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A tale of two tows.

So there is Tow and then there is Tow….  Let me explain.  There are several steps in processing of flax and the final one is to hackle it.  The fiber left on the hackles is called tow.  I found that I had two very different tows.  The first being the tow I got from the Hermitage.

Tow from Hermitage
Tow from Hermitage

It looks like straw and has lots of woody bits to it and it is uniformly short in staple. In fact it closely resembles the Timothy grass I give to my bunny.  It also looks exactly like the tow fiber we were given in class which was purchased from the Woolery.  So it is my guess that this is a pretty common way for tow flax to come from the source.  I think that is because this is what they are taking off the hackling in the beginning.

Now enter the tow that is produced once you rehackle a strick.

Waste or (Tow Flax) from hackling
Waste or (Tow Flax) from hackling

This is also tow.  However, it is way nicer and there are no pieces of sticks and other blechy things in it.

I blended both with wool and spun a skein of each.  While both are pretty decent and would make for an ok textile… ish thing.  Well the one from the longer nicer tow woiuld make for a nice market bag or trivet or placemat.  The other tow, maybe a market bag.  It just has such a high level of the VM in it that I can’t think of what I would use it for.

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