Flax Growing Project

2020 flax growing
Chewie overseeing flax drying in the sun.

In May 2020, HLP was granted funding from Tidy Towns to grow flax in a central location in our town. However Covid-19 hit and we had to make an alternative plan for growing the flax. We divided up the seeds between committee members and grew them in our own gardens with great success. Thankfully, most of the committee members had space for growing and so we could track progress together. By August 2020, three months later, the flax was ready for harvesting. After the flax was collected and tied up in beets and then stooked, it was left to dry completely. We then rhetted the flax by immersing the beets in water for ten days. It smelled really awful at this stage! It was then spread out to dry again. Once dried it could then be processed into linen. I built a flax brake and scutching board and purchased combs (heckle). The flax is pulled through a crimple to remove the husks and seeds, then it’s put through the flax break. When the husk is gone the fibers can then be combed. I attended a drop spindle class with Joyce Country Wool to learn how to spin flax into linen. I hope, when we can all be together, to pass on all I have learned over the last year.