Saturday, June 30, 2012

Flax, though...

The quilter in me wants to learn how to spin cotton. (Did I mention that one of these days I'm going to try growing some cotton?  THAT could be an entire blog itself, trying to grow cotton in Iowa!)

I wrote earlier that I started to learn spinning because of quilting.  But I also wanted to honor my foremothers, who likely did some spinning.  My father's ancestors are all from Ireland, and my mother's all from Germany.   Neither brings cotton to mind, does it?

It seemed likely that my Irish ancestors would have spun flax into linen.  I didn't have much knowledge about spinning in Germany, however, so I went to do a bit of research.  (I'm a librarian; what can I say?)   And what did I find?

"The earliest known record of a flyer wheel appears in the form of a picture from southern Germany, dated from 1475-1480, and shows flax spinning."  (A history and evolution of quilting, by Lady Siobhan nic Dhuinnshleibhe;    Accessed 6-29-2012)

Yep.  Flax. Looks like I need to find more flax. (I have just a sample.)  

 I don't think I'll grow and process it for spinning, though--I've read about and seen that process and I'm not sure I have it in me! 
(An old-ish video from Canada briefly shows the process; videos on YouTube from the Hermitage in Pennsylvania give you a better, if longer, idea of the process.)

 But I have an even greater respect for ancestors and what they needed to go through to be clothed.  Amazing.

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