Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hemp, from hippie to hip

The issues surrounding of the plight of the hemp industry really has me upset.   Beyond the fact that I my money ends up overseas so that I might eventually obtain hemp to make  purses and bags for my Etsy shop,  there is the incredible frustration with our federal laws.  As we know it is illegal to grow industrial hemp in the United States.  Industrial hemp is NOT marijuana.  Hemp is one of the most earth-friendly crops on the planet!  Legislators simply do not want to hear it.  When evidence is presented...another excuse for the ban is produced.  The latest one is that growers will sneak marijuana in their hemp fields and cause a drain on law enforcement. Since the two plants cannot grow together due to totally differing agricultural requirements and the marijuana would contaminate the hemp crop and ruin the production of fiber I fail to see the problem.

Is there a huge cotton lobby in this country?  Or in California, for that mattter?  California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) last Friday vetoed a bill that would have allowed California farmers to grow industrial hemp. Sponsored by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), Assembly Bill 1147 would have defined industrial hemp as an agricultural crop, limited its THC content to less than 0.3%, and mandated annual testing of fields to ensure content limits are met.
Hemp, from hippie to hip - Los Angeles Times
(courtesy Independent Media Center)
In his veto message, Schwarzenegger said the measure conflicted with federal law and would have made it more difficult for law enforcement to monitor illicit marijuana crops. While he acknowledged recent successful court battles waged by the hemp industry, Schwarzenegger said "no court has specifically ruled that a live cannabis plant is a non-controlled substance or that farming these plants is not a regulated activity.

Schwarzenegger fell for the standard US police excuse that allowing hemp production would make it more difficult to stop outdoor marijuana grows: "Finally," he said, "California law enforcement has expressed concerns that implementation of this measure could place a drain on their resources and cause significant problems with drug enforcement activities. This is troubling given the needs in this state for the eradication and prevention of drug production."

Oddly enough, police in countries where hemp farming is a legal and productive part of the economy don't seem to have any problem distinguishing between industrial hemp and marijuana.  For the abstract of a paper by by David P. West, Ph.D. please follow this link. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Soy Fibre 101....

I have a t shirt that is so soft and wrinkle free I was amazed when I looked inside and found it was made of soy!  I googled it and look what I learned: 
Soy protein fibre (SPF) is the only plant protein fibre. It is made from the soybean cake. The residue after extraction of the protein is used as stockfeed. SPF has the physical properties of synthetic fibres. Fabrics from SPF have the following features:
  • Lustre. Soybean protein fibre has the lustre of silk with excellent drape.
  • Comfort. The fibre is soft, smooth and lightweight.
  • Absorbency. Soybean protein fibre has the same moisture absorption as cotton and better moisture transmission than cotton.
  • Easy dying. The original colour of soybean protein fibre takes dye well and is colour fast.
  • Strength. Soybean protein fibre has higher breaking strength than wool, cotton, and silk, but less than polyester fibre.
  • Shrinkage. Soybean protein fibre will not shrink when washed in boiling water.
  • Easy care. The fabric is anti-crease, easy wash and fast drying.
  • Antibacterial.; Soybean protein fibre has antibacterial properties that resist colibacillus, staphylococcus aureus and candica albicans. Fabrics made from soy protein fibre and linen or other fibres are ideal for functional underwear and summer wear.
Because soybean protein fibre is sine, soft and smooth as well as absorbent it is ideal for products that are worn close to the skin such as underwear, sleepwear, sportswear and children's and infant's clothes, bed sheets, towels and blankets.
When soybean protein fibre blends well with other fibres giving more features. When mixed with cashmere it provides a smooth quality as well as increasing the easy care properties. As a wool / soy protein fibre it reduces shrinkage and increases ease of care. As a silk blend it improves the properties of silk and prevents the fabric from sticking to the skin when wet.

Now tell me, would you want anything else next to your baby soft skin? Not me...I am off to find more wonderful things to wear from this natural miracle fabric.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Bamboo 101

I looooove this fibre....yummy and soft, no wrinkle, wash hang to dry....t shirts, sheets and towels.  Sweet!

Bamboo fabric (truly viscose-from-bamboo) is made from the pulp of bamboo grass. It's softer than cotton, has a gorgeous drape & a silky feel that looks luxurious but feels like pajamas! I do enjoy an occassional indulgence in the ultra-soft bamboo fabrics. Oh, how the soft fabric cradles my body and how it makes me feel...

