Traditional Art Of Processing Flax For Textiles

[Applause] greetings my friends Howard Ennis except from that our thousand I hope you're having an awesome day so I'm currently attending the Bentley would fair which is an amazing festival all things would related be season would Greenwood and forestry related it's an amazing event held in the South of England it's an event I'll actually link to in the description below should you want to find out more about the event now being at this festival over this weekend I've bumped into a good friend of mine that we actually met online his name is Alan brown and Alan is an expert when it comes to processing flax and metal for the intention of using it for a myriad of uses via textiles cordage etc and this is actually processes actually been around in some shape or form for thousands of years and it's a very very rare skill that kind of very few people have and I remember seeing Alan doing it online on another video and it was awesome that I've met him here and we kind of got talking and he's very kindly taking the time out to record a video who's gonna talk through the process of what he has to do so I hope you enjoyed this video where Alan's going to demonstrate how to process flax for a myriad of traditional uses so here we are guys with a friend of mine Alan Helen there how you do it yeah good man really nice to see you too so are you so I appreciate you taking the time out I know it's going to be a busy day today for you at the event what they're also sort of viewers my apologies if you hear background noise this is obviously a public event so you know it's the beginning of the data things are going to kick off so you all hear background noise so Alan Lux I do appreciate you taking the time to talk about this do you want to talk about the origins itself of kind of the process in flax have been using it for a myriad of uses yeah sure I mean I'm no historian on the on the subject but it seems as though flax in its wild form humans have been using for forty thousand years plus it's one of those plants that had been discovered that had wicked cordage in it and I think it's probably one of the first plants that was actually cultivated specifically by us so flax has been with humans for a long long time and its Latin name which I can't recall off the top of my head means the most useful plant and it really is its seeds are useful for eating making oils and full of fibers as well the actual plants so yeah very very useful plant and when we would have adopted early on so is this the original form here that we're looking at over here no it's a bit it's the terminology is all a little bit complicated in America they call it flax all the way through so you get flax oil flax seed I mean in England or Europe we tend to call flax this or unprocessed plant and then the finished item then becomes linen although linen could refer to a number of different materials but traditionally linen is associated with flax but in this but you also grow two types of linseed it's all the same plant has just been hybridized they're different ways so the one you still see growing in fields around England and the UK these days is the short form of flax which has grown specifically for the seed which you're going to use for oils and what-have-you and it's the same plant but it's hybridized to be tall and that's the one you go for with fiber and that you don't see grown in the UK hardly anymore the industry sort of fell away in the 50s but there are still flax growing regions France Belgium Holland have all traditionally been big big rows of flags so yeah it's the same plant but just use differently so your display is this all the stuff that's eventually being processed that's right out of like the in products yeah that's it so this is this is the fibers hidden away on the plant so basically the process you take you through is just to get rid of with your stuff you don't want and just be left up with the the line fibers and yeah so because they're very very long fiber compared to something like cotton which is a very short fiber because of its length it can be both spun really fine and it's also very very strong so yeah it was the traditional material if you making rugs or weaving that sort of thing flax is a very good warp thread to use so with this importantly you can use it for just a myriad of things basis right I'm Horace – textiles – exactly I mean there's all as we'll see as we go through this process is different grades of flax that you come out and you just adjust what you're going to use it for accordingly so this is your your very finest stuffs and really this is what you'd be saving this to use for weaving you know clothes that you would wear stuff against the skin it's going to be very very smooth and also the traditional things tablecloths and pillowcases sheets that sort of thing very very hard-wearing you know linen gets passed down through generations so it's a once you've got it woven it's it lasts a long time is very durable but yeah I mean you can make you make cordage you would have you make rope out of it basically everything you would need in your daily life in terms of cordage and yarn people would have grown themselves had just small pockets of their gardens or areas of common land whether you just put a little bit of flax in and that would keep you going you and your family going for the year so this is obviously harvested flax isn't it and that's for our original state so this is flats that I've grown up my allotment and the selling of this this was the first year I ever tried it and it was a beginner's luck I've got a very good crop out of it was very easy to grow just sowed the seeds and