Traditional flax production for linen

Traditional implements for linen production on display in Booth Pinezhsky Museum.

Prior to industrialisation even small farmers grew flax to produce linen for their own needs from home grown flax. In the UK and other Northern Europe countries linen was the only widely available alternative to wool until cotton became available. The flax used for linen production usually comes from slightly different varieties of the species of Linum usitatissimum than linseed or flax for human consumption. It is also harvested differently.

Tools for making flax, processed flax stalks and linen
Tools for making flax, processed flax stalks and linen

Flax and traditional linen production: ancient Russian instruments and the materials they were used on in the traditional production of linen from flax plants and their fibre.(Booth Pinezhsky Museum). 1-beater, 2-fiber after scutching Llano, Llano 3-fiber tow after the first 4-Llano after the second fiber tow, tow 5, 6 -Taylor (canvas threads from Llano), 7 – row (from hemp canvas threads), 8, 9 – Brushes for Sanchez flax and hemp, 10-comb for cleaning flax and hemp, 12, abusive pattern. Photo 3 November 2006. Photo by Schekinov Alexey Victorovich November 3 2006

The simple equipment was typically homemade and everything from growing to harvesting, scutching to spinning and weaving was carried out by the family.

Flax fibres before processing into linen. In the foreground a broken stem shows the fine linen fibres beginning to separate out.
Flax fibres before processing into linen. In the foreground a broken stem shows the fine linen fibres beginning to separate out.

Traditional flax growing and linen production is written about and illustrated in “How a Shirt Grew in the Field”, a children’s book, originally in Russian.

 

Linseed health food for animals too

Front pf a Victorian postcard promoting the health benefits of feeding linseed cake to beef, horses and other animals.

Linseed: food for health and beauty

Linseed in recent times is beginning to be understood as an amazing health food for people. Doctors and researchers are constantly making new discoveries about how it helps people with health and beauty.  From healthier immune system, to combating dry eyes, better cardio health, fertility, supple joints to strong nails and shining hair scientists are beginning to understand the extent of linseed’s health benefits.

Farmers knew the benefits of linseed before doctors

150 years ago farmers were in no doubt about the benefits if linseed. They were responsible for the livestock which would often number in the hundreds so it didn’t take them long to notice the health benefits of feeding linseed Continue reading

Harvesting Linseed and Flax

Flax harst modern 1-600x450

Linseed and flax are grown differently

Both linseed and flax, which are simply different varieties of the same plant, Linum usitatissimum, are traditional crops in the UK but grown for different purposes and the production methods are significantly different Continue reading

Linseed stops cows belching methane

Cow female black white

Daily Telegraph story: Linseed stops cows belching methane

Essential fatty acid for health and prevents greenhouse gasses

daily-telegraph-crow-belch
Linseed reduces greenhouse gasses; stops methane production in cows and cattle

The Daily Telegraph printed the story this Tuesday 29th March 2011: (Here’s a link) I don’t think this is an early April Fool as it is such a good article on linseed’s health benefits for people, including improving the human digestion and that “it also contains Omega 3, a fatty acid that is essential to normal growth and health.” Continue reading

How a shirt grew in the field

Book how a shirt of linen grew in the field

Children’s book

by K. D Ushinskiai, adapted by Marguerita Rudolph and illustrated by Yaroslavava

I was introduced to this lovely book by a fellow stall holder at Borough Market; it was his favourite book as a child and he brought it in to show me. I loved it too and recommend it to anyone who reads to their children.

boy in field scan Continue reading

Old linseed & flax remedies

Linseed, liquorice and chlorodyne remedy

Some fascinating remedies from the collection

There is no smoke without fire, there is good reason linseed has been used as a remedy for thousands of years; it works. 🙂

Linseed is useful in many forms. It is especially popular as a remedy for persistent coughs, catarrh and asthma. It has many more interesting uses as a remedy. Continue reading

Growmore leaflet, Ministry Fish & Ag, 1945: “Linseed as a Home-Grown Crop”

A field of ripe linseed
Growmore Linseed. WW2 Leaflet from Ministry Fisheries and Agriculture
Growmore Linseed. WW2 Leaflet Ministry Fisheries and Agriculture

‘Growmore’ Leaflet No.13

Published by The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hotel Lindum, St. Annes-on-Sea, Lancashire, 1945

This leaflet was published during World War 2 when growing linseed became important again as a food for cattle that were to produce the meat to feed the nation during wartime shortages. Continue reading