Because it grows so fast - 1-3 feet every 24 hours - bamboo is one of the most renewable resources on the planet. It also produces 40% more oxygen than a hardwood forest on the same amount of land.

Bamboo is also "naturally organic." Bamboo grows like a weed (people who plant bamboo in their yard can attest to this fact after their yard becomes a bamboo forest!) and it doesn't need any pesticides, fertilizers or irrigation to enhance it's prolific growth. This is a huge step up from cotton, which requires the intensive use of pesticides & irrigation (even organic cotton - yes, organic farms still have to use pesticides, they just have to be approved. Not to mention the irrigation

Used in everything from flooring and construction to bed sheets, bamboo is quickly becoming a popular choice for environmentally conscious people around the globe.

But above all else, people continue to be amazed at how comfortable bamboo clothing is. Like a blend of silk and cashmere, viscose from bamboo feels great on the skin. Bamboo also has a benefit that silk and cashmere will never have... it's cruelty-free! That makes bamboo clothing perfect for vegetarians!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

How to Go Green: Spring Cleaning - How to Go Green

I have a copy of Karen Logan's book "Clean House, Clean Planet"....on the back cover she says:  "How many times have you said you're killing yourself trying to keep your house clean?  You might have been joking, but you're closer to the truth than you think if you are using expensive commercial cleansers."  Karen Logan reveals the secret of using simple, ordinary ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, soap, lemon juice and salt to make safe, inexpensive cleaners.

Well, this got me curious and voila..I found a few concoctions that might be fun to try.

Home cleaning supplies:

The strength of any deep clean comes from the supplies you use to wipe, polish, scrub, and soak—but that doesn't mean you have to stock up on sprays and powders that are made of potentially toxic antibacterial chemicals. Find out how using kitchen staples—like vinegar, baking soda, and good old hot water—can get your house as sparkling clean as anything on the shelves (at a fraction of the price), and how those once-a-year jobs (like vacuuming the refrigerator coils) can make your home more efficient than you realized.

All-Purpose Cleaner
1/2 tsp washing soda
A dab of liquid soap
2 cups hot tap water
Combine the ingredients in a spray bottle and shake until the washing soda has dissolved. Apply and wipe off with a sponge or rag.
Tip: If you're out of washing soda, use 2 1/2 tsp of borax, instead.

Window Cleaner
1/4-1/2 tsp liquid detergent
3 tbs vinegar
2 cups water
spray bottle
Put all the ingredients into a spray bottle, shake it up a bit, and use as you would a commercial brand. The soap in this recipe is important. It cuts the wax residue from the commercial brands you might have used in the past.

Creamy Soft Scrubber
Simply pour about 1/2 cup of baking soda into a bowl, and add enough liquid detergent to make a texture like frosting. Scoop the mixture onto a sponge, and wash the surface. This is the perfect recipe for cleaning the bathtub because it rinses easily and doesn't leave grit.
Tip: Add 1 tsp of vegetable glycerin to the mixture and store in a sealed glass jar, to keep the product moist. Otherwise, just make as much as you need at a time.

Oven Cleaner
1 cup or more baking soda
A squirt or two of liquid detergent
Sprinkle water generously over the bottom of the oven, then cover the grime with enough baking soda that the surface it totally white. Sprinkle some more water over the top, then let the mixture set overnight.

You can easily wipe up the grease the next morning because the grime will have loosened. When you have cleaned up the worst of the mess, dab a bit of liquid detergent or soap on a sponge, and wash the remaining residue from the oven. If this recipe doesn't work for you it is probably because you didn't use enough baking soda and/or water.

Mold Killer
2 teaspoons tea tree oil
2 cups water
Combine in a spray bottle, shake to blend, and spray on problem areas. Do not rinse.

Furniture Polish
1/2 tsp oil, such as olive (or jojoba, a liquid wax)
1/4 cup vinegar or fresh lemon juice
Mix the ingredients in a glass jar. Dab a soft rag into the solution and wipe onto wood surfaces. Cover the glass jar and store indefinitely.

Here is a link to a treasure trove of green ideas for you and your home.

Spring Cleaning - How to Go Green

Cotton 101.....