then that was it later I didn't even have to water a little tiny bit of weeding a bit of bindweed growing up it but essentially just let it do its thing I think it's about a hundred days and it starts to give this beautiful blue flower and with if you're obviously growing linseed for the seed you would let the seeds and mature all the way with flax the fibers already before the seeds are fully ripened so you're normally pulling it up and this so the seed you get off it isn't really viable you'll normally just leave a corner of your patch of flax to mature fully and that would be your seed for the following year so yeah when it's ready the flowers are starting to fade and the seed heads are starting to form at the talk you make a call and you just pull it and the thing with flax it's a very shallow shallow plant rooted plant so this is this is the roots down this end and you literally just tug it out the ground and it just comes out as easy as anything and so you just pull it out the ground and then tie it up in bundles and you've got a number of ways of of how you're going to do once it's dried you could just store it until such time as you're ready to ret it otherwise you can just go straight for the retting process there's all nuances that we're just working out which is which works best for us what I do is after I've picked it the first thing you have to do is take the seeds seed heads off and in order to do that you just put it through a little block with some nails and you just drop it in and pull it and it just flicks all the seed heads off and you can save those there'll be some some seed in there but yeah largely once you've done that the next step in the process is called retting and this is true with whether you're dealing with nettles or hemp or any of their best fibers and so what you're basically doing is in flax the fibers is the very outer part of the plant and inside it is this calll and you're really wanting to get rid of the core and just be left with the fibers but when it's just freshly harvested the fibers and the chorus or bound together with these pectins a sort of gluey thing that holds it all tight so you want to try and break that down and retting is just an old world for rotting so you're just basically introducing bacterial action and just the plants starting to break down the fibers are loosening up and it's you know it's a bit of an art knowing when it's ready with that what does that actually in tell there's that in so leaving it on the cross yeah there's two different ways there's the faster way and one argue arguably that gives you better finer fibers is water wetting and that would be either submerging this the bundles under water in a pond or in a slow flow extreme but it's quite a smelly process and traditionally flax growers were pushed out to the margins of anywhere because it was lettings quite stinky business however you can also do ret which is the way that we go for just cause it's a lot simpler and that just involves spreading the the plant the stems out on the grass and just letting the morning and evening jus wet it and it's a bit slower it takes maybe three weeks as opposed to a few days but it's very manageable you don't you're not going to lose it so quickly the water reading is quite easy if you keep it in the water too long you might find that your fibers fibers are segregated but this way you can just keep checking just keep turning it over and what you're checking for to see when it's red is you just pick up a few stems and you're just going to do it by hand you just sort of fiddle around with with the plant scrunch up and you see the stuffs falling away is the call and immediately you have been left with with the fibers and really that if this the stuff in the middle which we'll call the shy or the pith of it of the plant if that just falls away easy and it's not sticking to the fibers too bad that normally tells you it's ready at which point you pick it up off the grass and you can just let it dry out in the Sun and you can store it indefinitely as long as it's not damp or wet that will that will stay good and in fact with if you're spinning spinning the fibres of flax you normally just process as much as you're going to need in any given day or couple of days because even though we've rested it and got rid of a lot of the pectins it's there's still some in there and if when the fibers get damp they sort of re stick to each other so if you go through all the steps of combing and separating the fibers and then you stored them for a long time like that also glue back and you just have to run them through the combs again but yeah the usual ways you just harvest in little bits and pieces and it keeps it more manageable so this is this as I say this was ratted last year and it's just been sitting in an outhouse for the last year and it's still good nothing's gone for it or nibbled it so once you once you've got a bit you want a process you then got to start smashing it up really and trying to free the fibers from it and the first step in that process is using something called a flax grade this is one is knocked up myself but you really it can be as simple you can just do it with a mallet you can just have a couple of bits of wood like that so it crunches down and hit it with a stake called smash it with your hands do it like that it's just all these bits of care or really just to make it that little bit more efficient but the basic process is dead simple you just trying to lose that lose the core of the plan whichever way you can in fact if I just going through out these little lot so you've got the pieces here this is yeah and this just little blocks really just to demonstrate how