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Mr. Sparky
02-28-2016, 22:47
I thought this article on wool and Vikings would be of interest to some:
http://www.hakaimagazine.com/article-long/no-wool-no-vikings

Feral Bill
02-28-2016, 23:40
I'm a fan of wool, sailing, and hiking, so yes, this was of great interest.

Thanks

George
02-29-2016, 00:08
the alternative would have been animal skins, with the same land area producing less usable product - linen was the main plant fiber but the conditions in scandinavia were not conducive

Leo L.
02-29-2016, 13:26
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Severin
He built an old style leather Viking boat, started from Ireland and aimed for America.
Remember that he stated in his book, that while they relied on then-modern (plastic) outfit during the first part of the Brendan Voyage (1976), they completely switched to old fashioned wool for the second part (1977), for way better insulation when wet, less stink, and better drying in sun.

TexasBob
02-29-2016, 23:28
Very interesting read. Thanks.

Feral Bill
03-01-2016, 00:32
Come to think of it, wool was standard for backpacking up into the 1979's, and worked very well in the harshest of climates. And that was before merino was available. If my mom was still knitting I'd ask her for a nice mid-layer sweater.

Leo L.
03-01-2016, 03:38
Using wool just needs lots of experience. There is no good in just taking any wool and try to make something out of it.
In the text the OP linked above you can read: Special kind of sheep, very special kind of harvesting it, and they didn't expand on how they fabricated the cloth.
At times there was a fashion here of using dog's (Husky or similar) wool for knitted pullover. People who use this swear on it.

Traffic Jam
03-01-2016, 11:06
Great article! Wool is so fascinating. As a spinner, weaver, and knitter, my mind is boggled by the enormous amounts required for the sails.

I've been working on several pounds of a Jacob/Cotswold fleece and it's not a quick process; several washes..drying...picking the mats apart. Next will be combing, forming a rolag, spinning, then knitting into a sweater.

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Leo L., I haven't found anything superior to the warmth of my dog hair (Norwegian Elkhound) mittens.

Traffic Jam
03-01-2016, 11:10
In the 2nd photo, the washed and matted wool is on the right. The wool on the left, which is ready for combing, took days to gently prepare (all by hand) without damaging the fibers.

Puddlefish
03-01-2016, 11:29
As a sailor it's amazing to me how the low tech wool sails were such high tech of their day.

zelph
03-02-2016, 09:37
North Ronaldsay sheep have lived mainly on seaweed, picking their way over slick rocks and browsing on the wet algae exposed at low tide. They’re so well-adapted that if you restrict them to a standard grassy diet, they’re likely to sicken and die.


Very interesting article, thank you.

Last year I learned something new about warm clothing made from Musk Ox.

MUSK OX
The musk ox lives in the frigid Arctic, and its fur is multiple times warmer than wool or even alpaca. It's a protected species in Alaska, and like bison, the American musk ox was once dangerously close to extinction. Fiber made from the musk ox's undercoat is known as quiveut, or quiviut, and is extremely light and fine. It's also very rare, since it's usually harvested by hand-combing the animals or collecting fibers from the ground after they've naturally been shed.

iio
03-03-2016, 16:13
Musk ox qiviut, wonderfully warm and far and away the lightest fiber for hats and such. Here is a source for products made with qiviut, http://www.qiviut.com/
Often out hiking here in western Alaska, we find shed clumps of qiviut in the bushes, and it works great for warming hands just having it stuffed in my pockets!

zelph
03-03-2016, 16:41
Musk ox qiviut, wonderfully warm and far and away the lightest fiber for hats and such. Here is a source for products made with qiviut, http://www.qiviut.com/
Often out hiking here in western Alaska, we find shed clumps of qiviut in the bushes, and it works great for warming hands just having it stuffed in my pockets!

Thanks for sharing that.....The mother of a friend of a friend lives up around Nome and spins yarn of the quiviut and made a pair of long underwear for her son that is on the forestry service up there. He told his mom that the underwear was too warm for the amount of activity he does during a normal work day.....whodda thunk it :-)

Alaska is on my to-visit bucket list as is Nova Scotia.

