A washing guide for linen

Some years ago Maria wrote a washing guide for linen.
A washing guide for linen

I sometimes get questions about linen. I will try to answer those questions here, without getting too technical. But here are some technical facts anyway 😉 The linen fibers are straight (think of straight hair, the fibers look very much the same). This means they have almost zero flexibility and stretch. They contain natural glue. When spinning the thread, water is added to the fibers and the glue sticks them together, which makes the thread really strong.
1. When buying fabric. It’s preferable that you wash your linen before you make something out of it. Linen shrinks about 5% during the first washing. Some qualities may shrink as much as 10%.
2. To avoid permanent breakage of the fibers you need to pre-soak the fabric. This is easiest to do in a bath tub. Try to lay the fabric down as flat as possible. I always try to go from one side to the other of the tub with the fabric. After all the fabric is down, I fill the tub up with lukewarm water and leave the fabric to soak for 4-5 hours. This allows the fibers to absorb as much water as possible. The first time linen fibers get wet (after spinning, that is) they will ”permanent” the shape they have when they come into contact with water. If you lay them out flat, they will more or less stay that way in the future. If you crumble them up into a pile in the washing machine, they will break – and get permanent breakage lines.

Pictures by: Markus Andersson
RinglaRingla - FEL-2

3. After the soaking you can wash the fabric in a washing machine. The natural glue in the fibers doesn’t like higher temperatures than 70 degrees Celsius. So just to be safe, use a washing program of no more than 60 degrees. If possible, avoid intense spin cycles at the end of the program.
4. Detergent – no optic whitener! Just use normal detergent. And NO softener! Softener ”coats” the fibers and will prevent the linen from absorbing water and cause it to lose its shine. (Softener is also highly allergenic and extremely bad for the environment!) ”But linen is so rough”, you might think. Well
 If treated right, linen is soft. Or maybe you should get cotton instead.
5. Drying. A straight fiber wants to dry in a straight position. Drip drying is the best method. Clothespins are your best friends here. If possible, allow the fabric to dry in normal room temperature, or outdoors. If this is not possible, a room with a heating fan will do fine. Tumble drying is a BIG NO-NO! Why? The heat will dissolve the glue and the fibers will separate – and when separated, they break easier. The fabric eventually becomes ”fluffy” on the surface, like flannel, and its ability to become smooth and shiny, like silk, will be gone forever.
6. A flat fiber is a happy fiber. After drying, mangling is highly recommended! If the drying is done right, the linen will get smooth and shiny like silk. Also, the life of the linen increases every time you do this. A mangle isn’t something that every person owns, and they can sometimes be hard to find. The important thing is that it’s NOT the kind with a heating aggregate attached to it. In Birka, the archaeological finds tell us that people knew to treat their linen right. Among the finds are a shoulder blade from a moose and a glass smoother.  The latter is a round, smooth piece of glass, and when rubbed across the linen, using the hard shoulder blade for support underneath the fabric, the linen fibers flatten and become shiny. A steaming iron can also be useful. Avoid the steam! Even if the iron often indicates that the highest temperature is for linen, you can turn down the heat a little bit to save the important glue in your fabric. Use a spray bottle with lukewarm water to dampen your fabric before ironing. Wait until the water has soaked INTO the fabric, and isn’t just lying on top of it. Iron in the same direction as the warp and weft, not bias-wise. Use one hand to hold the edge and stretch the fabric, then work your way towards the hand. Ironing will make your fabric flat and smooth but not especially shiny.
6. Make yourself something nice out of your stunning fabric. Treated right, your fabric will live a long time. Please tell me if there is something that I’ve missed, something I could explain better or if you would like to share something else concerning linen! /Maria

Intarsia embroidery class

This weekend is full of intarsia embroidery. We are holding a course in Stockholm. The participants just skipped out for lunch and they are all very excited about getting started. Giving you some pictures of the samples they have made during the morning. 

Diamantkypert efter fynd frĂ„n Birka /Diamond twill after find from Birka

Vi har nu fÄtt in diamantkypertvÀvt tyg. Tyget Àr en rekonstruktion efter fynd frÄn Birka. Dateringen Àr 800- 1000.
Tyget Àr vÀvt i ren ny ull. TrÄdtÀtheten Àr 36 tr/ cm i varp och 16 tr/ cm i inslag.
Bredden Àr 158 cm inklusive stadkanter och och vikten pÄ tyget Àr 165 gram/ kvadratmeter.
Vi har provfÀrgat tyget med vÀxtfÀrger och det fungerar fantastiskt bra.
Priset Àr 620:-/m
Tyget gÄr ocksÄ att bestÀlla i olika vÀxtfÀrgade fÀrger om sÄ önskas. FrÄga efter prisuppgift.
För att bestÀlla: skicka mail historical.textiles@gmail.com