simply it can be done and then with something like this you just you're going to sort of smash the core up just manually just by the lifting and just using an edge of this block of wood just to break it up a bit so this is just better crude a way of just doing it exactly right just just to show that you don't need any any expense of the heart you know the expensive bits of kit to do it and obviously originally this is we would have probably just processed it quite simply by hand but you can see the shy is falling away just by manipulating it and already that's getting softer and you can see sort of bundles of fibre appearing so what we'll do is we'll then is we'll I'll show you how it works through the flat breaker and I support a flex break and basically it's just gonna smash it up for us in a bit more of an efficient manner convention has it that you try and keep the route ends together and the seed head ends together because apparently that on a microscopic level there is a certain twist to a flax plant just the way it grows so it once does curve in a particular direction so if you keep the ends clearly together all the way through when it comes to spinning you can set it up the right way and you'll be working with the natural natural twist of the fiber although that said I think you have to be a lot better spin of the night to notice nuances like that so with this process you doing double entire flat face yes that's rotten yeah yeah this step in the process wouldn't wouldn't work for nettles for example the nosiness the stiffness and hardness of the branches makes it well you could do but you need a much heavier break I don't know much about hemp I watched a few bits of footage of how it's done and they seem to have a break that's almost like the size of a log real big hefty smashing thing which that would work for nettles but with this it's actually quite a delicate plant that doesn't take much for them for that core just to fall away and what's coming out termed a few things like called shy and that's used for animal bedding horse bedding and stuff from the industrial scale which is one of the beauties of this fiber is that it's just this so little wastage and really you could take it all the way through from seed to the to a finished yarn without even having used any additional water other than the rainfall for the plant to grow and every bit of it is used so compared to something like cotton which has notoriously difficult to grow without pesticides and fertilizers and everything else and the whole process takes a lot of loads of water to do and I think that's part of the reason why flax is making a bit of a resurgence because it's just environmentally a whole but better way to go and easy to go on a small level you know you can you can literally I grow this on my allotment little corner of garden you can you can do it so you don't need any expensive equipment you can see now it's with that korban it's starting to become much softer and more flexible but I found that it's worth going going for each stage the more you can get out at stage the easier it gets so now that we work for the first step I process Allen with a mixer okay the next step is called sketching there's all these great names to do with her processing and sketching is basically just the next step to just try and knock more of this loose shy away and basically it's some sort of board either with a V at the top some way of protecting your hand and then you use a sketching sword and I made all the bits and pieces of broken ax handle but it did give me an insight into like in Europe Scandinavia everyone would have made their own bits of kit out of what they had around the local blacksmith could knock up for them so there's all loads of wonderful variations on how people did it and you know anything that works that's what you want really so for this you just I thought it was a superfluous step when I was reading up on how how the process worked but natural factors really as effective you just sort of scraping down the fibers and it knocks it out but it also starts to align the fibers a bit so it's like a rough combing as well so at what point do you feel at this step the process that you've kind of got to where you want to wait you're looking for when stuff stopping to force you know there's no more stuff really falling out of it and if we go through it you can see that the little bits that are stuck in still or just where the retting might not being complete or they just tangled up a bit but largely the vast majority of the shiz out of there now and I would say that's probably good enough I don't think we're going to get much more out of it says this your circus trick we're gonna lay on top within here yeah so the final step in the process is called hackling and these are called hacklin cones and they are basically just glorified cones and I think that's must be the Turk where they tell me dogs hackles are rising it's referring to this and basically these are again that could have been made as sort of way nails sticking up through old bits of woods you see them in all different shapes and sizes but yeah these for these ones I'll just use some mattress needles mounted in a block of wood and so these are my widest setting and basically you're just going to start putting the putting the fibres through that and what it's going to do is pull out any tangled bits and hopefully a bit the last remaining bits of shy so basically we're just dropping it dropping the end and start on the ends and you work in and you can see what's been left behind a little bits that were tangled have doubled up on themselves and there's really two two terms to describe what you're what