THE LINEN SYMPOSIUM

22 08 2016

GREETINGS

It’s a lovely morning with cool temps and cool breezes.  I guess that this will change when the sun comes over the mountain but for now its enjoyable.

THE LINEN SYMPOSIUM

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It was exciting, educational and so much fun.  I saw old friends

Myself Jill who has moved close to be and Jody who I haven't seen in years who lives in Maine.

Myself Jill who has moved close to be and Jody who I haven’t seen in years who lives in Maine.

and met some new ones. I took a small notebook full of notes and lots of pictures.  I participated in the hands on and enjoyed touching fabrics from the late 1700’s.  The Linen Study Group outdid themselves and I thank them for their years of hard work.  The staff  at Old Deerfield Village out did themselves also.  It was the perfect place for this venue.

I especially enjoyed Christian and Johannes Zinzendorf (authors of The Big Book of Flax) who were the key-note speakers and delighted us with stories and linen pieces of the past. I have bought flax seeds and some flax to spin from them and even in our voice  and e-mail conversations they were delightful.    Jeff Silberman shared his experiences in growing flax and the benefits of student help.  He also shared some frightening statistics about how much wool and plant materials like hemp and flax are used here.  The numbers are frightfully low.  Polyester and man-made fibers are in the top numbers.  These materials are mostly made in foreign countries so do not benefit us much..  Cassie Dickson of the John Campbell School ( I have wanted to go there since I started Spinning) and I had a wonderful conversation on how she grows and retts flax, and we chatted about the school  which is about an hour south of Ashville.

I especially enjoyed Becky Ashenden who runs a very famous weaving school in Shelburne Falls.  Her weaving is beyond exquisite .  She talked about how her weaving career started and talked about Keeping Traditions.  A very important thing to me.  This is why I teach spinning and am so interested in the Linen process.  Today there is not much flax grown in the world.  It was quite popular years ago but since the time of man-made polyester its popularity has gone down.  It’s important to keep the knowledge of this unbroken.    In just a couple of generations this knowledge can be lost. Almost anyone can grow flax and I will be among the numbers next year.  Getting the plot ready this fall will be a priority.  

An old friend Florence Feldman Wood author of The Spinning Wheel Slueth  presented a wonderful slide show of Flax spinning Wheels.

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Patricia Bishop of TapRoot Fiber Lab  of Nova Scotia talked at length about her business and when her Flax would be available to wholesale.  In my small business years ago I sold a lot of Flax Stricks and enjoyed spinning and weaving with the hand-spun.  I hope to add that to my online shop when it is available.

Justin Squizzero of The Marshfield School of Weaving in Vermont showed a video of his weaving techniques and showed us  the linen sheets he wove.   He is a great weaver He even wove the material for the shirt he is wearing.  He works on a barn loom.

Justin wearing his woven shirt and the linen sheets he wove

Justin wearing his woven shirt and the linen sheets he wove

There was a coupleof hours  where you could see spinning and try all the steps in getting flax ready for spinning.  We were able to see all different kind of equipment some from the late 1600’s.

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THE FIRE BAG

Another interesting thing from the past is THE FIRE BAG.  I had never heard of such a thing but there were some on display and many pictures of them  They were usually made of linen and kept somewhere where you could grab them in case of a fire.  Usually they were filled with gold coins and your important things and you would grab it and run with it in a fire.  Very sensible.  Below is a poor quality picture of one that had the owners name embroidered on it.

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Those were just a few of the wonderful presenters that talked with us.  In the future I will share more of The Symposium.

Many thanks for reading my blog today and I hope you enjoyed hearing about the Symposium as much as I did attending it.  Hope there will be another one.  Carole  


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