Linen meeting. April 2, 2017
The linen discussion group met on Sunday, April 3. We needed short introductions, as each time we have both new people and returning people. The question of the day was, “Have you spun linen?” Mia McDavid, who has woven with linen, took the recent linen spinning class with Wendy Johnson so she could say yes. Marilyn Moore, no. Andrea Myklebust weaves, spins, and now, even GROWS flax for linen. Plus she makes goat cheese, which she shared with the group. Sorry, I forgot the goats’ names!
Karin Maahs has spun, but not flax. Barbara Heath is not in the spinning world, but added, “I will spin someday.” Beth McLaughlin, Anne Rasmussen, Jan Hayman, and Robbie LaFleur—nope. Maggie Vogel-Martin hasn’t spun flax on a wheel yet, but has used a finger-plaiting technique to make a sort of yarn.
Margarita has spun linen on a spindle. Lisa said she done just about everything fiber-related, but no spinning yet. Steve Pauling has spun all sorts of animal fibers, paper, and cassette tape, but linen is his missing link.
A lively discussion of old versus new linen led to no perfect conclusions. Lisa said that she warped her loom with black linen of an indeterminate age, and discovered that one thread in each bundle of her warp threads snapped — complete dry rot. Barbara Heath resonated with the problem of old yarn. “I tell any of my students that if they buy a loom with warp on it, rip it off.” On the other hand, Jan Hayman mentioned that she read somewhere that linen produced nowadays doesn’t have the same quality as in years past, so that sometimes older linen might be better than new.
Marilyn Moore mentioned that to strengthen linen you can put it in a small bucket, and then put the small bucket in a larger bucket of water with a lid on it. Barbara was a bit skeptical; how could the humidity get to the inner parts of the cone? She said what she would do is wind off loose skeins on a swift, and then humidify them. Because, she added, “That would be a ton of work, and anything that’s a ton of work will usually be effective.”
We are planning a linen exhibit on the WGM wall gallery at the end of the year (tentatively October 16-the end of the year). Start thinking about a linen project to display. Before that time, we will hold a mangling meeting. Learn how to mangle, and perhaps prepare your own piece for exhibition.
Mia McDavid offered to compile a list of sources for purchasing linen (After mid-May). If you have a favorite place from which to order linen yarn, please email Mia at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reminder: Marian Dahlberg sells Belgian linen, 16/2.
Mia McDonald took Wendy Johnson’s flax spinning class. It was great. There will be a summer class on August 12. Sign up now!
Andrea Myklebust said that when a field trip is held to her farm. participants could see distaffs and even make a distaff.
We had a show and tell of linen. Karin Maah’s brought fine linen pieces that her grandmother had woven for her trousseau. Not everyone has kitchen towels as beautiful as these. You can see the towel hanging strip when you turn over the edge with the monogram.
Marilyn Moore bought some beautiful skeins of linen while on vacation in Florida. It was sold as linen knitting yarn. Confess: how many of you also come home with yarn from nearly every vacation?
Marilyn also had a skein of “filler yarn” from the Textile Center garage sale. What cold it be used for? Beth McLaughlin had just the answer, for the needle lace technique she learned in Karen Searle’s class. Marilyn promptly gave Beth the yarn, to feed her new obsession.
Barbara Heath has been weaving with hemp; she says that weaving with hemp and linen are the same.
Remember to attend the WGM member meeting on Thursday (April 23), when Beth McLaughlin will be taking about linen conservation.
And—bonus information—at least it was to me. Angora goats give you mohair. Angora rabbits give you angora. Mohair is from a goat.
Next discussion: June 4.
Respectfully submitted, Robbie LaFleur