A turn of events

I’ve been absent from my blog longer that normal lately. Partly it has been because of health issues, but also because I’ve been contemplating where I want to go with this blog. I like sewing, and I like documenting what I sew, but it seems to me that this space could be used for so much more – all related to sewing of course.

 

Sustainability as an expanding life choice

As I’ve grown older I have started to care more about how our modern lifestyle affect everything around us. We shape the world with our wants, and actions, and most of the time not for the better. My new years resolution this year was to reduce my family’s household waste, and as a result I have among other things started making my own bread and yoghurt. Just to have less plastic and cardboard garbage to throw away each week. Since I was a little kid I’ve always loved going to the flea markets to buy toys and other things I needed. It was so much like going on a treasure hunt. I have a dad that loves going to them, and took me and my brother along whenever he could . It’s nice to think that things loved by someone else before me are now to be loved by me, and if I decide I don’t need those things any more I can return them to a flea market to be loved again. (As long as they are in working condition that is).

Taking this love of reuse and care for the limited resources on our planet into my sewing seems like a sensible next step. And after finding the #1year1outfit challenge on Intagram, and going to the website of This is moonlight and reading up a bit on the challenge I have decided to join in.

Wool yarn from the Sjøllingstad Wool factory, near Mandal (Norway) Photo: By Bjoertvedt (CC BY-SA 3.0)

#1year1outfit

The challenge has its origin in Australia, which is about as far away from where I live as you can come. They are now into their fourth month of the challenge for 2016, but I still want to join. The fact that I join up this late could mean that I don’t finish within the end of 2016, but be as it may, I think this will be fun. Basically that idea is to use locally sourced and manufactured fibres to make one whole outfit in the course of one year. All fibres must be natural fibres. And at the Master level all the notions must be local as well. This is somewhat challenging, if you don’t live in China or similar places, as all zippers, buttons, hook and loop fasteners etc. mostly come from Asia. How I will solve this I don’t know yet.

The challenge text reads:

Master

Meet the Fibreshed requirements:

– the fibre must be farmed and processed wholly in southwest Western Australia (a generous 500km radius).  Note that Fibreshed does allow some remote manufacturing where it is not available locally.

– all fibres must be natural

– any dyeing must use local non synthetic materials

– all fabric and clothing made must be of quality construction so as to ensure the life of the clothing is long, and not need excessive ironing or washing.

 

Obviously my native region isn’t Western Australia, but Norway.

 

So, here’s the plan.

For the next five months I will focus on getting fibres for my new project. (I will probably sew regular clothing on the side though. I still have a quite large stash to sew through.) I already know that I can get Norwegian made wool fibres/yarn thanks to a wonderful book called “Ren Ull” (Pure Wool) written by Ingun Grimstad Klepp and Tone Skårdal Tobiasson in 2013 (photo below). It talks about Norwegian wool from fibre to manufacturing, both historically and contemporary. In the back section it has a source list as well as a guide list for finding micro mills spinning Norwegian wool yarn. Whether I’m able to find other fibres locally is more unsure, but I know that Norway has had Linen and Hemp production earlier. So these are potential fibres as well.

“Ren Ull” written by Ingun Grimstad Klepp, Tone Skårdal Tobiasson, and published by Aschehoug Publisher

Norway isn’t a very big country, with only a total of 323 802 km² and 5,1 million people all in all. Huge parts of our country is covered in either mountains or forests and and not suitable for farming. If it turns out I can’t find any locally made fibres other than wool, I’m playing with the idea of including my neighbouring regions of Sweden and Denmark as well. Historically we have much of the same culture, and have been united in so many ways up till now. And they might have some local production of Linen fibres left if it turns out that Norway haven’t. Time will tell.

I’m very excited to part in this endeavour, and I hope you will follow my progress as well. I will write about the process here on my blog, but will also use my Instagram account to document with pictures. If you want to find me there, here’s a link to my profile.

And now I have a lot of reading and sourcing to do…

By Bjoertvedt (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sjøllingstad Uldvarefabrik (Sjølingstad Woolen Textile Factory), a living textile museum near Mandal, Norway. This is a carding machine. Photo: By Bjoertvedt (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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Anne Lyth

I'm a Norwegian woman in my early thirties, -married and with two children, living in Oslo -the capital of Norway. I have a BA in Art and Design from Høyskolen i Oslo, and is at current working with production in my professional life. Sewing is my all time hobby and passion. 

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