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Cotton kills

Discussion in 'Bushcraft and survival skills' started by SCOMAN, Aug 21, 2016.

  1. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Mother used to knit. Sister does. She is the last one in our family that will do it I think.
    Mother used to saw pockets made out of fabric on the knitted jumpers, pockets that were ‘complete’. She somehow used the same woolen strands to stitch it to the jumper, thread the strands quite high up, so the weight in the pockets did not stretch the area around the pocket.
    Difficult to describe.

    Her jumpers were excellent but I was ashamed of we@ring them as I wanted store bought sweaters and jumpers.
     
  2. Paul_B

    Paul_B Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)

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    My mum knitted a Herdwick wool jumper for me in what I believe is a cable knit. Seriously uncool but I learnt to like it when walking. It was a bit large for me at 9 years old but it fitted me right up to adult. I lost it somewhere in one of my moves between uni, home and into my own place.

    When at uni my parents came back from a Greek island with a local style woolly pully. It was made with wool that hadn't had all the oils washed out. It was also densely knitted and very thick. It was an amazing softshell. Totally windproof, the oils had a kind of DWR action.

    I used to wear it hiking with a uni walking group in the Lakes and Scotland before I got good, modern kit. I remember a winter trip where I was walking in a blizzard in the lakes wearing helly Hansen life base layer and that jumper. The snow didn't melt and I could simply brush it off every so often. Being cold it didn't melt and the jumper kept me warm.

    The only issue was weight and pack volume. If I needed to carry it I'd lose 20 to 30 litres capacity. Plus it was probably heavier than a kilogram. There must have been the produce of a few sheep in it. Wasn't cool though.

    Wool is a good material imho but not for everything. I'm not a fan for base layers if sweating is expected. IME it gets wet and doesn't wick.
     
    Robson Valley and Janne like this.
  3. Mark Baigent

    Mark Baigent Full Member

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    can take 2,700 litres to produce the cotton needed to make a single t-shirt.
     
  4. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Sheep drink too.....
    :)

    The water supply problem is a complex one.
     
  5. Mark Baigent

    Mark Baigent Full Member

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    It is, however if your village completely runs out of water, as many have, it is time to find a solution.
     
  6. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    What would Maria Antonia say?
    Let them drink Champagne?

    Cotton is a hugely important crop. Without cotton we would be either dressed in plastic or wool.
    Of course, leather is good too. But then cows drink too!

    ( just want to be happy this God’s resting day! :). )
     
  7. Mark Baigent

    Mark Baigent Full Member

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    Well you think that is light hearted.......................... I think that it is genius!!
     
  8. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Sorry, I edited my post.....

    What makes me angry is the cheapness and low quality of cotton today.
    So cheap people do not use the clothes for long, but the quality is crap.

    Jeans today compared to 1970’s, why do they wear out so quickly? T-shirt’s the same?
    Are the cotton fibres thinner? More fragile?

    If they lasted -say- twice as long, we would not need to grow so much of it ( and use precious water)
     
    Mark Baigent likes this.
  9. Woody girl

    Woody girl Full Member

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    An interesting comparison would be how many litres of water to produce a fleece to make a jumper.
    Then of course water is needed to turn that fleece to use able yarn.
     
    santaman2000 likes this.
  10. TLM

    TLM Forager

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    It is not only a question of material, the type of weave or knitting also changes clothing properties.

    I have seen some articles that claim that hemp is the natural fiber that fastest could replace a large portion of cotton. Some alternatives apparently exist but they can't be produced quite as easily.

    One alternative is fibers made out of cellulose derivatives or regeneratives. I have one Tencel T shirt and it feels quite nice also distinctly different from cotton. Those could be produced at any necessary scale.
     
  11. TLM

    TLM Forager

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    Evaporating water from clothes takes relatively huge amounts of heat, so any material or weave structure that absorbs large amounts is going to be bad for your efforts to retain ones body temp at comfortable levels in cold and wet weather.
     
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  12. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    There are several methods to produce long fiber from cellulose, to make fibers called Rayon and Viscose.
    I have read recently about two new ones, one from a Uni in Holland (I think) and one from a Uni in Sweden ( I think) that uses the leftovers from timber and agriculture production.

    Most have heard about Bamboo fiber, or as some creative marketers call it - Bamboo Silk.
    This is basically Rayon or Viscose.

    Using leftovers is appealing to me. Using bamboo is not, as those fields can be used for food production.

    No clue about water use or environmental impact !

    The long haired Helly Hansens I have, retain a bucketful of water, but are easily wrung and spun out.
    I think it was made from recycled PET plastic bottles?
     
  13. TLM

    TLM Forager

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    Any mechanical way one can use to get rid of water in the garment should be used. That only works on water that is not absorbed into the fiber but is retained on surface or by capillary forces between fibers
     
  14. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Do the hollow fibres absorb water?
     
  15. TLM

    TLM Forager

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    Regeneration could be one of the better ways to recycle cotton from old clothes.

    Basic viscose fiber has that problem of using fairly dangerous chemicals in the production. I have viscose underwear and it is a very comfortable material against skin.
     
  16. TLM

    TLM Forager

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    "Do the hollow fibres absorb water?"

    Not quite in my core area of exact knowledge. As an educated guess I would say it depends on how well water wets the surface (question of surface energies, not a black art but close). If it wets well water might enter the hollow but if the surface repels water then not.
     
  17. Billy-o

    Billy-o Native

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    Thing about the long hair ones is that, like wool, they wick. Just as an example, I have a Haglofs fleece which has a short pile on the outside and longer pile inside. When I run in it during winter, after about 5K it develops a like a silvery surface dew ... which is the perspiration wicking out and condensing on the surface ... it brushes off.

    It is a very pretty effect :)
     
    #117 Billy-o, Nov 24, 2019
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2019
  18. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Can you still buy the longhaired ( weave on one side) HH with a thumb hole in Canada?

    I have failed to find any in Norway. I would like to get some for my son.
     
  19. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Cotton fiber is solid cellulose. beta 1->4 linkages and all kinds of exposed -OH groups
    to hook up with water molecules = easily wetted and thus hard to dry (great heat energy needed 540 cal/g).
    Those wetted fibers stick to each other very easily so cotton packs, loses its loft and the insulation value is lost.

    Wool fiber is hollow keratin protein. A repeating sequence of simple amino acids with almost no places for water molecules.
    Therefore, wool is much harder to get wet in the first place. The wool fibers cannot easily stick to each other.
    So, as wet as they are going to get, the insulating loft value is not lost.
     
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  20. Billy-o

    Billy-o Native

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    They used to be very easy to get in the UK .. maybe put a 'would like to buy' in classifieds. Endicotts .. maybe keep an eye there or ebay.co.uk
     

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