When I arrived at TapRoot Farms Patricia had already made a meticulous agenda of who she’d like me to meet, what she was going to teach me and on which day all the (wonderful) activities were going to happen. I was very much looking forward to everything!
Sunday, the day after my arrival I was already standing in the mill. Patricia and Calvin showed me their process on how they spin wool at TapRootFibre Lab. Calvin already had washed and dried the wool, which came from a Nova Scotian farm, to make it ready for the carder. Together we “fluffed” it up a little with our hands and weighed it, according to Patricias calculations. We spread it out nicely on the feed and turned the machine on. We sprayed some anti-static mixture on it as well, after we noticed that the fibres were getting very static in the process. The carder basically “combs” all fibres in one direction and unifies them in a ribbon – so called sliver.
After the carder followed the drawframe, several slivers get unified into one again, theoretically making it more uniform. With the wool it worked really well, but when we tried the flax roving later on we skipped it as it wasn’t making the sliver more uniform – rather the opposite. After the drawframe followed the most exciting part for me: the spinning. Patricia has a book full of yarn samples and presets for the machine when she worked together with textile designer and assistant professor at NSCAD Jennifer Green.
Patricia showed me how to thread the sliver through the machine and start spinning. She explained to me how she checks the quality of the yarn – if it’s over or under twisted, too weak etc. I was amazed how much experience she had in picking the correct settings for the machine. She looked at the yarn and knew which paramenters and buttons she needed to adjust on the little control box. I was also allowed to test different settings – needlessly to say – it was difficult, but fun! Curious how this full process goes and how to receive such beautiful yarn as below? I will let you know in the next post!