The Workshop

Bast Fibres, sorry, Fibres. We were the noisy ones, so noisy that Jacey came to find out what we were doing. Several times. Sometimes we were pounding fibres – the flax strick needed only hackling to be ready to spin, but pounding the finished skeins with the beautiful wooden mallet on a chunk of the tree that fell on the studio softens and polishes the yarn.

Sometimes we were singing. But most of the time we were laughing. Monday and Tuesday AM were flax; on Tuesday we braved the storm (there was a tornado warning!) to boil our skeins. The Event Organisers were not completely happy allowing us to play with matches, but we did not burn the place down (we did borrow Jacey’s sign to use as a windbreak, though).

Tuesday pm was hemp, retted strick and decorticated top. Some of our handspun became rope: 12 singles became 3 strands became one thin but incredibly strong cord.
The singles are twisted into strands

The strands are twisted into rope

We spun on Balkan spindles, which have two whorls to contain the unruly flax singles; when the whorlsnare
removed ( they slide off), the spindle is used as a weaving shuttle.

We learned about other bast fibres: we spun ramie, we pounded soaked ganpi until what seemed was thick white fibre opened into the most amazing mesh

We showed our work at The Workshop Showcase on Wed evening; not the most packed or
most colourful table, but again we were noisy – we demonstrated pounded ganpi and flax ( as quietly as we could), and we, ah, encouraged people to come and watch our rope-making.

— Post From My iPhone


About sarahw

A zoologist who draws, a spinner who weaves, a person who thinks.
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4 Responses to The Workshop

  1. cyndy says:

    Looks like it was a great workshop!Thanks for posting about it!


  2. Marcy says:

    Omibob, I can't tell you how jealous I am. What a great class. I just wish you lived closer so I could come over and pick your brainz.


  3. Betty says:

    Hi there ! after prowling the internet I finally found your site which seems to give much more information about hand processing hemp, I have a hemp harvest it is smallish and I want to process it into fiber at the moment it is retting, I would love detailed instructions on where i go from here, I dry then break then scrunch then spin as far as I can find out, but just how do you do these steps! I would love some help or if you can point me in the right direction that would be wicked too.


  4. sarah says:

    Betty, I'd email you but you've concealed your email address in Blogger so I can't contact you at all. If you change that and then comment again I'll get back to you; otherwise join the spinners and fibre people at, where I'm sarahw.


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