Linen and Lace Workshop

by | Apr 25, 2022 | Uncategorized

 

Ombre stripes in linen singles

When we think of linen cloth it congers up many different visions.  It is associated with ancient history. Egyptian mummies had linen wrappings.  Linen production was instrumental in the rise and fall of textile based economies in Europe.  Linen clothing is romantically linked to adventure in warm and exotic locations.  The damask linen table cloth was the hight of elegant dining in the early 1900’s.  Even today linen is associated with eco friendly cultivation, excellent moisture management and timeless elegance.

linen allsorts

Linen weaving yarn comes in many different forms.  Tow linen is spun from short fibers, with a high amount of twist.  Depending on the grade it can be coarse almost wire-like and relatively dull in appearance.  Line linen is spun from longer fibres, is smoother and has a sheen.  Wet spun line linen is the smoothest form.

Linen yarn can be plyed but often comes as a “singles” that is very fine and very strong.  All linen is non-elastic and has a tendency to be “lively”.  Those properties make it difficult to work with. 

Linen is a wonderful yarn for elegant table linens.  The smooth yarn and the lovely sheen that improves with age, make it a natural partner for weaving one of the loom controlled laces, Bronson, Huck, Swedish or even Canvas weave.  So what better way to learn about linen and in a workshop on Linen and Lace.

linen runner

There are many tricks to successful weaving with linen starting with the importance of getting an even tension on the warp, and how to tame the linen weft with good tension on the bobbin and a little moisture.

But perhaps the most important lesson comes with the finishing of a linen piece.  There are a lot of finishing steps before you produce a runner like the one in the photo.
What you see on the loom is far from the finished piece.  The threads in the patterned areas will move to create spaces when wet finished and the fabric will become softer.
sample just off the loom

If you want your linen piece to have that lovely sheen and a smooth flat surface you are in for an upper body work out.  Linen needs to be pressed hard.  The traditional finish would involve the use of a mangle but since most of us don’t have a mangle in the closet a rolling pin and a marble pastry block will work quite well.
pastry chef or linen mangler

Below are sheila’s washed samples pre mangling.
washed samples

Now take a look at her final samples 
finished lace samples

 
    

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