you're left with when you're doing this process in my hand this would be called the line fiber so this is going to be the finest higher grade stuff all the longer fibers will be left and the stuff that gets caught in the combs is called the toe and that it's not wastage because all this is going to be used but you'll just adjust what your going to do with it so this would be for the line fibers going to be used for your clothes that you're going to wear tablecloths bed sheets so anything that you need soft and the toe you could use for a myriad of things perfect for making cordage for rope sacking I mean there's like you I would definitely go back through this a couple more times I mean there's long line fibers in there that I've immediately pulled back out and just reintroduce into the into the bundle [Applause] so really is in essence working like a normal hair brushes exactly right yeah and yeah I mean amazing thing about flax fibers is the more you process it and more and more hair light they become and that's where the term flaxen-haired comes from it it's almost indistinguishable from hair is this a secretly a long beard that's for seeds I do have to use these on my beard but no cone will cut it but there really is a lot that comes out isn't it yeah working with all the fibers the the toe outweighs the the lion fiber quite significantly but the fact that you you can still use the toe is brilliant as there's no wastage is such did you feel like it's almost ready now then yeah it's starting to run through I can feel there's not that much catching now so I'll definitely say that's that steps done I'll pull that toe off and like I say I'd go back through that but I'll just put it behind me for the moment and then what we need to do is just change tackles sets the tone for that hackles yes that's right go down to the next grade they're just same sketch just a bit closer together and then you just go over again and this should be less less being pulled out each each time you move so these are staged you're just more closer together that's right yeah yeah yeah it's starting to slide through nice and easy now so right and then the final step will be to just use the finest set of hackles and these the fine set is just a set of dog combs which interestingly the guy bought them off said the company that makes these dog combs what originally hackle making all our business 100 years ago and the bottom went out of the flax trade so they moved over to using dog bones making dog combs and now their dog combs are becoming the spoke pattern again it's gone full circle [Applause] [Applause] so to reiterate all this wastage is basically reuse that's right year and there's I mean this this wastage is finer than the first wastage so you you know you could be quite organized and separate out the grades of total mr. keep it all organized that way but yeah and really define define one I mean the job is largely done enough that there's just a few tiny little bits of wit where the calls still stuck to the fiber some of those you may just tug out when you're actually spinning it but the more you can get out the better and what's gets that down to the writing is that yes down yeah I mean with retting like I say it's a balance between because you're rotting so that all the time you're reading the fibers are slowly degrading so you just want a nice balance for ease of use and quality of fiber so you're always going to get a little bit stuck but really the majority is gone and it's yeah over etting is the worst because then you you chop it up and there's no fibers in there at all and I find it much better to have fibers and have to do a little bit more work than lose them which is really cutting and that I guess can only come with experience them okay that's right yeah they're in it the more you realize okay yeah I mean it's to say I've really found that same with nettles is the material totally teaches you at the beginning I was like oh why can't someone just give me a definitive it's three weeks reading and you know that's it but it's everything everything's very go use your eye and you go but I don't know what to compare it but yeah after you've done it once and I could just keep checking the fibers and they're they're you know they're still there and so you can gauge it from it and I mean I think this first year was beginner's luck for me because this is actually really lovely lovely flax I'm getting and then when you've gone through this final set of hackles that's it that's what we're left with is a beautiful long line fibre soft soft as hair that much toe but as I said if I went back through this toe there's a lot of toes in the air and as you can see there's some long fibers in there so what I'd do is probably just spend a little bit of time just roughly aligning it back to itself and then I'll probably go back up a set a size of hackles and just go back through you can see if I worked about that would be a you know a little bit more to add back into the good pile and also the more you get some more stuff you can get out of the toad the easier is to work with that as well and you can just do it by hand it's just literally these last few stubborn bits of bits of shine now of course if you if you wanted to make you know the traditional sort of bushcraft cordage this is going to be beautiful and I'm not sure I don't know much about archery bill although I do know flax fibers do make good bow strings and I don't know whether that primarily made from the long fine stuff or some of this stuff but yeah it's all really really beautiful good fibers so as an example is this a sort of import you can end up with that's right I mean this is so fine Irish linen