31 August, 2009

Kudzu

According to Spin•Off magazine and Rita Buchanan's The Weaver's Garden, it's possible to spin kudzu fibre, and kudzu vines should be gathered in July and August.

That means the time for harvesting kudzu is over for the year today.

I am letting this fantastic and exotic gleaning opportunity go by the boards, yes, I am.

I did, however, go for a drive on a Virginia backroad to take a closer look at The Vine that Ate the South. Here's a photo of the roadside and some trees festooned with kudzu vines:



Here's a close up. The flowers smelled very nice.



Here's a short little video I took. The buzzing you can hear comes from cicadas. There were bees too.

video

I'm from Vancouver Island, Canada, so I'm used to invasive blackberry vines and English ivy trying to take over the landscape. Kudzu is really something here in Virginia. Nice to think it could be spun.

Processing kudzu fibre, as described in the magazine and book above, sounds rather labour intensive and (worse) smelly. Fermentation breaks the fibres down.

I expect the labour up front is balanced by the durability of the fabric since the resulting fabric is supposed to last for three generations when worn as a family's clothes, getting progressively softer as it's passed down.

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