The house-eating wisteria had a very bad day yesterday; my daughter and I attacked it.
Not just to harvest a few vines for making fibre, but to cut it back seriously. It was starting to infiltrate the roof, and, frankly, I’m very tired of its “house with a bad hair day” effect.
Plus the fact that it was so fat and happy that it didn’t bother to bloom this year!
This is my second wisteria project; the first was an experiment to see whether I could make any wisteria textile at all, which I posted on facebook
This time I’m aiming to produce enough wisteria fibre to weave a furoshiki with a hemp warp and a wisteria weft.
The processing is very low-tech – but hard work. It goes like this:
- pound the stems with a sledge hammer
- pull the cambium & bark off the heartwood
- peel and/or slice the bark off the cambium
- mix the cambium with water & wood ash & put on to boil
I don’t know how long this lot will take to process. The ideal time to harvest the wisteria is May, but tackling it is a two-person job, and between busy-ness and uncooperative weather, we didn’t get to it until yesterday.
With the extra growing time, some of the stringy, fibrous layer is getting woody, and I suspect I’ll have to pick it out and give it and extra-long boil to loosen it up enough to separate the fibres.
With this huge pot on the stove for the next few days, cooking food is going to be interesting!