Did you know that linen is one of the world's oldest fabrics, dating back over 4000 years and tops the charts on eco-friendliness? Here's more on amazing linen:
- Linen, derived from the Latin linum and the earlier Greek linon, is woven from the fibers of the flax plant and is a completely natural resource.
- Even though only the very best fibers are used by the linen industry, no part of the flax plant is wasted; the left over linseeds, oil, straw and fiber are used in everything from lino and soap to cattlefeed and paper. Also, the linen fabrics are biodegradable and recyclable.
- The production of linen fabric uses five to twenty times less water and energy than the production of cotton or other synthetic fabrics.
- "Linens" became the generic term for sheets and pillowcases as they were once made of linen, although these are now often made of cotton or synthetic fibers.
- The characteristic most often associated with linen yarn is the presence of "slubs", or small knots that occur randomly along its length. However, these are actually defects associated with low quality. The finest linen has a very consistent texture and no slubs.
- Linen is renowned for its spectacular durability and long life. The tensile strength of linen thread is twice as high as that of cotton and three times that of wool. Flax yarns and fabrics increase about 20% in strength on wetting which means linen is stronger when being washed helping it last longer than other textiles while linen textiles become softer and actually improve in comfort over time.
- It can absorb up to 20% of its own weight in moisture while still feeling dry to the touch; the nodes along the length of the fiber absorb perspiration, then swell and release the moisture to the outside air, thus creating a fabric self cooled by evaporation which is why linen cloth always feels fresh and cool.
- Linen is virtually lint free, non-static, non-allergenic, naturally insect-repellent and gives UV protection.
Finally a little trivia:
- The word ‘spinster’ meaning single woman comes from the day when flax was still spun on spinning wheels by spinsters. This was skilled work and single woman who had mastered the art were at a distinct advantage when looking for a suitable husband. Single women were encouraged to sit outside to spin where they could be admired by potential suitors as they passed by. As a result the word gradually became associated with single women.
- Mummies have been found wrapped in linen shrouds dating as far back as 4500 B.C.
- Casanova allegedly wore condoms made of linen. Who would've thought?