There are 200 different species of flax plants in the world. Most of those plants mature either within 1 or 2 years. Flax plants are blooming in the months of June and July for 5 to 12 days and the seeds are then fully mature in July and August.
In the past, the flax was divided into fiber flax and linseed flax, but now the flax of both groups is combined into one species: Linum usitatissimum.
Flax plants were cultivated in Asia and in the Mediterranean region thousands years ago. In ancient Egypt, linen was used for mummification. It was also worn as clothing on a daily basis. From the mythological point of view, the linen flax is born twice: first as a plant and second as a canvas.
There is a lot more linseed flax cultivated than fiber flax from which linen yarn is produced; the lower volume of fiber flax available explains the higher price.
The linseed flax, which usually produces white flowers, has a low and branched stem.The fiber flax, which usually produces blue flowers, has a long, straight and unbranched stem. This is why fiber is retrieved from the fiber flax.
The best fiber flax is obtained when the flax is grown in cool and humid wheather and harvested after the lower portion of the stem has turned yellow. About 20 to 30% of the flax stem is fiber. The fiber is extracted from the lower part of the stem just before branching (it produces a long fiber). This is why, when growing flax, effort is spent in creating a stem that is the longest possible (up to 150 cm long) and as thick as possible (since there is more fiber in a thicker stem).
The flax is probably the only plant that is used from the roots to the flowers.
In the past, the processing of linen required lots of time and a variety of tools.
The flax fiber manufacturing process included planting the seeds, weeding the field, harvesting the flax straw, drying it outdoor, threshing out the seeds, straw retting and then drying it on the stove, breaking, scutching, and heckling it.
Benefits of wearing Linen:
Linen is one of the oldest textiles made from the fibers of the flax plant.
It has special characteristics: the fabric is breathable, absorbs moisture and sweat .
Linen is irreplaceable in the summer as it regulates body temperature by absorbing and losing water rapidly. Moreover, it keeps us warm in winter.
Linen has antibacterial properties. It is suitable for allergic people. Linen fabric is five times more resistant to damage from abrasion and three times stronger than cotton. It is also resistant to static electricity.
It truly is a very durable and strong fabric. Linen fibers are used for astronauts' protective clothing, as well as for the protection of a spacecraft.
Because linen fibres have very low elasticity properties, they have a tendency to wrinkle.
- However, wrinkling does not happen with knitted garments! -
Linen fabric does not get yellowish over the years; the oposite is true, it becomes whiter and softer.
Linen is a waste free and environmentally friendly product.