TapRoot Fibre Lab

Our vendor profile today is a first-time Manitoba Fibre Festival participant, TapRoot Fibre Lab, from Nova Scotia. They produce linen products from flax they grow themselves, on machinery designed and built for their unique business. They sell 100% linen tow roving, linsey-woolsey blend roving, clean tow fibre, hackled long-line, and scutched long line fibre. Spend some time with Patricia to learn what all those mysterious terms mean! Due to travel constrictions the TapRoot booth will be set up on SATURDAY ONLY.

TapRoot products are great for handspinners and weavers who are looking for Canadian grown and processed linen, and anyone interested in blending their wool with linen products. Their fibre is all natural, so anyone interested in natural-dye testing would also enjoy these products.

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When asked how TapRoot farms was started this is what they had to say:

“TapRoot Farms is a Community Shared Agriculture farm in Nova Scotia, that found itself overrun with nettles a few years ago. The owner, Patricia Bishop, started researching some alternate uses for the plant and discovered its fibre properties. She then developed a vision that if food and alcohol can thrive successfully as “local” markets, that clothing from locally grown material would also be an idea that people would get on board with. Flax was chosen as the best fibre plant for our area, and the TapRoot Fibre Lab was born. Knowing that hand-processing was going to be labour intensive, and commercial processing takes place overseas, Patricia decided to invest in creating a small-scale, “cottage industry” sized processing line for the flax. An engineer was hired, and today we have 4 out of the 6 machines designed, created, and functioning, which are what we use to create all the linen product that we sell. The completed machines have mechanized rippling, breaking, scutching and hackling, and we are just waiting for the drafting and spinning machines to be finished until we have a complete line, and we can add linen yarn to our list of products. We are going to continue to producing these machines and selling them to flax growers, textile mills, and fibre artists and collectives who want to create a localized flax industry in their area!”

One of the inspirations behind the Fibre Lab was finding an alternative to the traditional textile industry, which is one that creates a lot of waste and pollution. They want to be attentive to the values of biodiversity, environmental stewardship and local economy.

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“Flax is a plant quickly and simply grown, and there are a ton of uses not just in its fibre, but also its seed and shive, which are valuable by-products of processing. Linen is also a beautiful fabric, is hypoallergenic, 100% biodegradable, has anti-bacterial properties, possess high air and heat permeability (breathability), and produces a strong, long-lasting fabric, so the beauty of the material we can create is inspiration alone.”

The TapRoot Fibre Lab is a new company, and they say the most exciting thing they’ve created so far is the yarn itself! (Not to mention the four, fully functional and operational machines they process the flax on!).

“The road from farm to fabric is a long one, and to have hand spun yarn that we grew ourselves was a very rewarding experience.”

Make sure you stop by the TapRoot Fibre Lab on Saturday October 1 and check out their incredible product!

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