Thursday, 2 October 2008

Flax Crusher

In the style of Jack Hargreaves' programme, "Out of Town, a favourite of my childhood, I presented this "unknown" object and asked if anyone could identify it. Sadly, no one posted, even with silly ideas!

It was, if my memory serves me well, labelled as a Flax Crusher. I would assume that you laid the stems across it, then when the unridged arm was in place, you drew the stems through and were left with the required fibres. I "think". If you know better, please let me know!

Here is the most wonderful Youtube video (a link via an excellent blog too) detailing the preparation of wool and flax for distaff spinning, in a Serbian village. Unfortunately I don't speak Serbian, but hey ho . . .

Flax has to be "retted" - that is, soaked in water for a length of time to release the flax fibres, which are then dried, processed and used to spin with. The fibres are used for linen and have been used for some 5,000 years. Flax fibres come in various thicknesses - some are used for linen fabrics and lace, heavier ones are used for twine and rope making and flax fibre is also used in the manufacture of bank notes, according to Wikipedia. I'll let you check it out for yourself:


Mam said...

Dear Jennie, I'm commenting on (I think) 3 posts. I just don't get here often enough and you are so prolific with posts and photos. Scrumptious, wonderful photos. I've enjoyed the tour today.
Your autumn harvest looks wonderful. I think you must work from dawn to dark to get all your goods preserved and put up. Thank God for freezers - it used to be a lot more difficult without them. And your recent baking efforts are amazing.

Sian said...

Hello from a fellow Taffy. Kim (oakmoon) has said before that you have a beautiful blog and indeed she is right :o)

I am going to give spinning flax a go quite soon. I have always kept to animal fibres before as I have been told that plant fibre is difficult to work with. I will let you know how it turns out.

Bovey Belle said...

Hi Nancy - if I wake up early, then you get a good blog post! That's the secret - oh, and I have quite a cache of photos too. The preserves are done in batches normally, so I get a system going. The baking happens probably every other day - the biccies are lasting well (hob nobs) - Gabby took ginger biccies and the choc. chip ones up to Uni with her.

Hi Sian - my Welsh blood is well-diluted, but we've lived here for over 20 years now so I'm almost a local and I still have Welsh relatives in the valleys. Let me know how you get on with spinning the flax. I've seen someone do it in a museum, but not tried it myself though we used some strange yarns when I did my spinning course. I've seen nettle thread spun and that was SO soft - like silk.