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Fiber arts in world building

I like to knit. It does a lot of things for me. I decided to take it up instead of doing Mahjong or Solitaire or other memory/puzzle games that I used to “defrag” my brain. That way, I’d be increasing a useful skill, and milestones would be things that I could actually use myself or give away as gifts. And I can knit while I’m waiting for things.

This got me into learning about fibers and other fiber arts. And I realized that this isn’t usually thought of when world building. Sometimes it is, but fiber arts are so important to lifestyle on every level of society. The simple farmer has no jewels or sword but he has to wear something and have bedding. The highest king has elaborate, costly costumes. But of what are they made and how does their production affect field, village, and city life?

A good number of people have to be involved, for instance in growing and gathering plant fibers. And fibers from animals such as sheep and alpaca. Then there is processing the fibers, different depending on what you have. Spinning, and finally using some method to turn them into a fabric.

The danger, as with any part, is getting into too many details that distract. But knowing this is part of a fantasy world can enrich it quite a bit. And from a 3D crafting POV, to all my 3D friends, knowing the characteristics of a fiber and of the different kinds of fabrics made with it can help you create more realistic clothing.

Next post I’ll talk a bit about my adventures with research at Blue Moon Ranch.

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