Remember that time that I spontaneously decided to build a theremin after seeing a random tweet for a workshop?
I did it again. Earlier this year I made the impulse decision to join the Linen Growers Club run by Earthand Gleaners Society. It’s a seven month class that runs from February to September, meant to guide you through the process of making linen from scratch.
Throughout that time, you’re responsible for growing your own flax crop, then harvesting and processing it into useable fibre. Once you’re finished that process you can contribute some of your fibre to Earthand’s growing collection of samples of locally-produced linen, adding to a growing body of knowledge about local soil and weather conditions. By then you should have the skills to be able to continue your adventures in local fibre production on your own.
Each month we’ve gathered to check in about how our crops are growing, followed by a discussion about what to expect in the coming month. We spent the rest of our meeting time working on learning various processing skills.
I’ve really enjoyed our meetings. There’s something that just feels very right about sitting around in a circle and talking about your crops. It’s undoubtedly one of the oldest activities we have – something people must have been doing ever since since the agrarian revolution.
And there’s always something warm and supportive about being in a circle with people who are working on fibre craft. It doesn’t seem to matter what it is – stitching, spinning, knitting – they all promote a sense of calm. Bits of chatter break out but there’s no pressure to join in. I always feel well in such a space, and I always come away feeling like the time was well spent. I think for me working with fibre is an act of very consciously deciding to unplug in a way that I never manage to do otherwise.
I’ve been collecting notes about my experience and I’ll share more in upcoming blog posts. Stay tuned.
In 2018 I’m participating in the Linen Growers Club, a collaborative project to produce linen from scratch and contribute to a growing body of knowledge about local fibre production.
View other posts I’ve written about this project.