by Ute Follow

In 2015 I participated in #1year1outfit that Nicki from https://thisismoonlight.wordpress.com/ initiated. One year one outfit is a challenge to make a locally sourced outfit in a year using local fibre, local labor and local dye. It is a Fibershed http://www.fibershed.com/ affiliate program and you can read about it here:


The Fibershed requirements for such an outfit are:

  • the fiber must be farmed and processed in your fibreshed (a generous 500km radius). Note that Fibershed does allow some remote manufacturing where it is not available locally.
  • all fibers must be natural
  • any dyeing must use local non synthetic materials
  • all fabric and clothing made must be of quality construction so as to ensure the life of the clothing is long, and not need excessive ironing or washing.

I did not meet all of the requirements for my whole outfit. (Tights and underwear excluded.)

But I have already signed up for 2016 and will explore this further and make an outfit that fully meets the requirements.

Sourcing yarn was the easiest, learning to make my own knitting pattern and knitting such a complex piece the hardest part. I had only knit scarves and shawls before.

Sourcing all German made fabric was quite difficult. Germany used to be an important producer of linen, but there are only a few mills left and most flax comes from European neighbouring countries or even China. Hemp and nettle fabric used to be manufactured in Germany as well, but only come from China and even Tibet now. I finally found a shop that sells German organic linen and used this for my dress.

I could of course have made my own fabric and felted or woven with organic fleece/yarn. But my main focus this year was knitting and I am very happy with my successful dying experiment as well.


  • my own pattern, top down raglan, knitted from September to December
  • yarn: organic, natural virgin wool from a certified organic sheepfold in Germany 350km from Berlin

My cardigan meets all of the Fibershed requirements. I am very proud of it and enjoy wearing it so much. My measurements basically come from my linden sweatshirts, so it´s almost a knitted linden cardigan


My dress meets the first two requirements but avocados are of course not local to Germany. I really wanted the color that avocado pits produce, so I made a compromise.

I boiled the linen with alum as a mordant and washing soda, soaked a mixture of dried and frozen avocado pits overnight, boiled them, drained them and boiled the linen in the dyebath.

Unfortunately my fabric is very light and not ideal for a dress. It would make a beautiful scarf or curtains! But it was the only 100% German fabric available and here I did not want to make compromises. Upon realising that I would not be able to wear this dress much, I only used a zig zag stich to finish the insides and so it is not very pretty and maybe therefore not very durable. I had also ordered organic cotton thread but that turned out to be too thick for this delicate fabric and so I turned to regular Gütermann polyester thread to sew it.

I had to grade from size 40 to size 46 for my hips. With such a huge difference I found it difficult to keep the original shape. Sadly this means I won´t be sewing a lot of Named patterns, with more complex pattern pieces the grading would be too difficult in my opinion.


  • constellation pendant by http://wsake.bigcartel.com/, Anna & Waldemar Artmann, a father - daughter – team, jewelers based in Southern Germany hanging on a string of vintage industrial hemp twine


  • from the German company http://www.softclox.com/
  • exclusively produced in Europe and only using European materials, the wood (poplar and alder) comes from a sustainable forest in Europe.

My projects would not have been possible without the help of Jule from http://www.heymamawolf.de/, knitter and natural dyer from Berlin. She helped me make the pattern for my cardigan and taught me how to dye my fabric. She has just opened her etsy shop where she sells her beautiful naturally dyed yarn https://www.etsy.com/shop/heymamawolfyarns


Discussion 18

  • donna commented 5 years ago

    Beautiful and impressive! The linen is such a lovely color.

    Ute replied 5 years ago

    Thank you! I am so in love with the color avocado produces!

  • StitchedbyShaeCannon commented 5 years ago

    I love both pieces! You did an amazing job. And writing your own knitting pattern??? Impressed!

    Ute replied 5 years ago

    Thank you! Well, it´s actually easier than following a pattern! No confusing instructions ;-)

  • Lightning McStitch commented 5 years ago

    What a journey Ute! The cardigan is divine, congratulations. What a pity the dress won't serve you well as it looks stunning.

    Ute replied 5 years ago

    I am already planning No2 with thicker linen! ;-)

  • Blogless Anna commented 5 years ago

    It's a fabulous outfit Ute.  The texture in the linen is amazing and it is of course the perfect colour for you.  The cardigan is what is blowing my mind.  You're own pattern.  Too clever!  I want one for me.

    Ute replied 5 years ago

    I think a raglan cardi would be right uo your alley, Anna! It´s so easy to make when you just use your own pattern! Fringeassociation has a great tutorial on making your own and it´s almost exactly how Jule showed me http://fringeassociation.com/2013/03/08/how-to-improvise-a-top-down-swea...

  • Ingrid commented 5 years ago

    I'm so impressed Ute! Can't believe you designed the knitting pattern yourself - it's an amazing cardigan. I had a similar problem with the Inari tee - the biggest size was barely big enough for my hips. A bit of an odd one! Also, very surprised about the lack of German fabric! It's so sad to see skill and expertise disappearing from European countries when the industries take them elsewhere. I'm sure it's the same in Sweden....  ps: you need a blog lady! 

    Ute replied 5 years ago

    haha, I have no time for a blog! See how long it takes me to reply here?! But it would probably be easier than to use this platform - I always have trouble using all the features and uploading takes all day!

  • Marilla Walker commented 5 years ago

    This looks incredible and I'm so happy you have this gorgeous cardigan to wear and enjoy. I'm so impressed with the process and it truly is a lot of work. Might try my avocado pits out again! ;-

    Ute replied 5 years ago


  • Aida commented 5 years ago

    Who would have thought that you can get that colour out of avocados, love it! The entire outfit is beautiful

    Ute replied 5 years ago

    Thank you Aida! How nice to have found you here as well! I will explore dyeing further and will definitely collect eucalyptus leaves when I am in Greece next time!

  • Crab&Bee commented 5 years ago

    Congratulations! I especially love your cardigan.

    Ute replied 5 years ago

    Thank you! We both seem to have fallen in love with knitting. I still find following instructions quite confusing so making my own pattern was probably easier!

  • Sasha commented 5 years ago

    Speechless ❤️

    Ute replied 5 years ago

    Me too it seems! Sorry, Kollabora did not notify me of the commenst and I just saw! Thank you my friend!

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