flax/linen

Hemp, Cotton, Jute, Flax, Kenaf, Bamboo etc
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habitat-gardener
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flax/linen

#1

Post: # 8803Unread post habitat-gardener
Tue Feb 04, 2020 4:26 pm

Has anyone grown flax for fiber? My partner was reading a book about Norwegians emigrating to the U.S. and was interested in the notion that, though they were running out of clothing, they would be able to grow flax to replenish their wardrobes soon. From what little I've read, it sounds like a long, involved process to turn flax (fiber) seeds into cloth!
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Re: flax/linen

#2

Post: # 8809Unread post brownrexx
Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:17 pm

In December we toured a local historic home from the the mid 1700 and the homeowner was a dyer meaning that he dyed cloth for people.

They showed us how cloth was made from flax and I thought that it was quite interesting. I had not actually thought about that before but the cloth looked like muslin or linen.You would never know that it came from plant fibers.

I am in PA and cotton was grown in the south so not convenient to get that to PA in the 1700's.
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Re: flax/linen

#3

Post: # 8826Unread post Bower
Tue Feb 04, 2020 7:24 pm

I grew flax for the first time last year. Cut the stems for my friend N. who is a spinner and weaver and knows the process. Apparently they must first be dried, then they are soaked or "retted" (aka rotted?) until they separate into fibers. That can take a while, but eventually will be all done and spun into linen.
We have as much chance of growing cotton here as on the moon, probably! Hemp also is a southern fiber with slim chance of success here. But we need a fiber that isn't sheep's wool! I'm allergic to that! :P
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Re: flax/linen

#4

Post: # 52624Unread post Tracydr
Sun Aug 22, 2021 8:35 am

I’ve been wondering if flax is a cool or warm weather crop. Also, can horses and goats graze on it?
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Re: flax/linen

#5

Post: # 52633Unread post Growing Coastal
Sun Aug 22, 2021 9:25 am

I don't find linen very warm and it wrinkles far too easily for me to want to wear it.
My family had a home spun linen table cloth that was embroidered in flowers with thread also made from linen that was sent from the old country during the '60's. To think that all was hand made was mind blowing to a kid from the city. I still remember the hard salty cheese that came in the same parcel.

Also had some Irish linen bed sheets as a wedding gift. They lasted 8 years.
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Re: flax/linen

#6

Post: # 52637Unread post Rockoe10
Sun Aug 22, 2021 9:44 am

[mention]Tracydr[/mention] it's better grown in the south eastern part of the US. So warm and humid.

Goats will eat it, not sure about horses. Though I'd imagine they'd like it.
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Re: flax/linen

#7

Post: # 52640Unread post worth1
Sun Aug 22, 2021 10:12 am

The only thing I have ever used flax for is linseed oil for homemade varnish.
Mixed with Japan drier.
Also Tung oil the same way.
Linoleum is made from linseed oil or was.
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Re: flax/linen

#8

Post: # 52643Unread post Growing Coastal
Sun Aug 22, 2021 11:37 am

"Flax, also known as common flax or linseed, is a food and fiber crop that is grown in cooler regions of the world. Flax fibers are taken from the stem of the plant and are two to three times as strong as those of cotton."

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in

#9

Post: # 52661Unread post Bower
Sun Aug 22, 2021 7:54 pm

I grew the flax as a test cover crop for my climate here, and it was really too late to produce a seed crop in an average year. This year OTOH was a really hot summer and I happened to be trialing oats and barley and two kinds of wheat. I'm pretty happy with that so far. Nice crops satisfying to grow and of course great for animals. Just thinking of the ponies and how they would enjoy some grains, at least the awnless ones. When I read about growing wheat, some kinds of winter wheat are good to be grazed in the spring, it just promotes tillering and you get a good crop afterwards too.
Do you have many horses there now, TracyDr? I know you can't be without the ponies (wish I had some too!).
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Re: flax/linen

#10

Post: # 53557Unread post svalli
Wed Sep 08, 2021 1:32 am

I did not intend to grow flax this year, but the hemp chip bedding, which I used as mulch on my raised beds and containers has flax seeds in it. Few flax plants germinated and I left some of them growing. Flax with the seedpods can be used in dry flower arrangements, but I have forgotten now to pick them.

When living in Wisconsin, we visited Old World Wisconsin museum area, where they have old linen fiber making equipment in one of the barns. The process and tools were already familiar to me, since I had learnt about them in history lessons at school. Flax was commonly grown in Finland until 1950s. I'm not sure if my in-laws have grown flax, but they have told that as youngsters they earned extra money by making fabric from linen with loom. There is still some yarn and also the coarse flax tow left in the attic of the old building. We have one table cloth, which my MIL made from the old linen yarn for us, it is a keepsake, which is put on the table only on special occasions.

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