Why does that matter? When grown in its ideal climate, the flax stalks receive sufficient sunlight and rainwater resulting in tall, strong (up to 3ft tall) stalks ideal for high quality linen textiles.
The mill from which we source our linen has been in business for over a century and prides itself on keeping the artisanal practices alive that are responsible for creating very high quality linen with an amazing hand-feel while minimally impacting the environment. They refuse to succumb to the fast-fashion world by employing practices that are faster, but result in lower quality linen and harmful emissions.
When linen is grown in its less than ideal climate, irrigation is required depleting nearby lakes, rivers and underground aquifers which damages and destroys ecosystems. This is becoming an increasingly serious problem throughout the world. With the deployment of irrigation systems in addition to often insufficient sunlight and/or inappropriate temperatures, the plants do not grow as tall, resulting in short stalks with short fibers that translates to lower quality, itchy linen.
As described by the Council for Fashion Designers of America
The flax plant is grown, generally in cool, humid climates and moist soil.
The flax plant reaches a perfect age (or ripeness) during which it must be harvested for the highest quality fiber. Pulling the fiber out of the ground is preferred to cutting the fiber for two reasons:
1) the fiber extends into the root and is shortened when cut, and
2) sap is lost when roots are cut, which diminishes the quality of linen. Flax stalks are often pulled out of the ground by hand, but there are some machines that do this as well.
The long fibers are extracted from under the bark in a process called retting. During this process, the woody bark is rotted away, loosening the gum that holds the fiber to the stem. This can be done three different ways.
1) Using natural moisture (called dew retting), where stalks are left in the fields or stagnant ponds to ferment for a couple of weeks.
2) Chemically, where stalks are placed in a solution either of alkali or oxalic acid, then pressurized and boiled. This method is easy to monitor and rather quick, although some believe that chemical retting adversely affects the color and strength of the fiber.
3) Mechanically, also known as vat or water retting, which involves soaking stems in vats of warm water (so rotting happens faster than natural retting) and crushing fibers between rollers to remove unwanted bark and gum.
Drying, breaking, and scutching:
After stalks have been rinsed and dried, the woody portion is removed and most fibers are separated from each other. This can be achieved by crushing the plants between rollers in a process called scutching. Alternatively, plants can be pulled through beds of nails in a process called hackling.
In preparation for spinning, fibers are combed to remove short and irregular fibers, separating fibers by quality.
Cottonizing might take place, which is the process of cutting a bast fiber to a length similar to cotton, allowing the fibers to be processed on equipment used for cotton.
Multiple long linen fibers are combined together and twisted to form a yarn, which are put on bobbins or spools, ready to be woven into fabric. High quality linen requires a warm, humid environment for optimal
spinning, and is often passed through a hot water bath (wet spun).
Linen is known for its incredible strength as well as wicking, absorbency, quick drying and antimicrobial properties.
Our linen is Masters of Linen® and European Flax® certified, and Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex® certified.
Hemp hanging loops are unbleached, undyed and organic.
• Handsewn in the US
• Reinforced edges and seams
• Lifetime repair policy
• Linen and hemp are climate-friendly textiles
• Towels are sized so there is zero wasted fabric
• Products are shipped with re-used, re-usable,
recycled, recyclable and compostable materials