Master of the Craft - Kim McKenna

Kim McKenna is a dyer, spinner, weaver.  In this workshop she will show how the distaff can be a useful tool for not just flax but wool.  The Distaff is not well known in North America but can be a most useful spinning tool.  In addition to the workshop (details below) Kim will offer seminars on Mordanting Protein Fibre, Dye Studio in a Bucket and The Art of Hand Combing.

Materials fee: $40 (Includes: flax, wool, handheld distaff and notes)

This workshop focuses on the almost forgotten art of dressing and spinning from a distaff. The distaff is one of the most useful of spinners tools and deserving of a spot in the modern spinner’s toolbox. Day 1, after you have dressed your distaff with fine dew retted flax, you will learn the finer points required to wet spin line flax. Day 2, after you chose whether you wish to dress your distaff for a woolen or worsted spin, Kim will help you hone your default spinning method while you spin from a handheld distaff which is your to take home.

While improving your spinning skills you can also expect to learn more about:
• The processing of flax
• The difference between line, tow, wet spun, dew and water retted flax
• Various styles of distaves
• Drafting techniques used to create woolen vs. worsted yarns
• The characteristics and benefits of these yarns
• “finishing” methods for linen and wool yarns

Both fibre and distaff will be provided by the instructor. This workshop is suitable for all spinning levels. You must however be able to confidently spin a continuous yarn.

Students to bring:
• an apron or lap cloth
• old dishtowel or small bath towel
• a belt or ribbon which can be tied about your waist
• heavier, small flat bottomed container to hold water while you wet spin line flax
• scissors, one hole punch, pkg index cards, pen and paper for notetaking
• orifice hook if your wheel uses one
• a few bobbins cleared of old projects
• Optional: any other spinning equipment you normally like to have on hand, such as a small side table, niddy noddy, lazy kate, etc.
• Spinning wheel - freshly maintained and in good working order.

This intimate workshop with a maximum of just 10 students will provide lots of feedback and guidance to each participant.


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