So. I’m still thinking constantly about linen. Yesterday, running errands on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, a swelter-dome that was not relieved even by intermittent rain, I wore a Euroflax pullover that I made in 2005 or so. Not a pill on it. Almost as cool as not wearing a sweater, but providing the necessary coverage for the Upper Arms. I will leave it one day as a legacy for any big-boned granddaughters or grandnieces to fight over.
One question that has occurred: how is linen yarn made? I have a good sense of the process from Clara Parkes’s invaluable Knitter’s Book of Yarn. But I wanted to see it, so off I went to YouTube. Hurray for YouTube! Here are a few of the videos on linen.
Colm Has Two Syllables
I love Colm! Colm Clarke of County Donegal teaches all we need to know about growing a patch of flax in the back yard and processing it, old-school, into linen fiber. Rhetting! Hackling! Scutching! Other fun words! Hashtag #teamColm.
Producing Linen on a Larger Scale
This video, from fabric maker Kravet Inc., is more industrial, but also very beautiful and informative. I’m adding to my bucket list a visit to a flax field in Europe. Who knew that flax had to be pulled up by the roots, not cut? (Well, Colm knew it. I did not.) The machines are so . . . specific.
And up top, a very short video from Christine McLeod in Scotland, showing how to spin flax with a distaff. Finally I know what “wet-spun” means.
YouTube offers many other videos on this subject. I think they are decidedly under-viewed. It’s fascinating stuff.
It all makes me wonder whether somewhere back there in my family tree, there was not a branch of scutchers and spinners.