Flax Workshop 2

Flax Workshop 2

We took over the canteen at the London College of Fashion on Saturday and found the quality of the flax (or it could have been the retting or drying) was much better than last time.  .

This invaluable piece of machinery breaks the hard stems to extract the soft fibres.  Everyone had a go.
This invaluable piece of machinery breaks the hard stems to extract the soft fibres. Everyone had a go.
Heckling and spinning
Scutching

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Christine showing Jan how to spin with a spindle.
Christine showing Jan how to spin with a spindle.
Combing the fibres to remove the shives and to make sure all the strands are running in the same direction to make spinning easier.
Combing the fibres to remove the shives and to make sure all the strands are running in the same direction to make spinning easier.
Rod tried to repair the wheel to no avail.
Rod tried to repair the wheel to no avail.
The shives are the broken bits of the inside core of the stalk - what gives the stem rigidity.  They can be used in building products - or simply as a mulch.
The shives are the broken bits of the inside core of the stalk – what gives the stem rigidity. They can be used in building products – or simply as a mulch.
We produced a lot of tow, short fibres, which can also be spun.
We produced a lot of tow, short fibres, which can also be spun.
Spun linen thread - rough but beautiful.
Spun linen thread – rough but beautiful.
Spun and unspun flax
Spun and unspun flax

How to Make Black Walnut Ink

Spy Garden

I’ve always wanted to make ink from black walnuts. I got the idea from Xplor magazine, which is a free publication issued by Missouri Conservationist. It’s a magazine about outdoor pursuits in Missouri, for kids. If you live in Missouri go here to request it. The instructions were pretty simple:

Gather a dozen walnuts. Unless you want stained skin, put on rubber gloves. Remove the nuts from their husks. Place the husks in a pot, cover them with water, and simmer on the stove for several hours. The longer you simmer, the darker the ink will be. Pour the ink through an old t-shirt into a quart jar. Add a tablespoon of rubbing alcohol to preserve the ink, and it’s ready to use. (source)

We often complete step one. We have lots of black walnut trees near our house…

Here's one Here’s one

…and often collect them for fun/for fall decor.

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