This, my friends, is a Teasel. In its spiky form you can see the ancestor of cards and combs and all of the other horrifically-clawed, tetanus-shot-requiring modern tools of fiber processing. It is the origin of the verb “tease”, as in “to tease out the ends of a knot.” Don’t teased bangs look a lot like a fluffy rolag? I found this growing wild in the Willows outdoor learning center at the Chatfield School in MI – another thing I have never seen before! At this point the spines are soft and flexible, but as the head dried they became stiff and perfect for combing out the tips of locks.
|Basswood inner bark fiber
This, also from the willows, is the inner bark of the basswood tree – closely related to one of my favorite trees, the linden. This is one of the strongest fibers to be found in nature – it makes amazing rope. Like many natural plant fibers it’s a bit hard to extract into this form – Peter of the Willows center said these branches had fallen into a street, so the cars driving over them did most of the work of cracking the bark off. This is something I’d definitely like to try myself.
I spun this with my new Golding in the airport and at the PDC talent show, from the first roving I ever bought – a bicolor wool I got at the NCFF last year. I’ve completely forgotten the breeds but I plan to get some more in a couple weeks – the color is lovely.