Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Year Greetings

Greetings for a New Year

Time to get ready to welcome a other new year.  Whatever great and wonderful things you accomplished in 2013, try for even great successes in 2014.  That is my only resolution, to do better.  I think that covers it all.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Message

Holiday Greetings

We are very fortunate living in Santa Fe where there are many different cultures and traditions.  Especially around the holiday season there are concerts, ballet and dance performances.  The Plaza is alight with decorated trees and a large menorah celebrating Hanukkah.  There are farolitos (brown paper bags filled with sand and a lit candle, called lumenarias elsewhere) lighting roof tops and pathways.  This is also the time to celebrate the winter solstice, Kwanza and traditional feast days of the various pueblos.

However you celebrate the season, may your traditions bring you peace.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cold Weather Means Flannel Shirts

Cold Weather Fabric

This has been rough weather for the US Midwest and East Coast.  Large snowfalls and very, very cold weather with high winds have made this late fall one to remember (yes, it isn’t winter quite yet).

During cold weather we turn to “comfort” fabrics: wooly socks and caps, fleece jackets and chenille robes.  One such fabric has been a part of the winter textile scene for many, many generations: FLANNEL

Looks as if I am partial to red flannel!

Most of us can remember flannel pj’s (some with feet!), flannel sheets for the beds and flannel shirts.  Every outerwear catalog still offers these textiles as they are easy care, warm and relatively inexpensive.

Flannel is a type of weave, there are no fibers named “”flannel”.  Flannel  fabric can be created by using cotton, wool and manufactured fibers.  Having originated in Wales, the word “flannel” is derived from a Welsh word “gwlamen” which means related to wool.

Wool flannel is known for its draping qualities and is usually used as a suiting fabric.
Remember hearing about the movie “The Man in the Gray Flannel suit”, 1956, with Gregory Peck?

Most flannel textiles today are made from cotton and/or acrylic fibers. The woven fabric is napped.  Napping is a finishing process which uses a cylinder covered with teasels or wires over which the stretched cloth is passed raising a nap on the surface.  The protruding fibers cause the finished cloth to be warmer, more compact and softer

For those of you in Winter's path, stay warm and please stay safe.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The T-Shirts in My Dresser Drawer

Planet Money Makes a T-Shirt

There is no article of apparel more common to every closet than the T-shirt.  From infants to grandfathers, from NYC to Beijing, T-shirts are an integral part of everyone’s wardrobe.
Why?  They are comfortable, easily laundered, available in thousands of colors and patterns, and can be personalized with logos.  But, above all, they are cheap!!  Not only reasonable, but down-right cheap.  Sure, there are "designer" shirts available at a heftier price point, but the vast majority of these garments are the common, hard wearing, everyday, cotton tops we wear nearly everyday.

I recently reviewed a web presentation by NPR (National Public Radio) on a project that began with the farming of cotton, through distribution of manufactured t-shirts to the consumer.

The US remains the leader in cotton farming and one example was given of a Mississippi farmer with a staff of 13 and  20 machines which harvested 13,000 bales per year which translates into 9.4million shirts!!!

Next the presentation took me to Indonesia where the cotton fiber was spun into yarn , then shipped to Bangladesh (and to Columbia) for sewing.

But, how could this shirt be produced so cheaply?  Clearly the overhead is much cheaper in the far East .  It turns out that the real savings are a result of reduced shipping costs.  From the US to Indonesia to Bangladesh and back to the US consumer the shipping costs were "far less than $1 per shirt".

I learned a great deal by viewing this instructional.  There is both video as well as written text.  Also included are additional references for further reading.  I recommend spending a few minutes at