Thursday, 12 November 2009
Fascinating facts about flax
Linen is the name given to the very strong natural fabric made from flax.
Lawn (delicate and transparent) and cambric (very fine and tightly woven) are both forms of linen.
Linen velvet is cool and produces a vintage crushed velvet effect.
Linen union is made from a mixture of cotton and linen.
Linen takes a dye well because it is a hollow fibre.
Linen canvas for painters provides a smooth and strong surface that lasts.
It is said that linen sheets help people fall asleep more rapidly and that the sleep will be deeper and more refreshing.
Flax plants grow to approximately one metre in height, with the roots extending about the same amount in the soil. The roots are left after harvest, and that improves the state of the soil.
One hectare (2.5 acres) of flax can produce 20,000 km of thread.
Flax seed is rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
Flax needs far fewer pesticides and fertilizers than cotton, and no irrigation. Processing is mechanical and uses neither solvents nor water.
Retting the flax to separate out the fibres can be done by using water but leaving the flax in the field produces a finer fibre, far less pollution, and uses fewer resources.
Flax waste is used in insulation boards.
Fishing rods, tennis rackets, chairs, bicycles, can be, and are, all made using linen composites.
In the language of flowers, one of the meanings for flax is "I feel your kindness". It is turning out to be not only an ancient crop but, as a result of its kindness to the environment, one for the future too.
From November 4 to 7, the European Confederation for Flax and Hemp (CELC) held its annual congress in Strasbourg: Natural fibres, innovation and sustainable development.