
    expatriate Californian living in rural Ireland with husband, dogs, horses. garden and many, many cats

  38. #38
    Join Date
    May 2001
    2nd star to the right
    Working on some fingerless mitts right now. Almost finished with the first one. Using the circular needs, but knitting flat. I LOVE the circular needles, as the work stays in the middle, which rests in my lap. Makes it MUCH easier on my wrists and elbows, especially since I have tendonitis.
    Treat each day as one of limitless potential and promise.

    The challenge in life is for HOPE to overcome that sense of fear. For GOOD to overcome evil.

  39. #39
    I feel the same way about circular needles. I am certain that I would not knit as much as I do. Straight needles are for swatching and back scratching.

  40. #40
    I love circular needles also, and use two at a time for booties, hats, socks, and other small diameter items.

    Another advantage with circular needles is avoiding dropped needle chasing. I am bad about that, and find that double point needles tend to slide out of stitches and hide in and under furniture.


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