Comfortable Bra? (Gina Gormley - Moscow, Idaho)
A comfortable bra? I have always been one of the many who knew there was no such thing.
My mind was changed recently with my first purchase of an "un-bra." While this garment looked suspiciously familiar, it has proven to be much more comfortable and wearable. It's softer and just fits me better.
If you want to check it out, go to
www.decentexposures.com, 1-800-524-4949 on the Web. This is a small, woman-owned company in Seattle. All the manufacturing is done there in Seattle (not in Malaysia or Taiwan), and they say they are committed to offering their workers flexible hours and a decent wage. I can't guarantee that they are as socially responsible as they claim, but I do know that they offer 150 different sizes and are very generous in their willingness to customize each garment.
Formaldehyde (Karen - Phoenix, Arizona)
I have a friend who has discovered that she is chemically-sensitive. Exposure
to chemicals that I, for one, do not notice will cause her to break out in a
rash and/or have trouble breathing. She’s a little like those canaries
the miners carried down into the mines to warn them about the level of dangerous
gases in the air. She notices the problems first.
Anyway, one of the amazing things I learned from her experience is that formaldehyde
is everywhere. This is the stuff that embalms bodies, but it is also a cancer-causing
agent in small doses. In very small doses, formaldehyde is still poisonous,
causing fatigue, headache, breathing difficulties, nausea, and a host of other
Formaldehyde is among the top 50 industrial chemicals produced in the U.S.
An especially common, and rather well-known, use of formaldehyde is in mobile
home construction, particleboard, and building insulation. I had always assumed
that by living in a home without particleboard and new cabinetry and plasticized
furniture that I was avoiding formaldehyde. Not so.
A very common use of formaldehyde is in fabrics. Polyester/cotton blended fabrics,
especially sheets, have a formaldehyde finish. The formaldehyde is attached
to the fibers, so it really can not be washed away. Blended fabrics containing
formaldehyde are not required to be labeled as such. However, if the fabric
is labeled as crease resistant, permanent press, shrinkproof, or water repellent,
you know that formaldehyde has been applied to the fabric.
So, I have learned to stay away from blended fabrics. All cotton, natural fibers
Laundry (Betty Weeks - Cincinnati, Ohio)
A friend of mine shared your magazine "Farm Kitchen" issue with me as she knows I sell the Ecoquest indoor air purifier mentioned in the "Home Safe Home" article about vintage fabrics. I was so happy to see that someone thought of a unique use for the air purifier.
But, I want to tell you about LaundryPure by Ecoquest. Your laundry is done with cold water, without detergent, bleach, or softeners and comes out clean, smelling fresh and is soft.
My friends and I have done our own testing and it is truly amazing. What happens in the LaundryPure cycle is basically this: The unit (small appliance, 10x24) is placed above your wash machine and is hooked up to your cold water. Incoming water is treated with silver ions for killing odor-causing bacteria, and the cleaning power of oxygen and bubbling peroxides breaks down and lifts away grime and dirt.
A special benefit is that no chemicals whatsoever are going back into the environment. Also, eliminating the need for detergents, etc., will reduce manufacture of such products and their containers which continue to stack up in our landfills.
I am so excited about this LaundryPure unit. It is impossible to give all details here so anyone who is interested, please visit my website: www.ecoquest.com/eco-health (click on WATER TREATMENT and then click on LAUNDRYPURE). Send me an email if you would like literature or a phone call to discuss testing the unit.
Mary Jane, I am so thrilled to have found out about you and all you are doing, especially making organic food available and with recipes. I would be very happy to send you a LaundryPure if you would test it and complete an evaluation form.
Thanks. Hope to hear from you all.
Natural Fibers (Kate Painter - Colfax, Washington)
Here is a sample of the yarn we spoke about. I will have skeins of natural, undyed yarn of the same weight sometime next week. The slightly thicker yarn is a 2-ply worsted weight yarn that has about 210 yds. per skein. The slightly thinner one is a 3-ply DK (double knitting) weight yarn that has 290 yds. per skein. The yarn is $6 per 4 oz. skein for the 2-ply, and $7 per skein for the 3-ply. A percentage of the natural lanolin has been left in the yarn. It can be machine washed on gentle in cold water. Do not dry clean.
