I have spun flax into linen thread, fine enough to make lace, but only just! I
made a small owl with it (Gill Dye's design?). I have discussed linen thread
with tutors from the Kantcentrum in Bruges. They told me that the old varieties
of flax, which were used to produce linen thread fine enough to make, for
instance, Binche lace, have been lost. Today's flax varieties just do not have
fine enough fibres. So the finest lace has to be made from cotton!
I wonder if there are slubs in old Binche lace - I have never looked, but it
should be possible to do so, maybe in museums in Belgium.
Sent from my iPad
> On 16 Oct 2016, at 21:14, Adele Shaak <ash...@shaw.ca> wrote:
> Hi Susan:
> True story - in London the mid-1960s, linen manufacturers worked and worked
> to get the slubs (that’s what those big hunks of lint are called) out of the
> linen thread used to make fabric, because people wanted smooth linen for
> high-quality dressmaking. Then the 60s fashion revolution happened and
> designer Mary Quant headed the trend that convinced them to keep the slubs,
> for the texture.
> Nothing to do with your 90/2 thread, of course, but an interesting story.
> Anyway, slubs have always been a part of linen thread. We’ve had a lot of
> discussions about linen thread over the years; you could probably find them
> in the archive. There are all sorts of twists and turns to the story (excuse
> the pun). Smooth threads in manufacturing are often achieved through cutting
> up the long flax fibre into very small pieces that are wet spun to achieve
> uniformity - but that takes away much of the strength of the fibre. Plus,
> it’s difficult to spin very fine linen thread by machine - in the past, very
> expert master handspinners achieved very fine linen threads, but that quality
> of skill just doesn’t exist any more.
> When I was into handspinning, every year I’d meet one or two people who were
> determined to learn handspinning so they could re-create the very fine linen
> threads of 200 years ago. They’d take the class and buy the equipment and the
> hank of flax and you’d never hear from them again, and I’m not surprised. I
> tried it once and with great difficulty I was able to produce a fair-quality
> baling twine ;-)
> I must say that I love to use linen thread and I don’t notice the slubs in
> the finished lace. Maybe I’m just so used to them, maybe it’s because
> mangling makes the lace look different, maybe they just don’t bug me the way
> they do you. I don’t know! You’re right in thinking that you will risk
> breaking the thread by picking out the slub. The thread will also be less
> twisted in the place where the slub used to be, and will be weaker in that
> spot as a result.
> This probably doesn’t help much, but since the list is quiet I thought
> nobody’d mind.
> West Vancouver, BC
> (west coast of Canada)
>> Hello All! May I ask what brand linen thread you are using & why? I'm a
>> bit steamed to find big hunks of lint stuck in 90/2 linen thread & unsure of
>> whether to pick it out & risk breaking the thread or cutting it out & adding
>> a new bobbin. While I realize that linen was nicer in the "good old days",
>> I'm concerned that there seems to be so little quality control for thread
>> that is now $xx a spool! Is one brand doing a better job of it than another
>> or is this just the new normal? Comments? Suggestions? Many thanks.
>> Sincerely, Susan Hottle USA
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