Mr. Sparky
03-05-2016, 16:43
I admit that I did not realize there were musk ox in Alaska!

bikebum1975
03-06-2016, 18:24
Interesting article. I'm a huge fan of wool. Being a year round bike rider come winter I'm in a wool jacket almost the entire season. Tried other stuff wool is hard to beat

Traffic Jam
03-07-2016, 14:42
Musk ox qiviut, wonderfully warm and far and away the lightest fiber for hats and such. Here is a source for products made with qiviut, http://www.qiviut.com/
Often out hiking here in western Alaska, we find shed clumps of qiviut in the bushes, and it works great for warming hands just having it stuffed in my pockets!

That's cool! Do you save the fiber? It's probably from the outer coat or skirt...the under coat is where the gold is. At over $100 for 1-2 ounces, I would never use it for clothing for outdoor, physical activities.

Traffic Jam
03-07-2016, 15:05
Speaking of cool fibers, has anyone tried clothing made from opossum down? Opossum fiber is smooth with a hollow shaft which makes it light, warm (50% warmer than merino), and hard wearing. It's pricey also but not as much as qiviut.

Feral Bill
03-07-2016, 15:42
Speaking of cool fibers, has anyone tried clothing made from opossum down? Opossum fiber is smooth with a hollow shaft which makes it light, warm (50% warmer than merino), and hard wearing. It's pricey also but not as much as qiviut.
Please tell me you are kidding.

Pedaling Fool
03-07-2016, 16:54
Hmm....Opossum fur:-?

I should probably make a report to these organizations.... http://opossumsocietyus.org/

http://www.opossum.org/

Traffic Jam
03-07-2016, 21:41
Hmm....Opossum fur:-?

I should probably make a report to these organizations.... http://opossumsocietyus.org/

http://www.opossum.org/

Forgive me! One does not want North American "opossum" down. Instead, they should use superior, New Zealand or Australian "possum" down. :)

Traveler
03-08-2016, 08:23
Were it not for the lowly Opossum, cultures around the world may not have discovered a new use for sheep and developed wool.

TexasBob
03-08-2016, 10:59
Forgive me! One does not want North American "opossum" down. Instead, they should use superior, New Zealand or Australian "possum" down. :)

possum down from down under?

Traffic Jam
03-08-2016, 11:04
Were it not for the lowly Opossum, cultures around the world may not have discovered a new use for sheep and developed wool.

That's an interesting statement. Are you referring to the short length of the possum fiber and having to blend it with other animal fiber to make it usable?

Traffic Jam
03-08-2016, 11:07
possum down from down under?

Lol! Not all possum are created equal.

wannahike
03-08-2016, 11:21
Right, the opossum from North American and the possum from Australia and New Zealand are two different animal groups.

zelph
03-08-2016, 12:15
"wannahike" can knit up a pair of socks with the silk gathered from cocoons....check it out:

http://whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php/117022-Rare-and-unique-cocoon?p=2045145&viewfull=1#post2045145


the cocoons from the polyphemus moth I collect, process and then spin and knit up the silk. I collect the ones on the ground without the moth. They are usually attached to oak trees.

wannahike
03-09-2016, 01:06
[QUOTE=zelph;2048921]"wannahike" can knit up a pair of socks with the silk gathered from cocoons....check it out:

HA, and I have been eyeing those goats they have up on the balds too

Traffic Jam
03-09-2016, 07:46
[QUOTE=zelph;2048921]"wannahike" can knit up a pair of socks with the silk gathered from cocoons....check it out:

HA, and I have been eyeing those goats they have up on the balds too

That is very cool. I've often thought about adding a drop spindle to my gear...do you carry one?
I run into so many spider webs on the BMT that I joke about spinning them up and knitting socks. :)

Traveler
03-09-2016, 08:35
That's an interesting statement. Are you referring to the short length of the possum fiber and having to blend it with other animal fiber to make it usable?

