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Reply #144: Not quite. [View All]

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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Oct-28-07 08:52 AM
Response to Reply #133
144. Not quite.
The kind of cotton you're talking about is but one variation in the species. There are several natural cottons that are better adapted to desert climes (there are some natural cottons that developed separately in the American Southwest, for example), but those aren't the ones that the industry uses. They tend not to be pure white (instead natural browns, rusts, and greens), and so not of interest to the cotton industry.

The way the fibers develop in cotton are actually a good thing. Bast fibers, like hemp and flax, are great woven but not as great knitted. Not that knitters aren't working with them, but they produce a very different fabric when knitted. The fibers don't like being looped and twisted and looped some more--they like to stay straight, so weaving them makes more sense to get the best out of the fiber. Cotton likes to be knitted, though, as well as woven, which makes it a more usable fiber in more applications.

I'm all for using hemp more, since it is a fabulous fiber that shouldn't be against the law to grow. Marijuana is a different strain, so I don't know why we can't allow the fiber plant other than for greedy corporate interests. If you try burning hemp fabric, you won't get high, but the government sure acts like you would. *sigh*

Still, I don't think we should ban cotton. Crack down on the way it's grown, encourage the use of climate-appropriate variations, and encourage environmentally sound practices, definitely.
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