Tried and True: Linen

Take a short stroll through our home and you will see and touch linen in all its superb versatility. Linen warp and weft speaks of elegance. Yet, this natural fiber is right at home with ordinary daily living. Linen, oh, how it sings!

I am thrilled to be dressing the Julia now with 16/2 linen on eight shafts. We will have another linen highlight to grace our home—a table runner for our dining room table.

Bockens 16/2 line linen for a handwoven runner.
It is a happy day when new tubes of Bockens 16/2 line linen arrive at the door.
Making a linen warp.
Winding two threads together at a time on the warping reel.
8-shaft Julia and linen warp.
Dividing the warp into three bouts makes it easier to spread and beam the warp with even tension across the warp.
Glimakra Julia 8-shafts. Glorious linen!
Golden bleached linen is a gorgeous backdrop for the olive center section and contrasting midnight blue borders.

Is there anything more vibrant than the sheen of linen saturated with color? And, have you noticed that plain unbleached linen is anything but plain? Linen fills both ends of the spectrum—glowing exuberant color and natural wrinkled humility. Linen, oh, how it sings! There’s always room for more music in the home.

May your home be filled with everyday elegance.

Happy Weaving,
Karen

12 thoughts on “Tried and True: Linen

  1. I love the colors you’ve chosen and can’t wait to see more. Linen is one fiber I’ve never woven with because I keep reading comments about how finicky it can be, having to keep it spritzed with water.

    1. Hi Beth, I’m surprised you haven’t woven with linen. I think you would enjoy it. Linen is not finicky if you keep a few simple principles in mind. 16/2 line linen is a good starting point for anyone who wants to try a linen warp. Keep tight, even tension for beaming and you won’t have any problems. It’s easy to dampen a linen warp, if needed, by spritzing the warp behind the heddles or laying a damp cloth across the warp behind the heddles. Normally, I have only needed to do that with single-ply linen. I had a few bumps in the road with linen at first, but over time linen and I have become good friends.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  2. Thanks for inviting us into your home for a tour of your beautiful projects! It must be wonderful to grace your home with such beautiful and useful textiles! I always come away inspired by your posts! Thank you,
    Marianne

    1. Hi Mariannew, One of the joys of weaving is making things we get to use every day. We’re delighted to have you “come over” for a visit.

      All the best,
      Karen

  3. do you mangle your linens? i would love to make more linen things. we made some at my 2 times at vavstuga. i think she must have a mangle i have seen people do it with tools by hand, not by machine. maybe something you could demonstrate for your blog.

    1. Hi Ellen, I do not have a mangle. That would be nice, but I don’t foresee having one myself. I tried one time to roll out a linen piece using a PVC pipe and a board. All I can tell you is that I don’t plan to do that again. One thing that is easy and does work with linen is to let the damp linen cloth lay flat on a countertop and air dry. I turn the cloth over periodically and smooth it out with my hands. I don’t do that every time, but it’s a good practice following the first time the linen cloth is washed.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  4. I first wove with linen before anyone scared me about it and loved it. Couldn’t understand why people were giving it such a bad name. I find each type of fiber needs its own type of handling. Thank you for acknowledging linen’s beauty and versatility!

    1. Hi Claudia, I agree with you, that every fiber needs its own type of handling. Linen is really wonderful to work with and has such beautiful results.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  5. I, too, have been a little intimidated by linen even though I love it. In a linen class at Vavstuga everyone kept breaking warp threads but I think is was warped in singles. Becky suggested a vaporizer under the warp; have you tried that?

    1. Hi Pam, I think the humidity level does make a difference. When I have woven with linen singles I lived in Houston, which has a humid climate. I might find a different experience in our current place, where the air is much more dry. I haven’t used a vaporizer or humidifier, but I will keep that in mind!

      Thanks,
      Karen

  6. I do love wearing linen in the summer. Sewn with it. Never wove with it. It will soften with each wash. The soft wrinkles do not bother me. It is in the same category of a little bit of felting in a beloved wool sweater or wear on the wrists of that college sweatshirt.

    Thank you for sharing.

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