Sunday, January 28, 2007

We had a great demo day at the ICA. Look at Pics.
I want to share some correspondence with you also.

1/28-from Kristine Woods-Knitter

Hello Kelly (tired?) and nice to meet you, Mac--
Thanks for all the tips and questions. I have knit with handspun a fair bit
but I appreciate the tips b/c I'm a fairly from the hip knitter. I usually
use a top down approach but I can certainly get a pattern for toe up (much
less corporate sounding, no?). I assume you recommend this on account of
Mac, why don't you send your wooly wad to me at school:

Lila' k -- You can just leave your wooly wad on my desk. No need to set the
wool, I can take care of that. Perhaps I'll do a little walnut dye with

It's already exciting.

1/28-from Mac-spinner

Kelly - Yes, I might be able to spin for a few hours in Feb. Just let me
know the day, and I'll let you know if I'll be in town! Of course, I
would love some chocolate Shetland - I bought a bit from Judi yesterday.

Kristine - Hey there! Sorry I missed you yesterday - we had a good time!
Kelly has two skeins of sock yarn I spun up for you yesterday - I think
there's about 170 yards. Today I spun up another 170 yards. Aaron wears
a size 11.5 shoe. As you might imagine, 340 yards of sock weight might be
stretching it for a good pair of socks.

Have you knit with handspun yarn before? If you have, you probably know
that it's quite a bit denser than commercially processed yarn and you'll
need to go at least two needles sizes larger than what you would normally
knit with for sock weight. When I knit my own handspun, I normally knit
on a size 4 or 5 needles.

Also, I'm not sure if Kelly is planning to prep the yarn I spun yesterday
prior to sending it to you. It needs to be soaked in hot water with a bit
of soap and slightly agitated to make the two plies felt together a tiny
bit. After that, it should be hung to dry with a weight suspended from
it. I will prep the yarn that I spun today, but check with Kelly about
the yarn she'll be sending you.

Do you have a construction strategy in mind yet? With the amount of yarn
we have, perhaps toe-up would be a good idea?


1/27-from me

What a great time we had! Thanks for coming out. It was a real fiber parade on the ICA. Thanks again.

Rachel and Martha connected and will meet to get those undies out!

Mac took enough fiber to spin sock stock, Kristine and you are kindred spirits and I hope you will meet! Nichole, send us your link to your 365 page!

Toni and Judi-dynamic duo spun like the wind and will spin the rest of the shirt by 2/15- (i will come to pick it up with valentine chocolates) Good luck on Tuesday Toni, I will be thinking of you.

Caroline spun our tie stock and met Suzie our tie weaver.

I have the hide-in-hand from Drew our tanner.

Mary has some weaving to do-thanks to Toni and Judi's freshly spun 100 yards.

I will be felting for the next two weeks then fashioning an overcoat.

Alexandra and Jen are on the buttons and closures out of wood and bone.

Some other folks we did not meet today are waiting or working in the wings spinning for slacks, and waiting to cut and sew our garment, as well as the shoemaker.

If you finish your spinning and want more to spin, just let me know!

The fiber-to-finish talk is March 25 time tbd. I will be forwarding pics of the day shortly and adding them to the blog, feel free to go online to the blog and write you thoughts! It was great meeting all of you. more soon, time to take it easy! Aaron Igler, the curator will be putting together a catalog for resource, if you have not given me your web info shoot me an email!
I am so grateful to all of you for helping to realize this project and for co-realizing a fabulous creative community via the suit.
all the best,

1/25-Jen Gin-Felter and button maker

hey kelly,

i will definitely be there!

if you get a chance, i would like to look at those felting books you
mentioned before!

1/25-from Martha -Knitter

Hello Kelly,

I just got some really good advice on knitting the undies from a crazy crafting lady at Pearl Arts and I'm realizing that I should be getting the wool spun thinner than chunky, more like the green yarn I gave you. Is it too late, or can I talk to the spinner on Saturday about the size?