and I presume was maiden on machines but certainly people were capable of making this quality material for a long long time and just gives the example of how fine it can be spun and you can see in the fiber just the different types of color just that was from it you know different bundle I did earlier I think that's the one we've just done so this light goes from gold and white to a sort of brown and normally with linen I mean you can dye it so that you can totally diet but if naturally if that was spun and woven up it would it would gradually move towards whiteness just by being left in the sun's of bleach and it's all basically weathered and I've seen photos from Irish linen producing factories where they weave these big big sheets reams of material and that's all spread out on the grass and again apparently they were watchtowers in the corner of these fields with guards twenty-four hours a day so no one came in Nicola and yeah I think I've heard that it was left in the grass and the grass would even grow up through it just to bleach her out Sun bleacher and soften it up so it will over time gradually move towards white and again it's a lovely quality because you don't need to bleach it would I mean that this will wit I imagine this would retain a bit of color you'd have to you'd have to boil it in a soda ash and stuff to get rid of it completely but it's such a range of colors you get are so beautiful that really is I like working with it just in its natural state about how you would process the toe to spin with it and one simple quick and easy ways you just put a little bit out and just use a set of wool carders you basically just get a bit spread it out on the card on the brush and just out these are ultrafine dog yeah I mean like say these are wool carders but they fine with nettles and with flax it's they're really useful for dealing with the toes getting it into form that's that's hand hand the ball for spinning with and what this does is just or what it does brush out some of the shy which is good and it's basically just aligning the fibers roughly parallel to each other but yeah effectively it is like an even finer set of hassle comb so that rough tangled so just with a bit of combing is actually leaving you with a some lovely fibers a little bit of stuff in there but we won't worry about that and then basically what you just roll it back up on itself [Applause] and again I could have spent a little bit more time rushing to get rid of those bits of eight they are a big problem and then yeah just I mean for most of the history of humankind this is how we've been spinning on on drop spindles the spinning wheel was only really a sort of medieval invention so back in the day everything every bit of material sails tarps coverings all would have been spun we've been woven from the flax that's been spun this way and again I find spinning was just I just love doing it and I just think it's kind of one of those essential but bushcraft skills that we would that you that you should learn about you could literally go out into the wild spend a bit of time processing nettles and if you had a drop spindle in your pocket you could be creating thread to stitch and mend your clothes you know it's a bush costs go I never thought about you know yeah me neither and we're talking earlier about the pectins that are still in that sort of gluey substance that still fibers and when you're spinning well in fact most plant fibers but if you spin and wet add a little bit of moisture they kind of cling the fibers cling to each other in it it plant fibers are all stronger when they're wet as wise well good for sales and nets and stuff but I just lick it and then add a bit of twist you just draft down a bit from your fluffy fibers at the top and when it's about the right thickness for what you want you just let the twists go up and the twist just locks all the fibers together and so rather than sliding past each other now they're now locked in place and you just draft the thickness that you want really and then you just let the twist go up you controlling the fit that's right yeah you're forming the thickness and then you're locking it down forming the thickness locking it down just keep adding a bit of spin I'm just gonna wet it I just need to apologize about the chainsaw in the background there was a natural demonstration going on where he's doing some carving with a chainsaw so you're going to demonstrate just very briefly in terms of this spinning it is this kind of like the the alternate way of yeah so what I just want to show you is how you cope with once you've got your long line fibers how you'd actually go about spinning it and I remember looking at old paintings and stuff from the past and you often see women standing next to these sorts of arrangement I didn't know what it was candy floss or what was going on but this Lisa this is called it this stuff and they come in all shapes and sizes but basically it's just a way of organizing your fibers in such a way that they're not Bennett you spend so long combing them out you don't want them to get all tangled and disorganized so basically what you do is you when you've gathered enough of these lion fibers you sort of spread or there's number of ways you can deal with it but this way in particularly is you you fan out the fibers in a semicircle so you can see they're really spread out and then you would go across with another layer spreading them out on top of that and then another layer spreading out so you'd have this sort of Criss crossing network of fibers and then you'd get a cone of some sort and you just keep the the tips of all you'll spread out held together and then you just roll