Yarn and flax
In Europe, flax is grown in France, Belgium, and the Netherlands under the coordination of the European Flax and Hemp Confederation (CELC) founded in 1951. These three countries produce more than 80% of the world's linen production. Several actors intervene in the transformation of flax, everything starts with the flax growers who oversee the first transformation during the retting.
The retting is the step which consists in leaving the stems of flax on the ground after having torn them off 7 weeks after the bloom. The flax is left on the ground in the field during the whole month of August, thanks to the alternation of the rain and the sun as well as the micro-organisms present in the ground, the flax will naturally be retting the textile fibers will separate from the woody part of the stem. This first stage of transformation requires climatic conditions adapted to have long and good quality fibers.
Once the retting is finished, the flax straws are rolled into bales to be transported to the scutching. This mechanical transformation is done in factories with scutchers grouped in cooperatives. The scutching consists in extracting the fibers contained in the external envelope of the stem (straw) to be able to exploit them and separate them from the wood (straw). The recycled wood is used as bedding for horses, as fuel and for other purposes. During the scutching process, long fibers (filasse) are obtained, mainly for the textile industry, and short fibers are used in the furniture, stationery and sports and leisure equipment industries.
The cooperatives play an important role in the transformation of the plant into flax fiber, they ensure a regular supply of quality flax fibers thanks to their know-how which are exported, used for specific purposes, or sent to spinning mills for the textile industry. The spinning is the transformation of the fibers into threads, this step is done either with the help of hot water baths for the fine threads or dry for the more rustic threads. Once the spinning is finished, the yarn is sent to the weavers for weaving or to the knitters to improve the techniques to obtain very fine, soft, and elastic meshes.
The weaving of the threads depends on the use of the fabric, or the location of the material made from linen. The threads are interwoven one by one according to a well-defined technique warp threads (length) and weft threads (width). And then we obtain pure linen fabrics or mixtures.
The last step of the transformation is ennoblement, which consists in giving the fabrics the desired properties in the form of bleaching, dyeing, or softening.
The products made from the plant are biodegradable and are easily recycled when not mixed with other components.