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Home processing Cotton and Linen on a small scale

 
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Ryan I know nothing about flax but I did find some tool plans.

http://www.woolgatherers.com/FlaxTools.html
 
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What no Akha?  Of course they are harder to find good ones while Tahkli and Russian style are all over the place.
I first read about the Akha here http://spindling.com/AkhaSpindle.html   And then I found one that was a touch heavy but once I got a really nice one yep I can sorta spin cotton on it... which means I am more successful then on my other spindles or wheels.
A great wheel with an accelerator head is great for cotton but alas mine is a direct drive and doesn't get the speed needed.  Some day I will get a dual purpose head from Bobbin Boy as those look really neat...  
 
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Here's a fun little video about someone who grew, spun, and wove her own cotton.

 
r ranson
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Another cotton one.

 
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:

Ryan M Miller wrote:Now I'm curious how forum members build their flax processing tools since they don't seem to be readily available from any major spinning wheel manufacture as of March 2021. Can most of processing equipment be built without expensive power tools?


That's the main reason why I keep my flax as a bunch of dry stalks. For processing flax sturdy, hard-wearing, tools are needed. I am not a wood-worker at all, I don't think I can make such tools. Yes I think that's possible without power-tools, in the old days they did it like that too ... but you need to know how (I don't). I hope to find one of those old tools, but until now I only saw old spinning wheels (and often those are for spinning wool, not the kind for spinning linen from flax).
The first step of the processing, 'retting', does not even need a tool. But knowledge is needed (like those ladies in Raven's video show they have).


I found back this, I wrote about three years ago. Since then I found out about ways to process flax without the use of those tools! Even without retting!

In my search for more information on the use of plant fibers I stumbled upon the Hunebedcentrum (museum about the prehistory in this region). I came there with the question: if they grew flax back then (the Neolithic) How did they process it into fiber? Not only did I get an answer (or, in fact, it was a suggestion, a guess, because there's no archaeological evidence), but also they told me I could become a volunteer, dress up as a 'Stone Age woman' and demonstrate the technique.

This technique for processing flax stems into thread/cordage without retting and using only stone tools and my own hands works fairly well! Also for stinging nettles there's a similar technique.
 
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There are a lot of information looking at ancient Egyptian sources.   Their tool tends to be a mallet or rock.  Little else until it gets to plying.

As far as we can tell, retting does seem to happen very early in most human cultures. By the time we are manufacturing stone tools, we can see evidence of retting.  The first nations around vancouver island were practicing traditional (pre-contact) retting of nettles until at least the 1970s so there are first hand accounts on how a stone tool based culture harvests bast fibre.

The book The Intentional Spinner has some paragraphs on watching them work the nettles.

Depending on the final use, they also harvested the nettle fibres green about the time it flowers.   This was good for cordage but took more labour to bet a thread fine enough for clothing than the retting method.
 
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