Sustainable Cloth – Woven Wearables

Weaving with naturally colored fibers can yield fabrics with subtle and harmonious hues, as shown in these three entries from the Sustainable Cloth Challenge.


Heidi Lantz-Trissel: Naturals in Woven

My love of creating with yarn started just after high school and into college as I learned to crochet and knit.  My love for texture and soft fibers started much earlier as a kid spending hours petting and brushing my long haired cat (saving the large balls of hair thinking there had to be a use for it!) and twisting soft blades of grass together.  Since then I have apprenticed with a fiber artist and farmer who taught me about fiber, sheep, angora goats & rabbits, llamas, carding, spinning and weaving, owned a local yarn store and worked for Claudia Hand Painted Yarns.  Now I’m the co-owner with my husband of Simple Hill Farm where we are raising a flock of merino sheep whose wool is processed it into yarn at Green Mountain Spinnery.  

For this project, I dusted off my loom, not just because I needed to clean, but to actually warp it for the first time in years!  I wanted to feel woven cloth created with yarn from our sheep.   I warped the loom with the natural colored undyed Tree Bark Brown yarn at 8 ends per inch with 76 ends.  The Tree Bark Brown yarn is a combo of our dark brown merino wool with some cream merino wool added in from the 2020 shearing. I wove a crepe weave pattern with our natural colored undyed Mushroom Grey yarn for the weft.  This Mushroom Grey is a mix of our silver, moorit and some cream merino wool from the 2020 shearing. The woolen spun nature of our yarn pulls the weave of the strands together into a solid warm cloth.  I did warp a second scarf with 12 ends per inch which allowed for a looser weft weave resulting in a slightly less dense cloth, a valuable learning for future projects.  I also learned that despite the fact that I can break our yarn with my hands, it does hold up under the tension of a warp, doesn’t stretch out and weaves beautifully!  




Cindy Connor: Handspun Handwoven Cotton Shirt

I started spinning cotton I grew in 2011, adding flax to my garden in 2016. I learned to weave when I made my first handspun garment in 2015. I am working on creating a whole homegrown, handspun, handwoven wardrobe for myself and am excited about teaching others to do the same.  My book Homegrown Flax and Cotton: DIY Guide to Growing, Processing, Spinning & Weaving Fiber to Cloth is being published by Stackpole Books and will be released July 1, 2023.

This shirt was spun and woven from cotton bred by me and grown by my daughter Betsy Trice in Hadensville, VA.  This white cotton was bred from a cross of green and brown cotton that eventually evolved into white cotton with naked seeds. If green doesn’t have all the genes it needs to express as green, it expresses as white. The naked seeds, which are usually recessive, came from the brown in the cross. I intended to make this in my signature style with a seam down the front, an opening at the neck, and a shoulder lining that served as facing for the neck and opening. I was short of fabric, probably resulting from me weaving in twill for the shirt. The intended lining was plain weave. I changed the design and used the plain weave as the center panel of the shirt and have no shoulder lining.




Teresa Rosello:  Chesapeake Coat

I’m a self taught weaver, dyer, knitter, spinner….  if it involves fiber, I want to know more about it.  Self taught means I don’t know nearly as much as I think I do, but I love trying new things and learning from the experience.  I love the idea of making my clothing from complete scratch!  As a weaver, I was excited to try this challenge and weave my own cloth and make something from it.  The coat fabric is woven from wool and llama yarn from several local farms, milled locally and lined with cotton fabric from Cestari Farms in Virginia.  The pattern came from Winter Wear Designs in State College, Pennsylvania.  

I found that locally sourced yarn mostly came thicker than I had hoped.  I used undyed DK and fingering weight yarn.  Since the yarn was thicker, I decided a coat would be the best option for my Fibershed yarn.  I used several different natural colors in my original fabric, only to discover I’d miscalculated the yardage needed.  Thus, there are two different fabrics included in my coat.  I used mostly local cotton fabric as the lining, because it needed a lining that wasn’t wool. Cotton fabric is hard to come by in our fibershed, and though the cotton was grown in the Chesapeake Fibershed, it was milled outside of it.  I love how my final product looks, but I learned that weaving wool is different than cotton.  My fabric is much more fragile than I expected!  I now know I need to finish my fabric differently, that locally grown and milled wool is hard to find, and locally milled cotton impossible at the moment.  




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *