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Why are we obsessed with linen?

Why are we obsessed with linen?

Posted on May 20 2016

Sometimes we get asked: why do you embroider on linen so often? isn't it a bit too rough on the skin?

We can never quite answer as extensively as we wish, so I thoght it would be a good idea to share with our readers聽some of the reasons why we think linen is the perfect ''magic'' fabric to match with our ''magic'' embroideries:聽

Since the olden days linen has been seen聽to have curative properties (see our brief history of linen below); such belief has been corroborated by modern studies.聽

... What properties?

-聽linen is highly hygroscopic as it is capable to rapidly absorb and yield moisture. It evaporates water as quickly as the pond surface. It has been established that before giving a聽feeling of being wet, linen cloth can absorb as much as 20% of its dry weight. That explains why linen cloth always feels fresh and cool;

-聽linen possesses high air permeability and heat conductivity properties. Heat conductivity of linen is five times as high as that of wool and 19 times as that of silk. In hot weather those dressed in linen clothes are found to show the skin temperature 3掳-4掳C below that of their silk or cotton-wearing friends. According to some studies, a聽person wearing linen clothes perspires 1.5 times less than when dressed in cotton clothes and twice less than when dressed in viscose clothes. Meanwhile in cold weather linen is an ideal warmth-keeper;

-聽the more linen is washed the -聽the more linen is washed the softer and smoother it becomes;聽

- 聽linen has a聽smooth mat surface and feels pleasant to the touch;

- linen has been used as underwear and bed linen for centuries and it was believed to reduce fatigue and lifts spirits;

-聽flax fabric acts as a聽filter, protecting the skin against chemical products, dust and other aggression; linen clothes help soothe several聽skin conditions聽- from common rash to chronic eczemas;

- linen reduces gamma radiation聽and protects the human organism against solar radiation. Flax fiber in聽contaminated soils does not appear to show traces of radiation;

-聽linen underwear possesses rare bacteriological properties. Resistant to fungus and bacteria, it is found to be an effective barrier to several diseases. According to medical studies conducted by Japanese researchers, bed sheets can prevent bedsores for bed-ridden patients;聽

-聽linen does not cause allergic reactions and is used to treat a聽number of allergic disorders;

-聽linen and聽inflammation:聽it may reduce fever by regulating air ventilation;聽

- linen cloth does not accumulate static electricity - even a聽small addition of flax fibers (up to 10%) to a聽cloth is enough to eliminate the static electricity effect;

-聽linen is renowned for its durability and long life. The tensile strength of linen thread is twice as high as that of cotton and three times that of wool;

-聽silica present in the flax fiber protects linen against rotting - the mummies of Egyptian Pharaohs preserved to the present day are wrapped in the finest linen cloth;

-聽linen rejects dirt and maintains a flat surface throughout the years;

-聽linen is聽easily washed聽in hot water and dried in the sun,聽and it may be聽hot-ironed;

-聽flax cell is highly compatible with the human cell and triggers聽a positive effect on the human organism. The human cell is capable to completely dissolve the flax cell. That is why flax fabric along with hemp and cotton, used to be the basis of surgical sutures. 聽

A Little History of Flax and Linen:聽

The earliest evidence of humans using wild flax as a textile comes from the present day Republic of Georgia, where spun, dyed, and knotted wild flax fibers were found in Dzudzuana Cave and dated to the Upper Paleolithic, 30,000 years ago.Flax was first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent region.聽There is evidence of a domesticated oil-seed flax with increased seed size by 9,000 years ago from Tell Ramad in Syria.聽Use of the crop steadily spread, reaching places as far as Switzerland and Germany by 5,000 years ago (3,000 BCE).聽In China and India domesticated flax was cultivated by at least 5,000 years ago (3,000 BCE).

Flax was extensively cultivated in ancient Egypt, where the temple walls had paintings of flowering flax and mummies were entombed in linen.Egyptian priests only wore linen, as flax was considered a symbol of purity. Phoenicians traded Egyptian linen throughout the Mediterranean, and the Romans used it for their sails.聽As the Roman Empire declined, so did flax production, but Charlemagne revived the crop in the 8th century CE with laws designed to publicize the hygiene of linen textiles and the health of linseed oil.聽Eventually, Flanders became the major center of the linen industry in the European Middle Ages.聽In North America, flax was introduced by the colonists and it flourished there.聽But by the early 20th century cheap cotton and rising farm wages had caused production of flax to become concentrated in northern Russia, which came to provide 90% of the world's output.

Some of the above might be why our customers who purchased linen beach towels last year, came back for more ahead of this summer and bought more as gifts!

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