Recommend Self-sufficient Fibres, Textiles and Cordage

JP 1983

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I've recently been exploring the world of ancient textiles and cordage. There is a lot of wonderful information online for both material and processes, from pine needles to nettle fibre or good ol' flax linen.

Here's what I've been watching most recently and thoughts they have spawned as a result.

Sally Pointer - Prehistoric Nettle Textiles

Sally's videos cover a wide range of ancient textiles and the methods of preparation, manufacture and ancient weaving techniques. It is extremely low tech and anyone can learn the simple, millennia-old methods to make these versatile ancient textiles. I will also note that preparing thread in this fashion is also the base point of rope-making (cordage). Possible native Australian fibres which might prove suitable (other than nettle, which is abundant here in places) include the leaves of flax lily (Dianella), lomandra and gymea lily. They can all probably be processed in a similar way to separate the "green stuff" from the luscious fibres.

Wild She Goes - Pine Needle Basketry

Basketry is a useful skill as there are always needs for storage and carrying. Sometimes I think we rely too much on modern manufactured plastic materials when we would be far better served reviving old-school techniques of basketry using local materials. In the Australian context, casurina needles would be an excellent substitute for pine needles featured in this video.

Crowing Hen - Flax to Linen

A fairly lengthy treatment of each step of the process of turning flax plants into linen textiles. Includes sowing, reaping, drying, retting (rotting), fibre extraction, purifying, spindling and loom weaving the end-result linen textiles. This video is of interest to me as applicable methods to process Australian fibres such as those mentioned above (Dianella, lomandra and gymea).

Do you have any videos, books or other useful information on the manufacture of fibres, textiles and cordage? Please share it below.
 

Mandy Onderwater

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My mother (in the poor days) would actually rub her fingers over magazine pages until they slowly started to break apart. Then she'd rub the fibers between her fingers to produce a thin thread/cord. She said it worked surprisingly well if you were in a pinch!

I know of this video by StoneAgeMan

And this one by Coalcracker Bushcraft

And this one also by Coalcracker Bushcraft
 

JP 1983

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Oh, for those who are wondering, hemp textiles are produced in a similar way to nettle in the first video above. I've seen quite a few alternative clothing stores stocking hemp textiles - it's such a wonderful fabric, albeit pricey due to the extensive processing involved.
 

Clara

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I grew flax this year. I bought some flax seed from the supermarket then tossed it into my lawn after the floods this year. I now have a flax meadow in my yard. Very pretty plants with grgeous blue flowers. Looks like I will be pocketing a tonne of seed off them, they started flowering around 4 weeks ago still going strong. But I grew it for the fibre primarily. I don't spin but I do paper making and I wanted to find an alternative to commercially made watercolour paper. I am also testing a giant grass fibre for the same purpose.

Flax only takes around 3 months to maturity making it one of the easiest to grow and fastest fibres available. Why the F we are using cotton which requires enormous resources to produce I have no idea. Flax is far easier to produce, why we have no flax fibre farms in Oz is an even bigger mystery, unlike wool linen can be worn in summer. Makes more sense for our climate. Belgium has made a craptonne economically by specialising in flax production.
 

KathrynJN

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I grew flax this year. I bought some flax seed from the supermarket then tossed it into my lawn after the floods this year. I now have a flax meadow in my yard. Very pretty plants with grgeous blue flowers. Looks like I will be pocketing a tonne of seed off them, they started flowering around 4 weeks ago still going strong. But I grew it for the fibre primarily. I don't spin but I do paper making and I wanted to find an alternative to commercially made watercolour paper. I am also testing a giant grass fibre for the same purpose.

Flax only takes around 3 months to maturity making it one of the easiest to grow and fastest fibres available. Why the F we are using cotton which requires enormous resources to produce I have no idea. Flax is far easier to produce, why we have no flax fibre farms in Oz is an even bigger mystery, unlike wool linen can be worn in summer. Makes more sense for our climate. Belgium has made a craptonne economically by specialising in flax production.

Sorry Clara but I beg to differ a bit. I do spin and I can spin cotton straight from the seed once the fluff had dried. Where as flax needs quite a bit of prepping before you can spin it.
 
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