The material of linen is the fiber of a plant called flax
A linen fabric that is soft and familiar to the skin. Do you know what kind of fiber it is made of? In fact, linen fabric is made of threads from a plant called flax. Even if you are familiar with linen fabric, there are probably few people who are familiar with the plant called flax. Therefore, in this article, I would like to introduce the flax plants that are the basis of linen fabric, how to grow them, and how to remove fibers.
A plant called flax
Flax is an annual plant of the Flaxaceae family and has been cultivated for a long time. It is also cultivated in Japan for a long time. In the Edo period, it was cultivated because seeds were used as medicine, and it was widely produced in Hokkaido from the Meiji era to the early Showa era as a fiber. In fact, flax is used not only as the fiber that is the basis of linen dough, but also as cooking oil. I summarized about such flax plants and flax threads made from flax.
Cultivation of flax
If flax is continuously cultivated on the same land every year, the yield will decrease and the quality will deteriorate, so we will rotate the flax for 6 to 7 years. When sowing seeds, they are harvested in April and from July to August.
The stem is as thick as a match stick, and when it grows up to about 1 m, it blooms a lovely blue flower at the tip, and when it is time to harvest, it bears ball-shaped fruits. The fibers are bundled between the epidermis of the stem and the xylem.
Flax thread made from flax
Threads spun from the stem fibers of flax plants are called flax threads. This is the raw material for linen fabric.
It is a soft, high-quality fiber that is easily mistaken for hemp, but flax is used for high-class clothing because it has excellent breathability and hygroscopicity when woven softly.
Flax yarn is also known to be tough, and it is said that poor quality fibers that cannot be made into high-class clothing due to its toughness were also used for tents and canvas. As evidence, the canvas of the Age of Discovery was made of cloth woven from flax.
Reference: Where flax cultivation continues in Hokkaido
Explain how to grow flax and how to take fiber
The origin of flax plants is the arid regions of Central Asia. Because it is a tough plant, it has the advantage of being resistant to dryness, but it is vulnerable to high temperatures and will die in the heat.
Therefore, it is suitable for growing flax plants in cold regions, and when looking at the cultivated areas in the world, it is in a higher latitude region than Sapporo City, Hokkaido. It is not suitable for cultivation in hot areas, but it is a relatively easy-to-grow plant because it does not matter what soil it is grown in.
Also, if you want to grow flax to enjoy pretty flowers, fertile soil seems to be better. In this section, we will introduce how to grow flax plants and how to take the fibers that are the threads of flax.
How to grow flax
The sowing time is from April. Until mid-May at the latest. The flowers will still bloom after that, but they will be short and slow to grow. If the depth is not enough, you may fall down when you grow tall, so cultivate at least 15.p. The depth of sowing is about 1 cm. Let's sprinkle it at intervals of about 2 cm. After sowing the seeds, cover it with soil. It will germinate in 3 to 10 days after the seeds are sown, depending on the climatic conditions.
Flax plants are resistant to dryness, so basically you don't need to water them, but if you're worried that the soil is empty, water them.
About one and a half months after germination, the height becomes about 1 m. After two months, small blue flowers will bloom. The cuteness is that the flowers bloom at sunrise and disperse in the afternoon. If you want to enjoy the flowers for a long time, try adding fertilizer at the beginning of the flowers. In the case of flax for seeding, it takes about 120 days after sowing to bear fruit, so it is recommended that the stems turn yellow and the pods turn brown. There are about 10 seeds in the pod. This seed can be sown again the following year if it is dried and stored. For textiles, the guideline is when a lot of green fruits are attached. The extracted flax is seeded and then dried.
How to take flax fiber
The flax extracted by the end of August is dried and "dumb" while the temperature is still high. "Dobutsuki" is a method of soaking flax in water to rot the stems and remove the fibers inside. If it is soaked in water for a long period of time, the fibers inside may become brittle, so it is necessary to carefully observe it. As a guideline, the number of days to apply is when the fibers that float lightly from the attached stem are pinched with your fingers and peeled off in a bow. Thoroughly wash the flax that has been smashed with water. If it is not rinsed during this washing with water, the odor may remain. Carefully wash with water to prevent the fibers from falling apart or getting entangled, then let them dry.
Squeeze the flax and dry it in the sun. If it rains, take it in a covered area and dry it only on sunny days.
When completely dried, the flax fibers turn yellowish-gray. This is the so-called "flax color". Dried flax is pressed with a roller to crush the stem, and this is combed with a brush to remove fibers. Once the fibers and stems are cleanly separated, spin with a flax thread pinch wheel to complete the flax thread. This is woven into linen cloth. This is the linen you all know.
Reference: Until linen is made: What is linen material, flax?
Regarding fibers from flax plants, linen is a fabric that is widely used from clothing to small items. It feels good on the skin, and the more you wash it, the softer it becomes and the easier it is to use. Linen products are also known to be durable and can be used habitually for a long time. From now on, I would like to talk about linen made from flax fiber.
Flax fiber can be taken from the stems of flax plants. Flax is a tough plant that is resistant to dryness, so it can be grown without being particular about soil or watering. After soaking the flax plant in water and drying it, the fiber is taken out, and the flax fiber becomes the raw material for linen and transforms into a linen product that everyone knows. I think linen is familiar to us, but many people may not know the route to flax and linen, which are the raw materials for linen. If you see the word flax, please be careful.