Last Sunday, Jim and I went out to one of our favorite places- the Aurora Colony. It was time for the annual Aurora Spinning Wheel Showcase which happens every March. The weather was very pleasant. I really wanted to go this year as they were featuring how flax is turned into fibers that can be spun into thread. I wanted to learn how this really happens.
Some of the vintage equipment out in the barn for processing flax. See the big bundle of dried flax?
Oregon had quite a flax industry in the 1900's. It was very labor intensive and when WWII broke out, it pretty much ended the flax business in our state. A native flax was found growing here by Lewis and Clark. There is some interest in starting the industry up again.
More vintage items....
This young man showed us all the steps from the dried stalks to the linen. When Jim asked him how he learned to do this....his answer was...the internet! Our modern times. He is pushing the long stalks through the chopper. The seeds fall out and it starts to break down the flax.
Next he pounded it against this board. It was interesting because the color started to change and of course, it was getting softer.
He wound the flax strands around his hand and pulled it through the spiked pieces of boards. The strands continued to be become softer and softer.
Close ups of the hand made tools .
He had quite a crowd watching the demonstration. Can you imagine how long it takes to get a fair amount of fiber from the flax?
A sample of the twisted flax fiber...ready to spin.
Here's what the flax seed looks like. It can be baked in bread.
Jimmy enjoyed looking over things in the wood shops. Lots of wood! You always see something you missed on your last visit!
When we finished outside, I really wanted to see if any of the ladies were spinning flax. Well, yes they were! This lady's wheel was just beautiful. She had a booklet that showed her how to put the flax onto her wheel for spinning. It looks like cotton candy.
Another lady was double spinning with her wheel! She was so funny and had lots of information for us. She said she couldn't drink her coffee doing double duty. The thread is really pretty study and has a nice color. The flax becomes linen thread and is made into linen items. The linen thread would also be woven into fabric to make clothing. It was really fun to see the process. It's always wonderful to visit Aurora.
On to Tea Time Thursday! I have shown this cup and saucer before, but I just had to share it again after seeing the flax spinning wheels. I just love this one...a souvenir of Ireland.
Another beautiful cup for St Patrick's Day...Shamrocks by Royal Albert. This one also has the light green handle and accents.
Another Royal Albert with a sweet cottage and shamrocks.
I thought I'd tuck in a few of my little spoons to enjoy. I hope you have enjoyed the flax story and a few of my cup and saucers for the season.