So are you interested in getting to know about linen? What exactly is it, where does it come from, how is it made, and why is it going crazy for everyone and their mother? All right, we're here to answer all the questions. We've done yards of research into this amazing fabric and its mystical properties since falling in love with linen ourselves.
So let’s start with the basics…
What is linen and where does it come from?
Linen is a linen made from the fibers of Linum usitatissimum, the flax plant. For ages, since around 10,000 years ago, it has been used to make anything from canvases and wallpaper to garments and bedding. Egyptians used the resilience of linen to wrap Pharaoh mummies and Medieval knights placed linen shirts and trousers under their armor.
Over the years, people started using the word “linens” to refer to household goods, such as bedding, tablecloths, towels, etc. albeit not always made of actual linen fabric. Terms like “lingerie” were derived from the same word.
Benefits of linen
You may be familiar with its main properties if you have already had any kind of experience with linen in your life, but for those who are new to linen, here are the main reasons behind its popularity.:
How linen is made
Linen comes from the fibers of the flax plant, as mentioned before. It was one of the first human-domesticated plants and survived well into the 21st century because of its unrivalled natural characteristics.
Cultivated mainly in cooler climates around the world, flax plants have a growing period of just 100 days from Western Europe to India and Pakistan. The path from humble flax seed to woven linen cloth, however, is a laborious and complicated process that explains why linen is considered a luxury item and is higher in price than cotton and other textiles.
Usually, linen is sown in March and harvested in July. The flax plant goes through a magical transformation with its peak at that time-the ephemeral bloom when the whole field is colored for just one day in sky blue blossoms.
The flax plant is harvested after the flower is finished, but it can not be mowed unlike most other crops. Flax needs to be pulled up by the roots to maximize the length of the fibers and maintain the maximum potential of the plant, which will then be used to produce a number of different goods.
In order to extract the fiber from the stem, harvested flax then passes through a process called retting, which means exposing it to moisture. The flax plant is immersed in water until the pectin holding the fibers together is broken down by established bacteria, which is a dangerous business because under-retting burdens fiber separation while over-retting weakens it.
The plant goes through another process called scutching after retting, which removes the woody stem called shive from the raw material-the flax fibers: short coarse fibers are called tow and are used to make paper, twine, and rope, while the longer flax fibers called line are used to make linen yarn that goes through fabric, bedding, and other high-quality textile items. The next steps are to spin the linen fiber into yards of fabric and weave linen yarns, which can then be bleached and/or dyed.
For optimum softness, our own linen is also washed with stone. What is a washing of stone, you ask? It's all in the name: the stone washing technique takes stones, usually pumice or volcanic rock, brings them together with the linen fabric in industrial washing machines and washes it for a few cycles before the fabric gets a good lived-in, flexible look.However, enzyme washing has recently become more common, producing the same result, but without the use of actual stones.
Linen then and now
Linen manufacturing has changed quite a bit in its 10,000-year history. Now all the procedures that used to be performed by hand are more or less automated. What else is that linen can now be found in hotels, restaurants and many homes, particularly across Europe, once exclusive to royalty, where linen growing traditions date back centuries.
In Lithuania, in our folklore and myths, linen has deep origins. Blue flax fields are mentioned in various songs and stories, and it is part of custom to pass linen products down as an heirloom in a family. Modern linen, however, looks and sounds much different from its ancestor..
Here at AmourLinen, we try to build stuff that fits into our contemporary lives, borrowing from the rich past of linen. With a modern customer in mind, our linen bedding, curtains, kitchen and bath linens are crafted and thus come in a wide variety of designs, colors, and sizes. Find the linen magic here.