Monday, August 24, 2009

tow from the line

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Since I'm planning to spin some flax in public next weekend, my fingers needed some reminders..a little practice was in order.

Using some flax tow that came off the hackle (Tow is the shorter and or broken pieces that came out in the hackling from the line flax), I dressed the tow distaff that I picked up at the Mannings in June. I placed it on my Ashford Traditional Wheel. The flax from the hackle was rather knotted and wadded up, so I just teased it with my fingers, and spread it out on the table before dressing the distaff. It seemed to work out well enough, there were some areas that slid to the top and got bunched up, but they pulled down easily.

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The flax magically untangles itself on the way to the bobbin. This makes me very happy. I find myself entranced by the thin strands passing down from what seems like a nest of grass. Occasionally, I will dip my fingers in the water pot and smooth down a slub before allowing it to wind on the bobbin. I'm not worried about a few slubs coming from this tow. They will be an interesting addition to whatever project I decide to use this linen thread for.

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An hour or so later, my bobbin reveals a sample of what the overall thread will look like. And I am satisfied with the results. I imagined that the tow would be really lumpy and hairy, but I discovered that it wasn't half bad.

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I will most likely ply this. The length of the individual fibers was short and inconsistent, so I think it needs to be plied and that will reinforce the strength of the finished thread.

The singing has started, "6 more weeks" they say...

...you may find the songsters in the most unlikely places...you just have to look for them!

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18 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I am always amazed that you actually get something to come from all that wad of fiber. AMAZING. The katydids are singing their hearts out right now.

Tameson said...

It's gorgeous!

Phiala said...

Lovely. I'll have to get to one of your demos someday.

The Gingerbread House said...

You make it look so easy...I'll be glad to have strength to spin again...Ginny

Anne said...

Such pretty shine to the flax singles you've spun up. Do they dull down to a more matte color after you get them off the bobbin and finish the yarn?

Marcy said...

Ooo, shiney, shiney, flax! Very pretty.

Valerie said...

Lovely linen yarn! Do you boil it for finishing?

It sounds and feels like early fall here. The birds are no longer singing and the insects are covering for them.

Seems like such a short one this year.

Manise said...

Nice flax singles! And I thought what I was hearing all night this week were tree frogs- wrong!. Lol. I've seen a bunch of katydids eating my green beans.

judy said...

I heard them a couple weeks ago. Way too soon. It'll be in the 40's overnight later this week.

Your photos are inspiring, not unusual but particularly this post. Beautiful!

elizabeth said...

I love spinning tow and it's great for blending, too!

Jody said...

What exactly does one do with flax 'yarn'?

cyndy said...

To answer a few questions above-

The shine will be present in the finished linen depending upon the quality of the flax. In my limited experience, I think the quality of flax depends on the variety as well as the retting process.

I normally boil to finish the thread and soften it.

The finished flax thread (yarn) is normally called linen, and most often is woven or knit or crocheted..actually you may do whatever yu desire...including using it to tie up packages, or in place of garden twine :-)

Debbie said...

Can't wait to watch you spin the flax. See you on saturday!!!!

Sharon said...

Facinating! I am amazed at the shine on the flax. I have very little (actually none really) experience with flax. I don't think it was grown here in Australia overly much.

Judy said...

And here I was trying to ignore the changing leaves and you go and say "6 more weeks"! La-la-la-la-la

~ Phyllis ~ said...

Cyndy,
Your flax looks wonderful. Great spinning. I'm afraid that flax is something that I have never tried spinning. Enjoyed your pictures.

Kristi aka Fiber Fool said...

Simply awestruck!

Leslie Shelor said...

The only time I spun flax it didn't turn out so lovely...you're making me want to try again!

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