Dear Kelly,

What kind of spinning tools do you use? I have used a drop spindle and
the pedal operated one. My fibers and dyeing samples are in baltimore,
but I'm pretty good. I TAed the Fibers and Dyeing class at RISD. I can
felt, too, if you need help with that. Let me know what works best. .
...I could probably have my samples shipped to Philly if you're

1/18-From Caroline Maw-Deis (spinner)

I am looking forward to whatever and wherever this adventure takes us......I can definitely commit to being there at least from 12-3.
It will be a treat to meet you and take part in this unusually exciting, creative endeavor!

1/17-Amanda Evers-Bellace (spinner)

Hi Kelly!

The project sounds really fascinating! I love the idea! I have a few questions before I commit, only because I've recently added a few consignments to my list and will be busy spinning art yarns for them!

What weight of yarn are you looking for - worsted, fingering, laceweight? Will it be 2-ply or more (or only single-ply)? Will the fibers be all prepared for the spinners into roving or batts, or do we have to prep fibers, too? And the deadline is February 15 for handspun, right? I'm just trying to figure out how much time this will take, because I'd love to join in, but am worried that I wouldn't get it done in time (and I would HATE to not get what you need to you in time!)

Please let me know what you can!

Where in Philly are you? I'm always looking for fellow spinners who live close (I'm actually in Glenolden, so not IN Philly, but close!)


12/27-Judi Lehrhaupt)(wool source and spinner)

Hi Kelly,

This just sounds like too much fun! Let me see if I can answer some
I live about 40 minutes from Toni's farm and yes, we love visitors. I do
have roving, raw fleeces, commercially spun yarn and sheep.
I'd love to chat with you more about your project and see what I can do to


12/27-from Toni Kellers (wool source and spinner)

my schedule does not exist!

Judi Lehrhaupt asks to be in contact - The Shetland/ Master Spinner

She will be away until New Year's Day

You are welcome to come up and visit - we don't do formal tours, but for a fiber friend???? Any time! My roving always has a link to its sheep. The 50/50 is light sock weight.

I can also mail samples - but it would be more fun if you came up. I can be in center city in an hour., so it is an easy trip.....................Toni

12/21-from me

Greetings Collaborators,

There are 12 of you! I am setting up a blog for the 100-Mile Suit Project.

If you have a web page, blog or email you would like me to put up let me know. You can also join the blog ( and put in your comments. We use this form at headlong to shoot ideas around, see the cell blog on my site for examples. You can post pics, and comments relating to your 100 mile suit making experience. This nifty free page will archive our project from fiber to finish, with pics and comments. I will be presenting a workshop on felting in February and a lecture on the suit in March at ICA Philadelphia. If you are interested in doing a workshop let me know asap: today, I would love to share your skills with a larger public. Aaron our curator is making the list as we speak so email!
Marie, Andrew --you are shoemaker and tanner, your skills are very specialized and a workshop/demonstration would be fabulous.

I will have raw materials to you soon. I need before January a materials list from each of you, you can put this directly on the blog. I can purchase any materials and supplies. I am hoping you can be resourceful with additional supplies as this project is Kelly-funded only at this point.

**I expect 7-15% of the project to not be local (thread for instance) Anything that is not local will need to be orange (suggested by our own brilliant Kristine Woods)

email with questions.

Welcome to the outfit!

12/20-Drew Twele-Deer-Tanner

Hi Kelly,

I am trying to put together a tanning class in February. This would be an ideal time for you to come learn about the process. You of course would not have to pay or enroll just to come check it out. It would also benefit me to have someone taking good photos of the process as long as you're willing to share them.
I can sell you $130 worth of buckskin.
As for suggestions....I am no tailor but I can tell you about the material itself and it's qualities. I'm sure you're skill and creativity surpasses my own when it comes to making garments. Once you are familiar with the material yourself you can figure out how to use it. I could send you a small sample of the material if you'd like. I could also point you to some resources that would show you how others are using buckskin these days to make modern items.

