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Growing flax

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Wild Fibres natural fibres > plant fibres > flax > grow flax

Grow your own Flax

Field of Flax in Belgium | Natural Fibres
A patch of flax is a beautiful sight. Even if you have no intention of using it for fibre, this plant is worth growing for the flush of blue flowers alone. The seed pods that follow the flowers are also very decorative, and flax drying in stooks provides great interest and architectural beauty.

In the past many families grew a small patch of flax. They spun and wove the fibre to make their own bed linen and clothes. You can still do this today in a large garden or an allotment. A rolling pin, a plastic comb and a dog comb is all you need to process small amounts of fibre. If you become keen on linen production, you can acquire flax processing tools such as a flax brake, rippler, scutching knife and flax hackle.

The information below is intended as guidance for growing flax in small quantities for hand spinning. Professional flax growers may use different techniques.

1) Sowing Flax
2) Harvesting Flax
3) Rippling Flax
4) Retting Flax Fibre

5) Breaking Flax Fibre

6) Spinning Flax & using a Flax Distaff


Full Flax menu - growing, harvesting & spinning flax for linen

1) Sowing Flax (opens a new page)

  a) Which seed do I need?

  b) What area will my seed cover?

  c) How should I sow the flax?

  d) When should I sow flax?

2) Harvesting Flax (opens a new page)

  a) When do I harvest the flax?

  b) How do I harvest the flax?

  c) How much fibre will I get?

  d) How do I prepare the fibre

3) Rippling flax (opens a new page)

4) Retting Flax Fibre (opens a new page)

  a) Dew retting the flax

  b) Water retting the flax

5) Breaking flax fibre (opens a new page)

6) Scutching & Heckling or hackling flax (in preparation)

7) Spinning flax & flax distaffs (opens a new page)

   a) Types of flax distaff

   b) Making a cone distaff

   c) Preparing flax for the distaff

   d) Dressing a flax distaff

   e) Spinning flax from a distaff (in preparation)

Back to Linen & Flax - History, Biology & Linen Fibre Production.

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Teresinha at Wild Fibres
Studio I-319, Scott House, The Custard Factory
Gibb Street, Birmingham B9 4DT, UK

Contact Teresinha for enquiries on
Tel:  +44 (0)7979 770865
email: info@wildfibres.co.uk

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Last updated on 02 June 2023
Website and photos by Mike Roberts © 2008-23 Wild Fibres