New York, New York — With actors like Woody Harrelson pushing industrial hemp’s legal uses, there’s been a buzz in the fabrics industry surrounding eco-friendly, durable hemp fibers. Now that buzz is getting closer to home with American-spun and woven hemp.
“Ours are the first hemp yarns made in the U.S. in 50 or 60 years,” said David Gould, president of Hemp Textiles International Corporation (HTI).
Today there are about five spinning mills and four weaving mills in U.S.
Most of the future spinning mills will be based in the Southeast, while negotiations for 18 different mills across the U.S. are under way. HTI has brought hemp production to the States because textile mills are more technically advanced than in China, its main supplier.
Taking production to America also makes it easier to combine hemp with the best of American-grown fibers like cotton and synthetic fibers such as polyester said HTI. As a result a number of blends, making use of hemp’s strength, anti-soiling and anti-microbial features have been created by HTI.
Kraemer Textiles, Inc., based in Nazareth, PA and HTI have developed and tested a number of yarns combining HTI’s Cantiva pure hemp fiber with natural and synthetic fibers. Some of the hemp-blended fibers include; HempWol, made of 50 percent Cantiva and 50 percent wool and HempCot, which is 50 percent Cantiva and 50 percent organic cotton.
Because HTI was one of the busier booths at the 1996 Yarn Fair, Robert Farentinos, vice president at HTI, predicted apparel and footwear vendors will soon take advantage of hemp-made products. “Next year hemp will break loose on the market and bringing production to the U.S. will certainly satisfy that demand.”
For those vendors, who feel leery about using hemp in their products, Gould said, “By introducing U.S. woven fibers to the market, we’ve created a pipeline that takes hemp to the mainstream and hopefully eliminates any doubt about hemp’s legitimacy.”
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