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Flax to linen: from sowing to sewing.

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Rob Stephens

As a break from scything videos, this is an overview of my venture into flax processing from seed to thread.
The simple cloth and thread I've managed to produce are some way off the quality usually associated with linen, but hopefully they give some idea of what goes into producing these goods.
Although I have spun wool, I'm fairly new to spinning flax and weaving. This is just my second proper year of growing and processing flax and, although it's a lot of work and sometimes the fibre is very frustrating to work with, it can be enormously satisfying to produce one's own thread, cordage and cloth. I learnt a great deal in the first year, and a lot more this year; I continue to learn and make mistakes!
Tools: apart from the rigid heddle loom, wool carders and berry picker, I have made my own tools or adapted them from other stuff – the spinning wheel treadle is from an antique Jones sewing machine. I built the seed cleaner using an opensource design kindly supplied by realseeds.co.uk (and it works well).
Growing: due to bad weather at the start of the 2021 growing year, sowing was delayed 24 weeks here in the North of England; the flax still grew, if not quite as tall as in the previous year, and I harvested it after around 100 days from sowing. Note that I was growing the flax for fibre, not seed, but there was still a fair amount of seed that appeared to have ripened – perhaps it's not all viable but we'll see next year!
Various other youtubers have inspired and educated me with their flax processing and spinning videos; some of the techniques I use are ones I haven't seen used elsewhere, so I hope this video helps someone else too.

Flax seeds etc. in the UK: www.flaxland.co.uk | www.wildfibres.co.uk
Note: these flax seeds are a special type for long fibre, they're not the grownforseed types (for food, linseed oil).

posted by smilevieorg54