New York Fingerlakes Sheep and Wool Festival

Dressing a Distaf
Dressing a Distaff

Although the event highlighted sheep and wool processing, a very nice demonstration on flax processing was being presented. In the image above, she places the processed flax fibers on a distaff in preparation for spinning. Her spinning wheel can be seen on her right. Note the length of the flax fibers are several feet long making the spun yarn very strong.

Flax Processing Tools
Flax Processing Tools

A table holds flax combs used to prepare the plant for spinning. Flax combs, at the hands of a skilled person, take a rather unimpressive stalk and convert it to the fine threads seen on the foreground distaff. The combs are organized from a coarse-tooth comb in the distance to the fine-tooth comb seen closer to the viewer.

Lamb Knitting Machine
Fred and his Lamb Knitting Machine

Fred, who is president of the local sock knitters group, brought his Lamb knitting machine to the festival. Elizabeth watches as he demonstrates flat weaving. A circular sock knitting machine is in the left foreground.


A blacksmith brought his portable forge and anvil to the sheep and wool festival. Jim admired the way he attached his anvil to a large timber and had made hangers on the support for his tools. Air for combustion of the forge fire was provided by a hand-powered blower.