Buckskin is the softest, most supple types of leather available. In fact it feels more like a fabric than it does a leather. (technically speaking it is not a leather) It is very easy to cut and to work with. Bead workers prefer buckskin because a needle slides so easily through it. A very small percentage of deer skins are considered "garment quality" That is you will always find a couple bullet or arrow holes and some knife marks form skinning. But I hand select my skins to minimize such defects. But I think the resulting repair stitches (which are part of my process) add character.

Buckskin has an interesting history. It was the textile of Native Americans. The skins they used were almost exclusively brain tanned. In fact the use of similar tanning methods seems to have been a common thread throughout all prehistoric cultures. Early explorers quickly adopted the material as their own European cloth garments were not suitable to the harsh terrain and quickly wore out. In early America it was such a valuable commodity that it was used as currency. This is why we still today refer to dollars as "bucks" or "doe." In England it became the clothing of the elite. In America buckskin continued to be the most common dress for common laborers and for outdoorsman until the invention of denim during the beginning of the industrial age. As brain tan became obsolete the knowledge of how to produce it was almost lost completely. Fortunately a few Natives retained some knowledge of the process. In the 1970's there was a sort of rediscovery of this ancient practice as many non Indians and natives alike went about trying to learn the old ways. They found scanty references written by explorers and some accounts from natives but had to figure out alot of details on their own. Today this ancient art is alive and well as there are many groups and individuals such as myself who are interested in preserving our ancestral knowledge.

Begin forwarded message:

From: Kelly Cobb
Date: December 19, 2006 8:59:17 PM EST
To: Michael Twele
Subject: Re: brain-tanned!
Andrew, (michael?)

I am a textile designer, I know your plight. My last project was hand
printing 25 yards of fabric, it is a labor of love, not a lot of folks
understand the concept of process, labor and hand work. I would be
interested in buying a skin from you, and would like to know more about
the process. Are you tanning anything now? I would like to come and see
what you do if possible and purchase the skin in person. Capturing the
process of making is essential so people can understand the labor

Yes, I would be interested, I am self funding this crazy project and
could not go much above 130.00. We will be using the materials for
shoes, a bag and a belt. I know that folks in your parts braid together
the skin, is it easy to cut? Anyway, email me back you suggestions for
the objects I am making, a price and when you would be around, do you
have a visit-able workspace? Do you mind being photographed. Finally, I
will be putting together a resource so I would like to include you, is
that ok?

hope so!


I am very interested in buying some roving and spun goods, sign me up!

I have some questions, I can call you and speak to you directly if you prefer. Also I would love to visit and take pictures of your farm, your sheep and you for the archive I am building! In addition to the suit I am making a resource for folks to use. I would love to put you and your site on. If you know which sheep shed the roving I can even put him or her on.

again, If you just want to answer on the phone just email "kelly, call me"


Do you have a good time that you take visitors on the farm? If so, let me know.

Is your chevoit yarn spun locally? If so, I am very ,very interested. I am in touch with Wilde Yarns in Manayunk do you use their services?

Would the yarn weight you sell be appropriate for woven wearables or more for socks?

Do you have any of the thin hand spun stuff for sale or would you spin to sell? This sounds absolutely lovely!!!!!!!

I don't know the specs of how much for what yet, I need to talk to my cohorts and get there material requirements.
I can put down a deposit if you would like to hold the goods!

thanks again,

When I am not putting the 100-mile suits together I teach part-time at MICA fiber in Baltimore. I also design costumes for headlong dance theater here in philly. This is for a show at the Philadelphia ICA at Penn but they have no fiber program.

