Saturday, November 5, 2016

Teasels - a cloth worker's tool.

This year's teasel harvest

I refreshed the teasels at the front door. 
This is my shingle.


elserine is a weaver. 
During a Vancouver Island Surface Design Assoc meeting elserine demonstrated how the teasel was/is used to full woven or knit garments to make them soft. Gently stroking the cloth with a tied teasel bundle raises the nap. Commercially they have been replaced by steel combs but some woolen workers continue to prefer to use teasels because they are kinder to the cloth, the teasel hook breaking when meeting resistance and so avoiding damage to the fibers.
In parts of the USA, the teasel is considered noxious because it out-competes native plants. I have noticed teasels grow where soil has been disturbed and damaged so I consider them 'band-aid' plants. They have long tap roots capable of bringing minerals up from lower soil levels to the surface and they produce a lot of stem and leaves which are useful for the 'chop and drop' permaculture method of soil building. As the plant material decays, it releases organic matter and minerals into the soil making them available for other plants.
In our garden, I believe the teasel will serve its purpose until soil conditions improve and the plant is no longer suited to the site and its seeds, with a two-year viability, will no longer germinate. 



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