Tag Archives: julz spinning & weaving blog

what is jute? – information sheet no 1

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Information sheets are an idea I have had for a while – these will, hopefully, be a resource for all readers. This is the first of a library of i/sheets that you can consult at any time. I do not intend to write them all – if you have an idea for one and would like to submit it, please use the form on the ‘contact me’ page.  There is no planned timetable for posting these, they will appear – as and when – a good subject comes along!

WHAT IS JUTE?

hessian sacking

hessian sacking

spun jute for weaving and twine

spun jute for weaving

I have been buying in quite a lot of jute, in one form or another.  There is hessian, cones of spun jute for weaving, and garden ties, shopping bags and laundry/storage baskets – all currently listed across the 4 sites you will find underneath my photo on the right hand side. (Clicking on these 3 photos will also take you to my sites.) I just accepted the notion that it is a cheap, reliably strong material from which certain products were made. I didn’t even pause to wonder where it grew and what it was – maybe you were always better informed than I was – but I doubt if everyone knows much about jute and where it comes from.

jute laundry basket

jute laundry basket

It is always described as Eco Friendly by my suppliers, and I can trust their descriptions, because they provide proof of where the items come from and even pictures of the people that make them. But – come to think of it – I can’t remember them doing a piece on jute! So the first place I went to for information was Wikipedia – easy as that!  They even had pictures! “Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus. ……..”Jute” is the name of the plant or fiber that is used to make burlap, Hessian or gunny cloth……..Jute is one of the most affordable natural fibers and is second only to cotton in amount produced and variety of uses of vegetable fibers. Jute fibers are composed primarily of the plant materials cellulose and lignin……. The fibers are off-white to brown, and 1–4 metres (3–13 feet) long. Jute is also called “the golden fiber” for its color and high cash value. Another search for pictures led me to this blog, written in 2012, so rather than paraphrase it, I’m just copying most of it from:

Jute Harvesting and Basic Processing

jute rope

jute rope

Jute is a natural fibre that is mainly grown across West Bengal in India and in Bangladesh with some also grown in, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, Thailand and China. The jute is taken from the stem and the skin of the stem, which is called the ribbon.  It is a crop that has been used for centuries and there is evidence that the Chinese were using jute fibres as the basis for early paper. The industry really began to develop with the building of large scale mills during the time of the British East India Company.  The jute was initially exported to the UK and to Dundee in particular, where there was a well-established flax industry. Initially the fibre could only be processed by hand but it was discovered that whale oil allowed to be processed by machine.  The jute industry went through a boom time and the factory owners in Dundee became known as the Jute Barons.  This is yet another example of the value being added to the product outside of the “colonies” for the greater good of the colonial powers.  Following the decline and fall of the British Empire and the discovery and mass production of artificial fibres the mills began to close.  The industry has been in decline for some years, and although the demand for natural fibres has improved things, the increase has not been as great as hoped. Jute is known as the “golden fibre” in Bangladesh and is an important source of income for the farmers. I took these photographs during my recent trip to northern Bangladesh, around Saidpur. It was the end of the growing season and the harvest was just beginning. The jute is harvested and then allowed to soak for a few days in water before the fibres can be stripped off and left to dry. It is then transported, often by bicycle rickshaw, to collection points before being taken to the mills where it is processed and turned into the familiar fibres found in sacks, carpet backing and bags. Jute can also be processed into finer, more delicate yarns which occasionally are turned into clothes. Jute awaiting harvest Jute being harvested The jute is then bundled and left to soak in water.  Here it’s soaking next to a partially flooded Hindu graveyard After the jute has soaked for a few days, the fibres can then be stripped from the stems The fibres are then dried, often on the side of the road before being taken to the collection points and then the mills And going back to Wikipedia

  • Jute fiber is 100% bio-degradable and recyclable and thus environmentally friendly.

    coffee sacks made of jute

    coffee sacks made of jute

  • Jute has low pesticide and fertilizer needs.
  • It is a natural fiber with golden and silky shine and hence called The Golden Fiber.
  • It is the cheapest vegetable fiber procured from the bast or skin of the plant’s stem.
  • It is the second most important vegetable fiber after cotton, in terms of usage, global consumption, production, and availability.

Jute has loads of uses – and the leaves are eaten in many of the producing countries These are the 2011 production figures for the various countries that produce jute:

Top ten jute producers — 2011[8]
Country Production (Tonnes)
 India 1,924,326
 Bangladesh 1,523,315
 People’s Republic of China 43,500
 Uzbekistan 18,930
   Nepal 14,418
 Vietnam 8,304
 Burma 2,508
 Zimbabwe 2,298
 Thailand 2,184
 Egypt 2,100
 World 3,583,235

How to shorten a metal zipper without wrecking your good sewing scissors

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Some time ago, I came across a post about shortening zips – an idea I hadn’t come across before. I did ask the lady if she would like to contribute a piece for my SHOW & TELL feature, but I never heard back from her.

I went looking for it, for the Re-Blog Wednesday challenge, and I couldn’t find it, but I did find this one, written in 2012, it is a step by step tutorial on how to do it – hopefully some of you will find it useful!

whirlwind

Shortening a coil zipper is easy – just cut through the teeth and whipstitch a stop, right? But what about if you’ve got the problem of a pattern that needs an 8″ zipper, and all they carry in the silver zipper department is this zipper, which is clearly 9″ long  –

IMG_8180

I’ll admit that up until this week, I would have just cut off the end of the zipper and sewn over the teeth. Of course, I woulda wound up potentially damaging my scissors, AND I’ve definitely bent a few needles using this method. Last weekend, I realized that there is a better way to shorten a metal zipper that keeps your scissors sharp and doesn’t risk the potential eye injury related to flying shards of broken needles. So here I share with you my revelation!