12/14-Rachel Zakariaasen-Spinner

A friend forwarded me an e-mail with a request for help from local spinners for your 100-mile suit project. I think this is an absolutely phenomenal idea and would love to help. I am an experienced and speedy spinner. I tend to specialize in doing really fine threads, but am also quite capable at spinning thicker weights as needed. Please let me know if you are still looking for people and what sort of time frame you are looking at.

Rachel Zakariasen

12/7- from Marie (shoemaker)

Hi Kelly,
My name is Marie Wigglesworth and I received an email from a friend regarding the posting you placed with the HCC. I live about ten miles north of Philadelphia and last March I went out to Washington state and took a week long workshop on the process of shoe making. In the week I was there I made a pair of costume made oxford style shoes. The process was hands on with minimal electrical equipment. It was an awesome experience. Since the workshop I've been looking to get started making some shoes of my own. I purchased a small run of shoe lasts, but I need to purchase leather and some other materials to get started. I would really like to get in touch with you and talk about what your looking for. I thought I would attach a couple photos and you could get a visual of what I had done. The files are pretty big, I hope you can open them without any problem.

12/7-Heather House PASA

Hello Kelly, This sounds like a wonderful project! Here are some ideas for you:

The first two ladies are kind of far from you (but within one hundred miles). But they know a million fiber artists and could point you in the right direction:

1) Phyllari Ball has sheep fiber:

2) Sue Ripley has great fibers for sale...they are of great quality!!
3) Holly Moyer is a farmer in your area, and she used to do a lot of fiber for sale, but I’m not sure if she still does. Call her because if she’s not producing, she knows who is.

4) The Landis Valley Historical Museum has a really wonderful exhibit on FLAX, which was grown in great quantities in PA. Flax is the basis for linen, so you might keep that in mind as a potential medium. There are still folks at the museum who grow the flax on site, separate the fiber, spin the fiber, weave it into cloth, then cut and sew it into clothing. There are some great designs for shirts and dresses that use only a rectangular piece of cloth and require few stitches. though I’m not sure who you need to talk to. If you’ve never been there, it’s well worth a visit. In the summer you can see the flax growing in the fields, but not now (obviously).

5) Is anyone growing hemp for clothing here? I don’t know, but there is a company called Hempzels, which makes pretzel like snacks out of hemp grain. We had a booth near them at Farm Show one year, and those snack were delicious! Anyway, they seem really passionate about hemp’s many uses, including fiber. Perhaps they could help you work a creative product into your work. They are in Lancaster PA and here’s a link to their hemp info page

I don’t know of a tannery, but have you thought of using brain-tanned leather? There are many woodsmen in PA who tan hides from the deer they harvest in the fall. My boyfriend has done this with deer and moose hide. Let me know if this is of would not exactly highlight a local business, but it definitely a legitimate way of procuring fabric for clothes making. We have a friend who made an entire suit (jacket, pants, belt, etc.) out of deer hides that he harvested, tanned, and sewed. It is gorgeous! He made the buttons out of deer horn and used really thin strips of leather for thread. Phenomenal!

I hope this helps at least a little. The fiber ladies will give you all the help you need, so don’t be shy about contacting them. You can tell them PASA gave you their numbers.

Heather House
Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture
Educational Outreach

Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted by
( on Tuesday, December 5, 2006 at 21:58:54

Prefix: Ms

First Name: Kelly

Last Name: Cobb

Company_/_Farm: garment/research

Mailing Address: 1228 S. broad St. set 3A

City: Philadelphia

State: PA

Zip: 19146

Referred By: internet search

Farmer?: No

Comments: Hi there!

I am a textile artist designing a 100- mile suit (inspired by the 100 mile
diet) for a Spring art exhibition on local art collaboration in Philadelphia.
This suit will be produced by over 10 crafters using all regional materials!

I am looking for local sheep farm/wool producers. Also I am looking for
regional leather tannery for shoe leather.

Thanks in advance for any info you can provide.
I will keep you posted.
You can read more about my project at

thank you!
Kelly Cobb

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