The wool for this yarn comes from a flock in Virginia. I met the owner at a conference in Oakland. He has built his own yarn-spinning plant on his farm. The wool is from his flock of sheep. It is scoured (washed) in the traditional method using only mild detergents, leaving that small percentage of lanolin, which protects the wool. More information is available on his website,
There is one other company that is producing some nice natural yarn from farmers’ flocks. This is the Philosopher’s Yarn Company. I will be carrying their products as well very soon. You can read more about them on the Web at www.philospherswool.com.
Paradise Fibers: Spinning, Knitting and Weaving Supplies
888-320-SPIN (7746) • firstname.lastname@example.org
Permanently Moth Proofed? (Gretchen Harvey - Moorhead, Minnesota)
I had been purchasing my yarn from a company in Nebraska called Brown Sheep Company (BSC). One day I noticed “permanently moth proofed” printed on the skein wrapper. So I followed up by e-mailing the company and asking what this meant. They replied that a small amount of a pesticide (Mitin FF) is actually boiled into the yarn during the dyeing process. This pesticide has been reapproved by the FDA for use in the textile industry. Apparently if moth larvae eat the wool, they die.
I wrote back to BSC and told them I couldn’t buy their wool anymore and did not support the use of pesticides for the sake of convenience. The thing I don’t know is whether or not wool manufacturers/companies are required to print something like “moth proofed” on their packaging. Or did BSC just think to do it as a marketing tool? I haven’t purchased any yarn since, but will surely ask more questions before I buy from any other company.
Thanks for getting the word out!
[Editor's note: We found a website for you with a nice selection of organic yarns from New Mexico at www.handweavers.com.]
Repairs (Melissa Roberts - Seattle, Washington)
I thought I would share a couple of sewing repair ideas that I have used. When
I had an office job, and had to wear tidy outfits, I learned that ripped hems,
small tears, and other minor problems were quickly remedied with a regular office
stapler. I just used the stapler, instead of needle and thread, to hold the
fabric together. I learned, however, that the staples should face out, away
from the body, so that the staple ends do not snag hose or skin.
Later, when we moved out to the woods, I certainly didn’t need my office
clothes. But what I learned I did need, was a way to mend work clothes. Regular
thread just was not strong enough to hold buttons or seams when we were working
so hard. I used only fishing line (60 pound or more), dental floss (that stuff
is incredibly strong), or carpet thread. The best was dental floss.
Reusable Lint Remover (Nancy D.)
I like wearing black. I don't like lint and dog hair ruining my look.
Over the last ten years, I have probably bought enough lint removal tape to wind around the globe at least twice. That's just too wasteful.
And then I found a reusable lint remover that works like a charm!
Cost me four bucks. Just some space-age plastic roller on a handle. Wipe the lint off the clothes and then wash the roller in soapy water. Use it again.
That is literally all you need to do.
The thing is called a "washable lint pic-up" made by the Evercare Company which is owned by Helmac (if I understood their website correctly). Check it out yourself at www.evercare.com or call 770-6570-5100 or 800-435-6223.
Safe Starch (Julie Bell - Moscow, Idaho)
I depend on my local quilt shop to keep me up to date on new products. Last month, I was in petting the fabric when I discovered “Organic Starch & Press Solution for Appliqué.” I love to appliqué, but hate all the time wasted on trying to attach my fabric piece. This product makes it a snap, and it’s organic to boot. There is no sticky glue like some other products I have used in the past. If your local quilt shop does not have this product, there is a website that you can order from: www.myfavoritethimble.com
The solution for bedwetters (Michelle Tullis - Pullman, Washington)
I was a bedwetter for many years growing up, and needed to wash my pjs and bedding on a daily basis. Well human urine just like animal urine is a hard smell to get out of fabrics. My mom always added about a half cup of vinegar to the wash cycle and it took out the urine smell. Well flash forward a few years and I had a cat that loved to pee on my clothes. I had always been told that you couldn't get cat urine smells out of clothes or anything. Just washing didn't get the urine smell out the clothes and I would wash something 3 or 4 times and get frustrated because of the smell. Then I rememembered what my mom did for bedding and pjs. It worked like a charm. Now I buy a gallon of regular vinegar just for my laundry.