> I seem to remember many years ago reading that the cultivars of flax that
made the finest threads were deliberately destroyed during the French
Revolution, along with any saved seeds. However, all may not be lost! Flax is
a diploid plant with perfect flowers, an inbreeding system, and an annual
habit. The means it should  (theoretically) be fairly easy to identify,
isolate and breed new varieties.
> I decided last spring that I wanted to play around with developing new
varieties of some garden veggies, and thought it would be fun to try flax as
well. It was too late to start this season-- flax needs to be planted as soon
as the ground can be worked and it was already late spring when I started
thinking about it. I had hoped to begin  in spring of 2017, and wanted to
start with several different varieties of seeds. But it is very difficult to
find more than 1 or 2 varieties. So I will play around with what I can find
and see what happens.
> It's important to remember that we don't have to wait for some big research
facility to get us better linen threads. Anyone with a home garden and a cool
climate can jump in and do their part for horticulture and lace!

It would be brilliant if you could do it, but it would probably be a one-off
handspun thread.  Even if you do manage to breed flax with very fine bast
fibres the big problems would be growing enough and then finding a commercial
spinner prepared to take on a very small production run.

A couple of years ago Bart & Francis in Belgium were hoping to get some very
fine linen into production again but I have heard nothing more about that.

Brenda in Allhallows

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