Hemp fiber is obtained from the plant Cannabis Sativa L. It grows to a height of 12 feet without any need for fertilizer or pesticides. Production of hemp is restricted in some countries, where the plant is confused with marijuana.
“Until the early 1900s industrial hemp was a valuable crop used all over the world for its strong fibers and oil seeds. Today, however, the common perception of the industrial hemp plant is generally negative and associated with the drug marijuana. This perception is the legacy of a century of powerful influences constructing hemp as a dangerous drug, even though is not a drug and it has the potential to be a profitable alternative crop. In the United States, the public's perception of hemp as marijuana has blocked hemp from becoming a useful crop and product.” ~ April M. Luginbuhl, University of Toledo
Average yield of hemp fiber is typically about 1000 pounds per acre and even far more under optimum conditions. The world's leading producer of hemp is China. Other major producers include France, Germany and the UK.
Hemp fiber is perhaps the strongest and most durable of all natural fibers. Products made from hemp will outlast other fibers many times over. It also holds its shape, stretching less than any other natural fiber and preventing garments from stretching with use. Although it is so very durable, it is a very comfortable fiber to wear. The more hemp is used, the softer it gets. Hemp is also naturally resistant to mold and ultraviolet light.
Hemp has been used for centuries to make rope, canvas and paper. Its long fibers can be spun and woven to make linen-like fabrics and yarns. Hemp that is used for yarns and other textiles is de-gummed and can be processed on existing flax or cotton machinery. Blending with cotton, linen, silk and wool gives hemp a softer feel, while maintaining it's resistance and durability.
Because it is very porous, hemp is extremely water absorbent and dyes easily. This porous characteristic allows hemp to breathe and feel cool in warm weather. Conversely, air which gets trapped in the fibers is warmed by the body which makes it warm in cooler weather.