Welcome to the CSL

Welcome to a year of clothing from the farm!!!!

I have never made clothes before. It has been five long years of trying to get to this point where we can have clothing from the farm. Finally, the stars have aligned for this to happen. It is an exciting time! 

Abi joined the farm in early September as an intern with plans to stay with us learning about the flax for a month. She arrived from Dawson City, working for the summer at a music festival. She just finished her course work in the spring and graduates in a few weeks from Ryerson. Abi and I went out to a fashion event in mid September and during our evening together Abi shared how it would be great to stay on with us here at the farm and within the fibre lab journey. In my mind (and I said it out loud) , there was only one way that would be possible, if we got some sketches together and we offered a CSL. 

So, here we are now together. There are only a handful of us who have joined so far.  The CSL offering is open until October 20th in hopes to invite a few more people to join. 

Abi has left for some planned travels and will return in mid November. At that time she will take over most of the communication with you about the journey we are on together.  She will also get all of the information she needs from you regarding choices and measurements. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me 902 670 3277 or email me patricia@taprootfarms.ca. You may also wish to follow us on facebook and/or instagram taprootfibrelab. 

The Fibre Shed

The carpenters have started renovations to the basement of a barn that we are calling The Fibre Shed. We are cleaning out the basement, pouring concrete, putting in more supports for the floor above, getting ventilation established, setting up electrical and then moving our primary processing machines in. We have a breaker, scutcher, hackler, picker and separator that need to be in one place for processing efficiency. The plan is to have everything set up and working by October 30th. At that time we have two guests coming to view the equipment and one bringing a truck load of flax for us to process for her. Both guests are hoping to purchase a set of machines one day. 

In the meantime, we will be processing for one week in Medford where the breaker, scutcher and hackler are so we have more fibre to get spun for the weaver for our CSL fabric testing. 

Two weeks ago our picker arrived from Wisconsin. We have found that it does a great job of cleaning up our tow fibre. After the fibre is picked, it goes to the separator to be further cleaned. From there it is weighed out in 100 g allotments and fed into the carder. The carder produces a roving that is drawn out and spun. 

Tonight I will finish (boil in water and soda ash) the fibre, hang to dry and tomorrow, Friday, I will take it to LaHave for Leslie Armstrong to test it on her mechanical loom. Mechanical weaving is going to be far more cost effective than hand weaving. The issue before us right now is timing as Leslie’s studio isn’t insulated and once it is too cold to work in there she is closed until spring. The push is on.

Long Line vs Short Line otherwise known as Tow

We are building machines to process long line linen. We need two more machines tested and modified before we will have spun long line. Right now we process and we end up with beautiful hackled long line (needed for spinning) and waste. In the waste there are four things: dust, seeds, shive and fibre. We can extract fibre from the waste by putting the flax that falls through a picker and separator. It is short fibres called tow. The shive (straw) has many uses, the dust is the dust and goes back to the soil and the seeds we will eventually clean and have available (one thing a time). Most of what you will receive will be made with tow because we do not yet have our long line spinning set up. Hopefully by February this will be established and then maybe we can have a few pieces made with the long line linen. That is the hope. That is the plan.

I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you have joined our Community Shared Linen. I realize it is a lot to ask. I decided to just go ahead and ask, if we don’t ask, we won’t know. I have been scared to put it out there. Afraid of what will come or not come. You have come. We have arrived. You are making it possible for us, together, to realize something new, in our time and in this place, something that I dream will be an example for others and a model for the future.

Much love and peace you,