Shortening a metal zipper

Supplies

  • metal zipper that needs to be shortened
  • a needle-nose…

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Aside

snippet heard on the Jeremy Vine Show (BBC Radio 2) whilst I was driving this afternoon ….not verbatim

“Well I’m a delivery driver, and we’ve got wi-fi in our

vehicles, so when I’m on a break I’m sitting in the van

designing websites for WordPress customers”

He went on to ask for tax advice and what he needed to declare as a small business.

7 Feb:  I’ve now had time to listen to the whole 2 hours of Thursday’s show on iplayer:

On Jeremy Vine today  subjects covered are FGM, Tesco’s supply chain, an interview with a German journalist who had access to ISIS, and nine to fivers, which is where the snippet above came from.  If you only want to listen to that its 1hr 36mins into the programme.

`

WordPress Travelling Salesman …..?

Mr Bewick’s Birdwatch

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I am reblogging this post from the website of the Cambridge Library Collection – its a beautiful old book and I only found it because I was looking for a post to reblog as a challenge from the members of blogging101 January 2015 – this is the first time I’ve reblogged anything!

Cambridge Library Collection Blog

9781108065405fc3dIt was the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend, and at 8.15 a.m. on Saturday I was there to do my duty at the French windows, with coffee and pain au chocolat (for the birds) and newly topped up seeds, fatballs, peanuts and nyjer seeds (for me). For a change, the weather was cloudlessly sunny, and so I hoped for rather better things than last year, when in the dank and wet almost nothing put in an appearance.

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SHOW & TELL: A Weaver’s Tale

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 – with kind permission of Judith StClaire

Judith lives in Humbolt Bay, USA and these are direct copies from her blog: The Artful Weaver:  https://judithstclaire.wordpress.com
I met Judith on the blogging course we have both been ‘attending’ for most of January – well met, no we have never met, only corresponded thro’ the online portal set up for class members.  We were encouraged to check out each others blogs, I found hers fascinating.  Not only is she a weaver, but she also writes great short stories.
This is the story of a woven scarf that went wrong, and got put away in a drawer, until someone suggested that she find another use for it –
now read on!

 

Handwoven Scarf from Colorful Needlepoint Yarn

Several years ago when they were in middle school or beginning high school, I gave Mother’s needlepoint yarn, canvas and other crafting stuff to my granddaughter Kimberly and her friend (my borrowed granddaughter) Shannon.   With the yarn, I gave them encouragement to Make Something Creative.   And they did.  Over the next several years, they made lots of things.

On Loom_0006But when the girls graduated, got jobs, moved into their own apartment and began to look toward higher education – you guessed it – the leftover yarn and all the other leftover “stuff” came back to me.

I was on the verge of pitching out the large bag of vibrant color, but then I asked my sister’s advice.  Practical as ever, Ruthie, the master weaver, said, “Never throw yarn away!  Weave a scarf.”  On Loom_0004

As it happens, I had some hanks of nice soft gray yarn I wasn’t too sure what to do with, and when I put them with the color, I began to picture a completed project.

Needlepoint yarn usually is cut into handy lengths for those who use it.  Even though the yarn I used for red stripes was the longest in of all the yarns in the bag, the longest pieces proved to be too short to make a warp of the required length.  So, I had to make extensions. (For you non-weavers, the extensions were in the “loom waste” section of the warp.)  Making extensions wasn’t difficult to do, and the doing of it added to my meager library of weaving experience.

Needle Pt on Deck1

Without enough of any one color, I had to combine all the shades of my chosen color in order to make the scarf.  Short supply of short scraps forced me to be somewhat avant guard and make an asymmetrical design – sort of like, we’ll pile all the stripes on this end and make the other end plain.  The thought in the back of my mind was, “If worst comes to worst and this is a total flop, the danged thing could find its way into the doggie bed.”

Needle Pt on bench2In the end, however, I loved the design.  Loosely woven, the wool, strip measured seven feet long, then shrunk to six feet in length after being washed and “fulled”.  (This is not counting a good four inches of fringe on each end.)  After the washing, the tag ends of yarn were cut and the fringe trimmed.  The lovely thing was steam pressed, hung up to dry thoroughly, and ultimately was photographed.

Freshly showered and dressed in my favorite outfit, I stood before the full length mirror, and with great anticipation, flung the scarf around my neck.  My first reaction after a satisfied smile was, “Yikes!”

Needle Pt on Fence1The gray yarn was indeed soft, but the needlepoint yarn was the prickliest yarn I have ever wound around my own neck.  So, I found another use for the scarf fabric.  This piece will not find its way to the doggie bed.

To see more editions of my SHOW & TELL feature, please see the Show & Tell Archive Page.  Anyone is welcome to send in photographs of their work and have their own SHOW & TELL page – please read the instructions on the archive.

the chickens that live up the hill

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my millefluere barbu d'uccle hen

my millefluere barbu d’uccle hen

Have just been up the hill, behind my house, for a quick look at the chickens that live up there, in a really well build open sided barn, with netting protecting them, and access to the field.  They hadn’t been let out yet and thought I come to feed them – sorry girls I said, you’ll have to wait.

I had a small flock of chickens last year, but the fox was really wily, and he got all but my little bantam – she’s so small she wasn’t worth eating!

Millefleure (literally, a thousand flowers, or many colours) barbu d’uccles are originally a Belgian breed – correct me if I’m wrong – and are really friendly garden hens – ‘missy’ loves sitting on my shoulder and is so small that its really quite comfortable!

I have got her a companion, and would love to get some more, but I’m waiting, ’til the winter is over and the foxes aren’t so hungry!