So I have started my research into my #1year1outfit challenge. It appears that I was correct in assuming that the only fibres to be found locally in Norway is wool and linen. When it comes to wool I have found locally produced fibres of sheep (several different breeds), alpakka and mohair goat. So far I have only found fibre for spinning and yarn. No fabric as of yet. There used to be a online store for buying locally made wool fabric here only a couple of years ago, but as far as I know they closed down after a short period of time. I’m thinking that I will contact the former owner and ask her help in finding out where to turn next. If I’m lucky she will know one or two places I can look for ready made fabric.
Even if it turns out that I don’t find ready made wool fabric produced locally in Norway I have a back-up plan for this. And that is of course knitting. I’m an intermediat knitter and it should be no problem for me to knit my self a dress or jacket. But still, it seems like “the easy way out”, and I will first see what I can find. I have also ordered myself a drop spindle, and will try to spin my own yarn made from local short tailed sheep wool. I’ve been reading up on sheep and different breeds, and there are several older sheep breeds that I want to try out. Breeds that are accustomed to the harsh Norwegian winters and can even endure being left up in the mountains all alone all winter and survive (Not that they have to. But should they get lost they can actually survive against the cold, snow and predators). They are also less prone to sickness and pests, and can give birth to their lambs more easily than the regular white sheep that otherwise is the common breed here. They also come in a big variety of colours, and if you’re into grey, brown and black colours then dyeing the wool isn’t necessary.
In September I’m going to participate in a knitting festival taking place in the old town of Fredrikstad, a town not far from here. There I have signed up to a class in colouring with indigo dyes. I don’t know if they will use local dyes, probably not, but it will be a good introduction to the art of dyes and colouring.
For the other fibre, linen, it’s not so easy. I haven’t found anyone that produces linen fabrics in Norway, nor have I found anyone growing and producing linen fibres on a larger scale. What I do have found is a organization that provide information to people that wish to grow their own linen. And while I have no desire to do that for this project (it would take much more than a year, and I would need a place to grow it), I’m hoping that they can put me in contact with someone who sells linen fibres/yarn/fabric or knows who does.
I will also go to the Medieval festival they put on in the end of the month in the hope that I will find some fabric stalls there that can point me in the right direction. There have been several stalls for fabric and yarn there previous years, so I’m in high hopes. But if all else fails I will turn to Sweden and Vaxbo Lin, which I know produce local linen fibre from their surrounding area. But still, it feels a bit like cheating, so that will be a last resort. I’m not really planing to learn how to weave my own fabric, at least not yet, as I want my end product to be beautiful, something I don’t think I can manage in the time I’ve got if I’m to learn that as well. But when that’s said, I’m not against the idea of learning the craft of weaving. I might have to save up a bit of money first though, as those kind of classes are quite expensive. Maybe next year.
Even if I haven’t done anything much yet with this project, I’m having so much fun with it. I really love the idea of a locally made outfit, durable and pretty and above all sustainable. It will be a rather costly project, as all locally made products are affected by labour cost etc., but I don’t mind. With all that effort put into the garments by me, and others, how can they not turn out great.
Oh, and I also found this cool old film from the National library about carding and spinning from 1963 on Youtube you see in the beginning of this blogpost. Enough to make you nostalgic. Handtein, krok og rokk : 1963
Anyway, I would love to hear from you if you have any ideas or suggestions for me on this project. Please leave a comment. 🙂