The U.S grows over 12 million acres of cotton each year, mostly saturated with pesticides and insecticides. The common estimate for this toxic shower is 8.5 million tons annually. If you do the math, this is a heck of a lot of chemicals per acre. Many of these pesticides are EPA toxicity class 1, meaning that these are considered the most dangerous and toxic. Remember, cotton is not considered a food crop and can be treated with chemicals not allowed on, say, a field of corn or wheat. 

Did you know that it takes 2,000 liters of water to produce the cotton for one t-shirt?
Did you know that growing cotton causes such intense pollution that workers are dying?
Look at this video. I went to an organic cotton bedding outlet in West Marin last week.
Found this on their site....

Next post, I want to share what I am finding out about soy fiber.

Let's Talk About Hemp...

I have introduced a new line of bags in my Etsy shop made from eco friendly and sustainable fabrics such as hemp, linen, organic cotton and bamboo.

I wish to buy hemp.  It is not grown or manufactured in the U.S. .....soooo, I need to send my  dollars out of the country since our government in it's effort to keep us drug free simply flat out banned the growing and harvesting of cannabis.  In researching the fabrics I am using I am learning a lot about growing, harvesting, manufacturing and arcane laws.

Hemp bags with coconut husk buttons lined with bamboo-cotton

Surely no member of the vegetable kingdom has ever been more misunderstood than hemp. For too many years, emotion-not reason-has guided our policy toward this crop. And nowhere have emotions run hotter than in the debate over the distinction between industrial hemp and marijuana.  Please read this article which is intended to inform that debate by offering scientific evidence so we can distinguish between myth and reality.

Finally....hemp is one of the easiest and sustainable  crops to grow.  Anything that can be made from cotton can be made from hemp.  Cotton is one of the most environmentally destructive agricultural crops. In pesticide use in the US alone, it is staggering – 125 million kilograms annually. Worldwide, cotton production used 50 percent of the world's pesticides/herbicides. 

Pesticides are possibly the greatest toxic threat to contaminating our soil, air, water and natural communities because they are often permanent and they bio-accumulate, ie their toxicity increases as they are consumed up the food chain. Many pesticides are known carcinogens, and can also cause immuno-deficiency disorders. Added to this, pesticides have a petroleum base and their excessive use perpetuates our dependency on oil. (Courtesy: Binhai Times).  You may want to take a look at Hemp 101 .

I am more and more tuned into what we, as a family, are doing to work with our environment as well as getting chemically engineered products out of our lives.  With my antennae up I am taking in more and more information and adding that to what I already know....which I find was surprisingly little.   So I am taking the liberty of chunking up my blog with this information.  Sorry, but this little corner of the world is mine.

In the next few weeks, I will pass along information about household cleaners, organic gardening and re-cycling.

Please, if you have something to add...I would welcome it.  The comment section is open to everyone.  Let's share what we know.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

About Pleats..

I received message on flickr mail re this bag:  

"MyLittleCeePod says:  You've made those fabulous pleats again! Love em. Did you get the idea from Keyka Lou's blog? Are they hard to make? :"

My response:
No, I didn't see pleats on Keyka Lou's blog...will go right over and check it out.  These are tooooo easy.  Fold & crease fabric, top stitch 1/8 inch from fold, move over a bit and do it again. More like pintucks, I guess.  Also, look at the new linen bag in the eco set...I made pleats at random and really liked the effect.   I put the the piece right side down to square up and saw what the back side of a pleated piece of fabric looked like.  Totally different effect.  Since this is a linen-cotton blend both sides are the same, and voila....I have a new look.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bags awaiting new homes....

Bags awaiting new homes....
Bags awaiting new homes....,
originally uploaded by SquareBag.
Garth made this great hook bars for me to keep the bags for my shop out of harms way. The door to my sewing room is glass pane, so when you come down the hall there is a burst of colorful fun!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Fringed Scarf Tutorial

Want to make this scarf in about ten minutes? 
From an old t-shirt.... then click here for the tutorial.  Already I have made three today! 

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Flip and Sew Hexagon Tutorial

Wooooooooo.  Get a load of this and tell all your hexie fans.  A flip and sew hexagon quilt...when you finish piecing-you have a quilt.  Go over to JayBirdQuilts and learn this technique. I will put a link to this in my tutorial list as well.  You know, when you remember this in two months and can't find it.....