The Community Flax Demo at the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati was a success! On Saturday, September 17 we had around 20 people get a hands-on learning experience of taking locally grown flax, part of the Rust Belt Fibershed's Linen Project through the final process of braking, scutching, hackling, and the transformation of flax to linen by spinning. The flax was originally grown and dried by Frayed Knot Farm last season, and then it took only 3.5 days in the Northern Kentucky heat for me to ripple off the seed pods and take through the water retting process.
In addition, we also had a cotton processing set-up, so we jokingly noted that we covered the wide range of cellulose fibers--from the shortest (cotton) to the longest (flax)! Participants got to see the our cotton plants in the Guild Garden in bloom, learn about cotton bolls, try their hand at ginning cotton, creating puni, and then spinning on a charkha. Shout out to Guild members, Karen Anderson, Pat Maley, and Barbara Henshaw for helping making the day happen, and for Sew Valley, who participated in the Rust Belt Linen Project with the West End Community Garden for initiating the spark for it!
Dried flax from Frayed Knot Farm (and Hermes!)
Ripplin' off the seed pods
Water retting set up
Water retting after 3 days
Drying the retted flax
Cotton blossom in the Guild Garden
Spinning cotton on a book charkha
Learning how to spin cotton puni on charkha