Be the Bast

Anyone that reads this blog knows that in the past I have mostly worked with wool. However, going forward I will be working with more cotton, linen and bamboo. Getting a start on this change, I have been spinning linen and cotton.

Cotton on weaving bobbins

The bobbins shown above are cotton that was spun from a Hipstrings colorway and some other natural brown and white cottons. The bobbins are weaving bobbins (except for the brown TP roll bobbin), but work really well for winding off from a tahkli spindle. The image shown below is of cotton being spun on the Kromski wheel using a fast flyer and very little tension.

I find it easiest to spin cotton using a double-draft method. Here’s a link to a video that demonstrates how to double-draft: video I find it easiest to spin cotton from hand-carded punis (above).

Hand-dyed cotton on the fast flyer & standard bobbin

The linen that I am spinning was dyed by Inglenook Fibers, and is a colorway that I bought a couple of years ago and have had in my stash all this time.

Why so long? Frankly, it took until now to work up the mindfulness to spin flax. I was a little scared of it really, because I had heard that it was difficult to spin. There are many techniques for spinning flax fiber, including laying the strick, or fiber supply, on your lap in a damp towel while you spin. Another technique is to spin over the fold, lightly grasping the fiber supply with your hand. Using this technique, you lightly dampen your leading fingers so that you can apply a little moisture at the twist zone, while smoothing down the fiber. I am actually just holding the fiber bundle loosely with my back hand and smoothing the fiber while controlling the amount of twist that I let into the fiber supply. This seems to be working very well and I have completed spinning my first two ounces of flax fiber.

Linen (flax) singles

I plied the cotton and linen singles together – 2 of cotton to 1 of linen – and finished out the first skeins of this project with some lovely yarn that is destined for a summer-weight knitted top in the near future.

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