Sunday, September 27, 2009
In contrast to the milk fiber, the flax is very clearly made of plant material. It is slightly rough to the touch and brings instantly to mind the feel of grass or rope. It was a bit daunting to plan on spinning this fiber since most of my skills tend towards wool and similar materials. Flax can be spun wet or dry, and after a quick note off to the Bohemian Knitter, herself, I figured I might as well spin it dry to get the best comparison to how I'm spinning everything else lately.
The flax actually spun quite easily. I used a worsted draw on it, smoothing the irregular strands together as I went. There were some little bits that fell off or flew away, but what was really interesting was that it was a little bit warm while I was spinning. As I got a little toasty and sweaty, the flax in my hand actually got softer. I can see how spinning wet would be very different! And that of course tempts me to get some more to try it.
I finished with around 20 yards of spun flax. The yarn itself feels very sturdy. I washed and whacked the skein--not because I thought this would set the twist (because it is plant material and not wool) but rather I wanted to see how it would behave wet, and if a little extra finishing would soften it at all. It soaked up a lot of water easily, wrung out well and dried fast. But after it was just as tough as before. It predictably has no loft to it at all and it lacks the instant softness of spun cotton.