August 2006

We received many wonderful comments about our last monthís article about the Alpaca Farm. A friend provided more photos that I have added to the site. You can visit the previous photos along with the new ones at: www.craftland.com/mkg/farmvisit.htm

Now, letís visit this monthís subject.

What is Hemp?

Hemp is a variety of cannabis sativa, which is a cousin of marijuana, but does not contain any useable amount of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana.

Hemp is planted around the world for its fiber, seed, seed oil and seed meal. The fiber is similar to flax, jute and ramie. Hemp grows very quickly so there is little time for pests to get to it. As a result, it barely needs pesticide or none at all. In addition, hemp plants are planted very close to each other to encourage growth of the branches, resulting in longer fiber content. This causes limited space for weed growth, so there is no need for herbicide either. The amount of fiber produced from an acre of hemp is four times as much as an acre of cotton. Another interesting fact is that Marijuana plants cannot be mixed with hemp because the resulting marijuana will have less THC than desired.

Primary hemp fibers are 8" (20 cm) long that can be used for fabric like linen with antimicrobial and anti-mildew properties. Hemp fibers can be mixed with wool, cotton, linen, and other fibers creating more absorbent, strong and comfortable clothing items. Studies show that fabric made with at least 50% hemp, block sunís UV rays more effectively than any other fabric. Hemp paper production needs fewer chemicals than paper made of wood. Also due to its rapid growth, it can eliminate use of wood for paper and save the limited forests in the world.

Historical studies show that hemp has been planted for its properties for about 12,000 years. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson planted hemp and in fact, the Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper. Today, planting hemp is banned in the US due to its similar appearance to marijuana plant. For more information about hemp, visit: www.naihc.org

Hemp yarn is imported to the US from abroad. Visit your local yarn shop to test hemp yarn or check out:
www.aurorasilk.com or hempforknitting.com

Nazanin S. Fard

Needlecraft University

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