Linen is perhaps the most virtuous of all fabrics.  It is produced from the flax plant every part of which has a use:  The seeds are ground to make oil for paint and linoleum flooring, the pulp goes into banknotes, and the fibres inside the wooden stalks are woven into linen fabric. Before the spinning and weaving takes place, flax is transformed into linen using a medieval vocabulary of retting (washing and drying), scotching (removing the woody stems), and hackling (splitting and straightening the fibres).  Linen has been prized for years for its unique handle, drape and texture and especially for its exceptional coolness and freshness in hot weather. 


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