this along the table and the fibers will basically spread out and just be gathered gathered around the cone and then you just tie them up to the top and there's a whole rich symbolism to like if you were a Mary you'd have a blue band and if you were an unmarried woman you'd have a red band I mean the the thing that I've realized we're getting into it is just how integral this would have been to our daily lives just just since time through hundreds of generations in order to produce enough yarn Lords and make the stuff you need you really have to be going at it all the time so you would be carrying the drop spindle around with you women would often carry a portable version of a distaff which they would just sit into a belt in their pocket and you would literally go about your day with this hanging around and it was madness going down to feed the chickens you would spin a bit on the way and you'd stop and chatting every spare moment you just just use it to spin but like I say in the Middle Ages when the the spinning wheel started to make an appearance it just marries up beautifully for using this and what you do is you'd start your wheel spinning and that would start adding twist to your fiber and then you just take an end from your distaff and just add it in and let a little bit of twist go up into the fiber and then basically you're just using one hand you could you can spin just using one hand and I think back in the day people could use two spinning wheels and spin from either hand but basically you're letting the twist go up into the fibers and you're controlling it with your finger finger and thumb here and you just open it slightly and a little bit of twist will run up ahead and just grab the next bit bits of available fibers and then you pull those down and then you let the spin go up that would grab the next bit and you'd pull so it's like a continual feed and you just spin let the twist run up spin let it run up and you could just go it unbroken in one session just start there and by the used up all your fiber and yeah and would it'll be as yarn on your wheel and then you're ready to start doing them whatever you want with it weaving crocheting and the thing about a plant fiber and flax particularly is because it's not the non elastic at all it's very good for setting the warp on the loom it's strong and if it's spun well it's pretty smooth and so because of its strength you would often use this as the walk even if you used wool as the web so you're making a rug you would use them a plant fiber of some sort as with your underlying warp structure so there you go guys that is all right for this video Allen I can't thank you enough thanks ed seriously he's taking a lot of time at today's a busy day ahead of them doing demonstrations at the Bentley would fit very clients at a time out to show the inspire process so seriously thank you what's gonna polish is about a chain source in the background friends I change towards jewel going on Chainsaw Massacre but this is a public event going on so this is a lot of stuff in the periphery now in terms of connecting with Allen now believe you set up a Facebook group that's become quite popular doesn't it yeah and that's really specifically dealing with metals it's broad net is for textile open building that with friend shot for me by showing the nettle process but it's all inclusive all fibers plant five is that sort of thing as a space for that skills because it could be considered a bit of a niche thing Alan is doing but a popularity is a scoring massively in the short space of time how many members of the group got this plus five and a half thousand classes in to see a few weeks yeah and that's just in a few weeks you know that's how popular this current topic is so needless to say I'm going to put a link below to Alan's Facebook group is this summer that interests you which I think you should do but do you make that decision if it's someone that interest you and in and around its kind of topic and that a shadow without go and check the group out if you like what you see that obviously joined a group I know I'm going to be joining but a partaken of discussions this is open my eyes up to kind of the possibilities that are out there using natural materials whatever your end use maybe pick textiles cordage etc so once again Alan thank you so much thanks ed thanks for coming down for taking the time it's good to meet up in person we kind of connect to the line indeed yeah now I couldn't believe it was like YouTube coming to life before my eyes no it was it was go see them online as rows so you know it's good to kind of meet up in person once again thank you for taking the time now and so once again I will put a link below to Alan's Facebook group please there you go check that out and I hope you enjoyed this video who knows maybe in the future we might do another collaboration laugh to do some other stuff he's part of a wider outfit based in Sussex in the south of England and they're just doing some amazing stuff protects us from natural dyes weaving I mean you name it anything and everything to do with it and they're here today and they poked my eyes up as well as Alan in terms of Kamui other things that you can do so who knows hopefully in the future we might dove a little bit more deeper into that so hope you enjoyed the video as always please do who connect with me an Instagram I posted up pictures and photos from my time here with Alan that shows things up in a lot more kind of thing so I'll put a link below to Alan's Facebook group please go check that out and as always from Alan and myself I hope whatever you do it you have a blessed day abliss a week ahead peace out [Applause]


