The Joy of Linen with Tom Knisely

I have a set of linen sheets (affiliate link) that are more than 20 years old. Aside from an inadvertent crayon stain, they look just as they did when I bought them, despite two decades of regular use. If you think that’s impressive, look at the linen fabric below, which dates to 1500 B.C. That sheet, people, is more than 3500 years old; I think we can forgive a bit of fraying here and there.

linen with Tom Knisely

Sheer linen fabric from Egypt, c. 1490 B.C. Credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1936

Linen is the armored tank of the fiber world: potentially tough to handle but strong and impervious to most damage. Unlike an armored tank, however, woven linen is supple and has a beautiful sheen. If you have ever wanted to weave with linen but have hesitated because of its tricky reputation, we have a solution: a new Tom Knisely video workshop called, coincidentally, Weaving with Linen.

Turning flax into thread is a messy business.

Before you can weave with linen, you need linen yarn. In the first part of his workshop, Tom turns woody flax plants into spinnable fiber, dresses a distaff, and spins that flax into thread. It’s a deep approach, but understanding how the thread is made helps one understand how it will behave, both on the loom and off. Linen is strong but completely inelastic, and there are tricks to winding bobbins, warping your loom, and weaving with linen that make for a very satisfying experience, culminating with beautifully finished cloth. Be sure to watch the preview above. Not only will this workshop have you weaving linen with confidence, it’s a lot of fun to watch.

linen with Tom Knisely

Lashing on creates a tight warp.

Weaving with Linen is available as a streaming workshop that you can watch anywhere, anytime. Want a deal? Subscribe to Interweave’s online workshops and tackle new techniques without leaving the house. For $9.99 a month, you can binge-watch to your heart’s content. Knit, crochet, spinning, or weave—hone a craft or learn a new one. Watch videos from great instructors, and access and download plenty of supporting material such as charts, diagrams, and patterns. Interact with other students via our chat boards, and post your finished assignments to a shared gallery so that others can see your work.

Never stop learning,

Want to learn more? Check out these resources:

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