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Spinning Ambition

My energy law professors is rather eccentric.  He doesn’t like people to take notes during class and the final is whatever you want it to be.  Seriously, whatever you want it to be from writing a paper to drawing a comic book.  He gives no guidance but encourages students to incorporate something that they’re interested in or good at.  Well clearly for me that means there has to be knitting involved!

I’ve been rather intrigued by our discussions that involve how much oil goes into making something.  For example, it takes a gallon of oil to make a gallon of corn based ethanol.  With all my knitting and sewing I’ve been thinking how much oil goes into making the clothes we wear?  Is making your own clothes an alternative that would use less energy?

As a little experiment I’ve decided to make an item that uses as little energy as possible to make.  I’m doing this mostly by cutting out all the middle men and trans ocean journeys usually involved.  I bought some wool roving from Contented Butterfly Farm in Vermont on etsy that’s from a sheep names Sage.  I plan to spin it, knit it, and do some math to see how much energy I used in this process compared to an item of conventional clothing.  Of course this requires me to spin, something I’m not really experienced in.  However, after a half hour of spinning this morning, I took the picture above and I think its going quite well.  It’s at least not as thick and rope like as my first attempt at spinning.

Also, for an idea of what goes into an item of conventional clothing check out Patagonia’s Footprint Chronicles.  It tracks the average journey of some of the items they make.  I find it fascinating, this is a company that actually makes an effort to be environmentally responsible but a huge amount of resources still goes into every item of new clothing they make.

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