Thursday, September 30, 2010

phenological notes Sept 2010

phenological events

September 2010

4th warblers on the wing
10th fall mushrooms appear
12th caterpillars on the move
14th hail storm

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Last weekend was the Endless Mountains Fiber Festival. Due to a camera glitch, I don't have any photos of the event. I'll have to link you over to the Antique Spinning Wheels blog. I had a very nice time doing demonstrations, and meeting new people, and visiting with old friends. After all the preparation for the festival, it seems to be over with so fast! I'm still getting caught up with putting things away and catching up on paperwork and house and garden chores...


Today, I wanted to take some time out for myself. Spinning flax is at the top of my list, I need to hone my skills for the upcoming event at the National Museum of the American Coverlet. I will be presenting the Double Flyer Spinning Wheel, and I'm very excited to be a part of this educational workshop.

Under a gorgeous September sky, I decide to work outside, on my mother's little saxony flax wheel. I gave the wheel a nice rub down before I got started. When you polish a wheel, it gives you time to pause and admire its finer the wonderful turnings....


or the makers marks...


or the detail to the treadle...which sorta looks like a cross section of one of the maidens...


Once the wheel was cleaned up, I worked on dressing the distaff. Then, I decided to make myself a little water pot.


Several years ago, at a workshop about spinning in the old way, I heard a story about a little flax water pot that was made out of a gourd. So I grew the gourds, but life gets busy and I never had time to make the water pot. Today was the day.


First, I drilled a hole in the neck, and dumped out all the seeds. I'll set those aside and plant some more gourds next spring. IIRC, these were mini bottle gourds and I don't remember where I got them. Should have written it down!


Next I drilled some holes, and braided some flax for the handles. I knotted the end before threading it though, so I would have a wick. Then I filled the pot with water. Fabulous! It works like a charm! Every so often I simply pinch the wick on the bottom of the pot, and my fingers catch the drip of water from the wick. I like it so much better than a regular water dish! When I use a water dish, the water drips all over the place from my fingertips. The wick provides just the right amount of water, moistening the fingertip and thumb. When I get a chance, I will buy some flax seed and make a proper flax mucilage made from pouring boiling water over about a tbsp. of flax seeds.

I practice first with one hand, then the other. Warming up for double flyer spinning, letting my fingers know the flax and remember the movements...I spent a few hours spinning the flax and just soaking up the sun, listening to the river flow by and the occasional crow of the rooster. It was enchanting. Flax knows its power over me, and I am mesmerized...


Next thing you know, the light is fading and its time to start supper. I didn't fill the bobbin, I will have to work on that during the spare moments I find in the coming week.

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