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a hair-brained idea--making garden twine from my own hair

 
master steward
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I've been loving the spindle I got from Raven's Flax to Linen kickstarter (she sells the same spindle in her learn to spin flax kit). Lately, I've been spinning wool that I blend to match my hair, and then making headbands out of it.

Spinning wool to match my hair, got me thinking about spinning wool from my hair. So, I tried it out with the hair from my hair brush, both mixing it with sheepswool, as well as spinning it by itself. I'm probably doing something wrong, because it has a lot of weird bits sticking out. And, MAN, it's scratchy. So, I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be using it for anything nice. BUT, I use a lot of twine for training branches and growing peas. And, supposedly deer are mildly repelled by human hair. What if I spun my hair and used it for twine? I'm thinking maybe I'd get more use out of it than just composting the hair. And, maybe the hair would decompose a bit slower than the twine I currently use?

Anyone ever spin their own hair?
 
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Depending on how straight or curly your hair is, you may find it works better to treat it like flax rather than wool. But it should work in the short term as twine. It will get brittle when exposed to the elements, so it might not last long.
 
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Well it's strong and can be long.. But it's slippery..  It might take some flipping to get the grains to catch to prevent slip.. And adding some curl.. But a little binder like a plant sap or tar pitch ect, might do the trick
 
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I knew a man with very long hair who would clean his hair brush and then braid it into a thin rope. I never saw him use it for anything but I saw the hair rope. It looked like it would work well for garden twine
 
Nicole Alderman
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It's interesting that people are mentioning the hair being slippery. Maybe since mine is curly, it wasn't very slippery. It was about as hard to "draft" (pull out the right amount of fibres to spin) as it is with wool. Sometimes it was a bit harder to draft.

It does seem pretty strong, even though I just spun it and folded it in half so it could twist against itself to twine it into two-ply. I then used it to help train down the branch of my pear tree, and the yarn never felt like it was going to break.

I feel like I'm not using the right words for how I made the twine, but my brain's kind of fragmented from my son's school Zoom meeting this morning.  So, I'm just going to post pictures!
20200926_120315.jpg
My hair, spun on my drop spindle
My hair, spun on my drop spindle
20200926_120732.jpg
made into two-ply twine...probably about 5 feet long? From probably 5 hair-brush-fulls of hair, I think?
made into two-ply twine...probably about 5 feet long? From probably 5 hair-brush-fulls of hair, I think?
 
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I once told my wife that I should grow my hair out so I can use it as rope in a survival situation.. it did not fly with her lol.
 
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Nicole, your hair looks like the wool I am preparing for spinning now! If I had hair like that I think I'd try to use it too. But my hair is totally different, it's (almost) straight and smooth (slippery). And I cut it short.
 
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Marc Dube wrote:I once told my wife that I should grow my hair out so I can use it as rope in a survival situation.. it did not fly with her lol.


I think if I cut my hair short my partner would be devastated. Funny how different people's preferences for hair can be.
 
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If you have straight hair, you might try spinning from the fold:

Take a “lock” of hair, however harvested, and bend it over your finger.   Spin from the top of your finger (the halfway point of your “lock”).

This approximates a woolen spin. It might help with the slippery factor. This is a common way to spin long wools. If you want to make twine, put in a lot of twist to make it strong. Way more twist than you would use with wool. This will also help to mitigate the slipping. When you ply, if you want to make it strong, try a cable ply.  To do that, first do a two ply with lots of ply twist. Make 2 lengths of two ply ‘yarn.’  Then, ply the two lengths together.

Google spinning from the fold and you will probably find some videos to help you.

Human hair will never make good yarn. But twine .... I’m gonna have to experiment!  Too bad I have a pandemic haircut. But my brother has long hair ..,..

Laura
Pretty good spinner. So much fiber, so little time.
 
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I don't know if I told you yet but I love this thread title.
 
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I couldn't help remembering a Ramblin' Jack Elliott song: The Sky Above, The Mud Below.
Here's video:
.
gift
 
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association
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