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Entries in weave (2)

Monday
Aug252014

how it's made: handwoven recycled sari rugs

The making of the handwoven recycled sari rugs and runners begins at the core of the rug—the vibrant silk fibers which come from the sari manufacturing industry. This thriving business in India reflects the richness of its culture—and its resourcefulness as it leaves little to waste.

In Bangalore, located in south India, remnants of sarees are sold to companies who segregate it as per the potential use of the materials and a buyer’s needs—and while sarees are made in various parts of India, these lots of remnants are usually a mix of all colors which allows for specific shade requirements to be met in the segregation process.

A control sample helps to guide the color separator and the remainder of the fibers are used to make the yarns of mixed colors—so just about everything is used in the end.

Once the fibers are well organized, it’s then handspun into yarn—the results of this process are yarns with varying thicknesses at random places. In order to have a level of consistency, all the highly uneven count is removed as well as any drastic shade changes.

When enough fibers are gathered and yarn spun, the weaving process begins on a regular vertical loom which is typically used to weave dhurrie or hand-knotted rugs.

During the weaving process, rows of yarns are pressed together using a wooden comb which makes the weaving tighter and more durable.

To secure the weaving and complete the look, the same yarns are used to hand-stitch all of the edges and a final washing completes the process.

Monday
Sep192011

material world: hemp

preparing hemp yarns for weavingphoto by: dunks-a-lot Hemp is—again—gaining popularity for its inherent characteristics: strength, durability, fast growth, and its friendliness to the environment since it needs fewer substances to control pests and/or weeds. A bonus is that its fibers are stronger when the plant is younger—which means it spends less time in farm fields taking up valuable real estate.

photo by: SweetOnVeg Hemp has been used for thousands of years in the making of household goods—it’s one of the earliest domesticated plants—but unfortunately it fell out of favor in the US after the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed.

The soft, brawny fibers of hemp for industrial production come from the Cannabis plant—its genus significantly lower in THC (tetrahydro-cannabinol) than narcotic strains and it grows quite differently as well, especially in height.

Its versatility and benefits, specifically as a fiber used in paper and cloth production, are ironically what may have caused its growth to be restricted to this day. It’s suspected that some paper and cotton industrialists lobbied in favor of the Act—seemingly by blurring the difference between it and its narcotic cousin—thereby protecting their own interests.

Compared to cotton, hemp cloth can be stronger and last longer—durable rugs, ropes and cording can be made from these fibers as well. Due to its fiber structure, colorfastness can be an issue if dyed—especially for darker tones—and some shedding should be expected, similar to jute and wool.

Beyond paper and textiles, today hemp is being used in biodegradable plastics, home insulation, fuel and health foods.

Its seeds are rich in heart-healthy, essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. They’re also pressed to make ‘milk’ which is both dairy and gluten-free.

As a crop, hemp seems to have tremendous untapped potential since it can be grown for food, fuel, daily necessities, tools and building materials. But also as animal bedding, horticultural mulch, and to clear impurities out of wastewater, sewage—even contaminants at the Chernobyl nuclear reactors.

photo by: Jordanhill School D&T Dept