Processing Hemp Fibre

At Avacal September Crown event in early September I took a class on how to process hemp for fibre. The same techniques work for flax (linen) and nettle. The class was taught by Mistress Kataryna Tkach (her SCA name), who in her mundane life works with legal, licenced hemp for scientific study. Luckily, she has access to the “waste” plant material for fibre production and experimentation!

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Aster and Marigold Dyeing

Undyed, Indigo dyed, and Aster-Marigold dyed handspun wool

Undyed, Indigo dyed, and Aster-Marigold dyed handspun wool

I’ve been getting really interested in hand dyeing fibres using natural dyes lately (totally blaming Morrigan with Adventures In Block Printing and Lauren from Black Sheep Handspvn for this one) and have been eyeing my backyard for dyestuffs…

With fall approaching, the Aster flowers and Marigolds in my backyard were starting to wilt… so they were prime targets for my first experiment…

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Beginner Blackwork class

Beginner blackwork class started with a piece of graph paper

First blackwork embroidery

At Avacal’s September Crown, one of the classes I took was a beginner blackwork class with my Barony’s former Baroness (who also does super-beautiful embroidery!). I haven’t done blackwork before, partially because it looks so complicated, but also because I’ve always thought it was a bit later than any of my main costuming personas.

Our instructor definitely helped clear up that first thought though!

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Medieval Suspended Spinning using Distaffs

Master spinner demonstrates how to dress a medieval-style cone distaff with flax (linen)

Dressing a cone-shaped distaff with flax

While at Avacal September Crown (a SCA event) I took a class on using a distaff for suspended spinning. I didn’t quite get the idea behind suspended spinning (it kind of made my hand hurt pretty quickly) but I did enjoy using the distaff to control the fibre for spinning.

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