  1. primrozie

    Thank you so much for this demonstration! I've had it in my heart to learn this process and up comes this video! I have wanted to develop another skill and this lovely plant is so useful. I had not known HOW useful until this video.
    I purchased flax seed for spring planting but I'm not sure if it's the proper kind. I was hoping to have it for both fiber for clothing and seed for grinding into meal. I have dietary issues.
    If you could direct me to a book or manual that I could use in addition to this video it would be much appreciated.
    Again, thank you! You made me so happy 🙂

  2. Kelly McNichols

    Loved the video & info. Do you need a Standard Temp & Soil Type To Grow, To Harvest & such, because I've noticed those I see are in Cooler Temps/Weather & seem to be more if a Forested Area. I live in Texas & Would like to know, So I Can Figure How & What Adjustments I'd Need To Make In Order Get Going. My plan is to go to a more Desert Area (nights & early mornings will have more Dew than mid & 50 to 80 miles surrounding Central Tex region. I'd love a little more insight. Than k s again for your video & sharing your knowledge.

  3. Bushcraft Dads

    Great film zed and Allan I have watched your three cottage films on your channel tonight all real well presented and I realy felt I lert something.

  4. Lee Stoffer

    Absolutely awesome video mate, Alan's delivery is so engaging and interesting, what a lovely fella and incredibly deep and overlooked subject. Got me totally fascinated, cheers dudes.👍

  5. Dutch Courage

    Tnx a ton Zed and obviously Alan, i have been wondering about this for several years and it was amazing to see it explained so clear and detailed, for my generation and quite possibly also that of my parents (possibly even some of our grandparents) it's like rediscovering our past. And i agree with Alan in regards to this being a bushcraftskill, now as we know it used to be the skill women were occupied with more so than males, but in our 'gender neutral' (cough lol) day and age that means us men should not shun away from it. esp. since it was largely the spinning that the women did, the rest of the process was more then likely a family affair (and which male doesn't like hacking away with a sword) …
    Little factoid thrown in, one thing i remember from an old painting, was that women actually spon with one hand, they used the other hand to hold the baby while they breastfed it … and the process might as well have found a way in our actual DNA imprinted knowledge, because how else would one explain the popularity of the fidget spinner 😉 … joke added for free …

    Hope to see more collaboration in the future, as i would love to find out about nettle processing (much easier to come by in the 'bush' than flax) and also dies … was actually pretty amazed to see the dies that they made in the preview bits, it's sort of like our understanding of dinosaurs; we (or at least I, based on what picture material there is) imagine this largely grey and earth tone type past, but it looked it may have been quite colorful instead.

  6. Kath Ohara

    Brilliant. You are a genius at these how to style interview videos and really get the best out of the time with such talented, skilled people. I learn soooo much each time. Allan, I can't imagine how much time and sore hackle scratched fingers went into refining your skills but thank you for sharing so generously. If only all of YouTube was this good 😉

  7. balista

    absolutely fascinating Zed, so that where the term "toe rag" must come from.about ten yrs ago i found a single stem of flax growing in my garden,such beautiful flower i looked it up saved the seed from that one plant and sowed them, i now do it every year and have 1000s of seeds.i have tried making cordage from them with little joy, now i know how, mine are about a foot tall so must be seed strain, will check his page out,thanks for another great vid. peace.

  8. Gary Morse

    Very interesting video. very educational Wow you find some very interesting people and they are very generous with their knowledge. Thanks Zed and Allen.

  9. Sara Skold

    Thank you Zed for posting this. I spin wool and weave /knit crochet I have often thought of growing my own clothing. I never thought to use nettles will try to grow some flax next season

  10. Pondguru

    Well done for uploading such a detailed and niche video – so many channels just go with the click bait for views and earnings but it is this sort of thing which means so much more to viewers who genuinely want to learn and it's much appreciated.
    I did think that I was going to see Allan's beard become part of the yarn when he was spinning it as it looked so similar to the flax, lol
    The hand spinning method would often involve something called a lead 'spindle whorl' to maintain the spin momentum which was used from ancient times to late middle ages and they are often found while metal detecting (and they are sometimes nicely patterned too).
    Great work again Zed bringing a true craftsman to interested viewers. Groovy.


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