Umm.... no

Traffic Jam
03-09-2016, 09:56
Umm.... no

I guess I'm being short sighted. I hoped you would explain since this is one of my favorite subjects.

Traveler
03-09-2016, 12:58
I guess I'm being short sighted. I hoped you would explain since this is one of my favorite subjects.

Perhaps I can use an old joke as explanation here, with respect to your admired topic...

Bill: Did you hear they found a new use for sheep in Lapland?

Pete: Really? What is it?

Bill: Wool.

Another Kevin
03-09-2016, 13:53
the alternative would have been animal skins, with the same land area producing less usable product - linen was the main plant fiber but the conditions in scandinavia were not conducive

I would have thought that the main plant fiber would be either tow (which isn't a specific plant, but refers to any of several lower-quality subsitutes for flax) or else canvas (which is the same root word as cannabis - that is to say, hemp). Both are weeds that will grow right up to the snow line, although maybe not produce the highest-quality fiber. I would have thought that either would have been better for sails, but the issue might have been the availability of labor to spin it - flax or hemp are even more work than wool. Ripple, rett, brake, scutch, hetchel, and dress on a distaff before you can even begin to spin.

Traveler
03-09-2016, 16:27
I would have thought that the main plant fiber would be either tow (which isn't a specific plant, but refers to any of several lower-quality subsitutes for flax) or else canvas (which is the same root word as cannabis - that is to say, hemp). Both are weeds that will grow right up to the snow line, although maybe not produce the highest-quality fiber. I would have thought that either would have been better for sails, but the issue might have been the availability of labor to spin it - flax or hemp are even more work than wool. Ripple, rett, brake, scutch, hetchel, and dress on a distaff before you can even begin to spin.

Didn't Egyptians use papyrus for sails? Seems to me I read about them using plants for that kind of thing.

wannahike
03-10-2016, 11:51
[QUOTE=Another Kevin;2049234]I would have thought that the main plant fiber would be either tow (which isn't a specific plant, but refers to any of several lower-quality subsitutes for flax) or else canvas (which is the same root word as cannabis - that is to say, hemp). Both are weeds that will grow right up to the snow line, although maybe not produce the highest-quality fiber.

Tow is the shorter ends of the plant fiber that is left in the hetchel (hackle). Not as strong as the long line fiber and hard to use on a distaff. I have read about linen sails and agree it is a lot more work prepping flax than prepping wool.

wannahike
03-10-2016, 11:52
I've carried a really small takhli spindle and some cotton to spin. It added about an ounce and brought much enjoyment and lots of questions.

Leo L.
03-10-2016, 16:00
In our country in the old times when cotton had not been present, linen was first choice for cloth. It was terrible expensive then, due to being a hell of a work to get the fibers out from the flax.
A full set of linen bedding usually was what a bride brought into a marriage, and it was supposed to hold for the better part of the life (both, the marriage and the linen), and we have pieces of linen here maybe a hundred years old.
Nettle was the other way to get some cloth - way cheaper, way less durability, pretty uncomfortable on the skin (according to what old people told me - no personal experience with real nettle cloth).

All the rest of what people wore had to be wool. In our cold, windy and rainy climate felting was common practice. For weather protection we had kind of a poncho made of felt. Held off rain quite fine, but soaked full and grew heavy and finally leaked through and after hours out you was a heavy soaked stinking miserable mass. And this stuff seemd to never dry out.

Traffic Jam
03-11-2016, 14:53
I've carried a really small takhli spindle and some cotton to spin. It added about an ounce and brought much enjoyment and lots of questions.

I have mastered knitting while walking. Spinning while walking sounds intriguing.

Traffic Jam
08-03-2016, 20:41
I intended to buy and spin some possum fiber but instead splurged and bought 1 oz of Qiviut (I'm blaming you guys). It arrived today and I'm in total awe. It's incredibly soft, almost satin-like, and very light. It smells like tobacco and earth. Definitely the most luxurious fiber I've ever encountered.

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