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100% LINEN (Flax) and COTTOLIN
Ramie, Hemp, and Natural Blends
Flax Seeds, photography © imrsheep.com
are usually classified in two ways: according to the part of the plant from which they are obtained and according to the uses to which they are put. There are following main groups of the plant fibers: So-called "seed hairs" or floss, which are borne on the seeds or the inner walls of the fruit such as cotton, kapok, or Akund floss. Bast fibers are harvested from the inner bast tissue or bark of the stem, and some of them are commercially most important: flax, hemp, jute, ramie, etc. The next groups of vegetable fibers are as follows: Fibers which are obtained from the leaves of the plant: sisal, abaca or Manila hemp, henequen, pineapple fiber, New Zealand flax (yield fiber from its leaves), etc.; cellulosic fibers such as many varieties of artificial silks; and the miscellaneous fibers which are obtained from other parts of plants: The most important for commercial purposes are piassava, coir or coco-fiber, Italian and Mexican whisk, and raffia. Rare in commercial use: sunn, silk grass, canton and pacol fibers (hybrid between edible banana and abaca), different palm fibers including date palm, and many others.
Uses: Linen can withstand washing in hot water and scrubbing, and can be bleached by being spread in the sun to dry. These properties led to its use from the early Middle Ages for underwear, shirts, chemises, and other clothing worn next to the body (collectively called "body linen"), and also for sheets and pillowcases, napkins and tablecloths. Although these are now often made of cotton or synthetic fibers, they are still called "linens", "bed linens", and "table linens".
Linen is also used for cloth, canvases, sails, tents, and even for books (the only surviving example of which is the Liber Linteus). Due to its strength, in the Middle Ages linen was used for shields and gambeson. Because of its capacity for absorbing water (e.g. sweat from hands), Irish linen makes the best wrap for pool/billiard cues. Paper made of linen can be very strong and crisp, which is why the United States and many other countries print their currency on linen-based paper.
Quality: Linen is available in different qualities varying from almost silk-like to sack-linen. The natural color of unbleached linen varies in colour from écru to steel blue if it was water-retted, and from light brown to steel grey if it has been dew-retted. Uniformity of colour is important. The best flax has a pale yellow colour. It is soft, lustrous, and flexible, although not flexible or elastic as cotton or wool. The main characteristics taken into account when judging flax are: fineness, softness, strength, colour, uniformity, silkiness or oiliness, length, cleanness, etc. - Reference: R. H. Kirby, Vegetable Fibers
FYI, Flax is a naturally organic fiber. Flax plants are naturally resistant to pests and practically no pesticides and herbicides are necessary to grow these eco-friendly stem fiber plants. They also produce large amounts of usable fiber per acre and, at the same time, do not require irrigation.
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