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Main Conference Class #21
Give Flax a Break (O & S)
Saturday, Aug 3
9:00 - 4:30 pm

Learn the basics of flax production using hands-on flax processing tools. We will discuss the
structure and properties of flax, how to grow it including planting and harvesting, and how
to process it step by step. Learn how to spin flax into linen yarn (dry and wet, in a towel or
on a distaff), and how to wash/scour the yarn. Spinners will be provided with flax top to
spin in class. During the afternoon each student will be given a bundle of pre-retted flax to
take through the processes of breaking, scutching, and hackling. The fun (and mess!) begins
at the flax break! Once the retted flax bundles are transformed into tow and line flax, learn
to spin these fibers into beautiful line yarns. Instructor provides fiber to spin in class,
sponge and small container for wet spinning, bundle of pre-retted flax to process, seeds of
fiber variety flax, and class handout. No previous flax experience required.

Level: All, but spinning experience is advantageous
Material fee: $20

Instructor: Karen Griffing

Karen Griffing.jpg

Karen has been growing and processing her own flax into linen since 1989, using
homemade scutching, breaking, and hackling tools. The most ancient of fabrics, linen has
been produced since prehistoric times! One gets a special feeling of accomplishment and
connection with the past when making linen fabric from its very beginning – literally just a
seed! Karen loves to pass on what she has learned and is generously sharing her extensive
knowledge about flax and linen. Her interest in fiber arts extends to basketry, braiding and
sprang, felting, weaving, and natural dyeing; flax makes a frequent appearance in her
garden and fiber work. Karen lives and creates in Corvallis, Montana, where she gardens,
hikes, and cares for a small group of alpacas.

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