October 15, 2010


Resiliency is the ability of a population to deal with shocks to the system.  Resiliency means you can harvest wheat and edible chestnuts when the potatoes get blight.  It means there are enough reserves to outlast a shortage.  It means producers and distributors plan for contingencies and set aside resources to carry out those plans.  A resilient system has redundancies and not bottlenecks: many direct sellers or many backyards producing food, for example, so that if one part goes down, the rest carries on.

The last time anyone in my family suffered shocks to the clothing system was in England during the Second World War.  A new suit was available for purchase one day, and the next, rationing was declared.

Resiliency sounds like it is about gruesome austerity.  Rather, resilient systems prevent enforced austerity.  It means you can bounce back from emergencies or radical change and stuff still works to meet your needs.

I would like to say that handspinning promotes resiliency.  It certainly has great capacity to do so.  I don't know if my handspinning has.

Sure, handspun has theoretically given me new places to get my clothes.  I say theoretically because these clothes need some assembly first.

Sure, my equipment purchases have contributed to the income of a number of small independent manufacturers.  For the most part, that's who is making the equipment, and buying from them directly has been one of the pleasures of handspinning for me.

Some of my fiber I've bought locally and direct, and I've spun some heritage breed wool.  Unfortunately, however, the fiber I like most is Blue Face Leicester (BFL) wool, commonly sold as homogenized anonymous wool top imported from another continent.

I want to look for unprocessed local BFL fleece after I spin what top I have.  I plan to examine some local BFL/Border Leicester cross sheep fleeces next month at a shearing day but am uncertain whether the wool will have the same properties as pure BFL.

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