Dressing the Distaff
Getting ready to spin flax into linen thread involves preparing the fiber supply. Line flax is very long and fine, and can become a snarled mess if not handled correctly.
When flax workers package the flax stricks, they are twisted in club-like bundles. I don’t have a flax hackle, so I use a hair pick to lightly comb out small bits of the strick at a time. This lets me untwist the fibers from the bundle.
Next I tie the flax at one end and start spreading out the fiber over a table. I go back and forth across the table fanning out the fibers in thin layers. When I have the fiber spread out, I lay the distaff cage on top, and loosely wrap the fiber around the cage.
I then secure the bundle to the distaff cage with a ribbon. This lets me pull a few fibers at a time from the distaff as I spin.
Flax has been grown for thousands upon thousands of years. I truly enjoy working with it.