Linen – a fabric that has travelled a long time. Mankind’s love for linen possibly started 10,000 years ago and it continues with the same vigour.
The thought of linen brings the thought of breeziness, coolness and a kind of liberation with its beautiful open structure. Linen is also super absorbent making it a great choice for dresses as well as bed linens… well, the name ‘bed linen’ itself tells us how linen has been the favourite fabric for bed sheets! Linen apparently has been the fabric of choice of Kings & Queens of ancient times for the bedding, filled with fine feathers for a cosy sleep.
We also hear of ‘table linens’, ‘bath linens’ and the like. Though many of these items are now made from different fabrics, these phrases date back to the times when all of these were made with linen fabrics.
Linen is strong, durable, and has anti-fungal properties, making it a fabric to reckon with.
The flax plant which gives the linen yarn and fabric grows in specific soils & generally cool weather conditions. The majority of the flax used for making fine linen apparel is grown in Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Small quantities are grown in China, Italy and Ireland as well. Some countries including India grow coarse flax plants which are good for extracting flaxseed oil.
Shuttles & Needles has launched 100% linen yarns. Available in the beautiful natural linen shade, a kind of golden beige and bleached white shade. They are great for weaving both in warp & weft. Though it is a super strong yarn, linen yarn has a very low elasticity making it a bit difficult to use as a warp yarn. But aren’t we hand weavers always ready for a little challenge?
We weaved a couple of placemats using both natural linen and bleached linen yarn- in both warp and weft with the ever-green ‘log cabin’ pattern. The fabric is crisp and nice! While weaving, we kept a damp cloth handy and used it to wet the warp now and then for a smooth weaving experience.
We call it a weaving linen yarn but it doesn’t need to stop the adventurous knitters and crocheters from making some nice & crisp fabrics.
Linen gets softer and suppler with every wash. It ages beautifully. Try it.