We have now received a diamond twill. The fabric is a reconstruction after findings from Birka. The dating is 800 -1000 AD.
The fabric is woven in pure new wool. The thread count is 36 tr / cm in warp and 16 tr / cm in weft.
The width is 158 cm including the selwages and the weight of the fabric is 165 grams / square meter.
We have test dyed the fabric with vegetable dyes, and it works fantastically well.
The price is 620sek/m or 61 Euro/m
The fabric can also be ordered in various plant dyed colors if desired. Ask for a price.
To order: send email to historical.textiles@gmail.com

3000 followers on Facebook

English within the text
10 september 2015 sÄ startade vi vÄr Facebooksida. VÄr idé med sidan var att vi skulle pÄ ett lÀtt sÀtt kunna dela blogginlÀgg, bÄde vÄra egna men ocksÄ andras, men ocksÄ för att pÄ ett lÀtt sÀtt kunna kommunicera med er som Àr intresserade av historiska textilier.

Vi tĂ€nkte att det kanske skulle bli runt 200-300 personer som skulle följa sidan. Ganska snabbt upptĂ€ckte vi att det var fler personer som tyckte mycket om gamla textiler och ville prata om dessa. 6 februari 2017 passerade vi 3000 följare pĂ„ Facebook. Vi Ă€r lĂ€tt chockerade men ocksĂ„ oerhört glada över att det finns sĂ„ mĂ„nga som delar vĂ„r passion för textil. Vi har under den tid vi har drivit sidan “firat” dĂ„ antalet följare har kommit upp i ett jĂ€mnt antal. Det vill vi Ă€ven göra idag, men denna gĂ„ng har vi valt att vĂ€lja var sin favorittextil. Vi kommer att skriva mer om dessa textilier lĂ€ngre fram, idag blir det bara ett litet smakprov.

September 10, 2015, is the day when we started our Facebook page. The idea with the page was that it would be an easy way to share blog posts, both our own but also from other people, and also an easy way to communicate with those who are interested in historical textiles.

We thought maybe it would be around 200-300 people that would follow our page. Fairly quickly we discovered that there were more people who liked old textiles and wanted to talk about them. February 6, 2017, we passed 3,000 followers on Facebook. We are shocked but also extremely happy that there are so many people who share our passion for textiles. During the time we have operated the page we have “celebrated” when the number of followers has come up in an even number. We would, off course, like to celebrate but this time we have chosen our own favorite textile. We will write more about these textiles in the future, today it will be just a small teaser.

Amicas val: Överdelen till en dyna, vĂ€vd i dubbelvĂ€v. Den dateras till senmedeltiden.
Idag finns den i samlingarna hos Statens historiska museum.
Varför har du valt denna Amica?
Jag tror att jag gillar den sÄ mycket för att den pÄ hÄll ser sÄ jÀmn och fin ut, men nÀra sÄ ser man att det Àr tvÄ vÀldigt olika garner som anvÀnts och att den har relativt fÄ trÄdar per cm. Den gula trÄden har vÀldigt hög snodd och Àr ganska ojÀmn i tjockleken. Den bruna som verkar vara av naturbrun ull Àr annorlunda i kvalitén. Jag gillar ocksÄ att mönstret Àr förenklat och att mönstret Àr vÀl anpassat till vÀvtekniken.

Amica’s choice:
The top of a cushion, woven in double weave. It dates back to the late Middle Ages. Today it is in the collections of the State Historical Museum.
Why have you chosen this Amica?
I think I like it so much because from a distance it looks so smooth and fine, but closely you will see that two very different yarns have been used. And that it has relatively few threads per cm. The yellow thread has a very high twist and are quite uneven in thickness. The brown thread, that seems to be the natural brown wool, is different in quality. I also like that the design is simplified and that the pattern is well adapted to the weaving technique.

Marias val: En halsringning till en skjorta, daterad till 1500-talet. Idag finns den i samlingarna hos Statens historiska museum.
Varför har du valt denna Maria? 
Jag Àlskar denna dÄ den kan visa sÄ mycket av konstruktionen runt skjortor frÄn tiden. Linnetyget Àr fint utan att vara det mest högklassiga. Den kÀnns som ett vardagligt plagg.

Maria’s choice: A neckline of a shirt, dating to the 1500s. Today it is in the collections of The Swedish History Museum.
Why have you chosen this Maria?
I love this because it can tell so much of the constructions around the shirts from the time. Linen is fine without being the highest quality. It feels like an everyday item.


Masku villaintarsia

Straight from the opening of the exhibition in National museum of Finland. 

The  Masku inlaid woollen coverlet have been reconstructed by 16 engaged persons. Elina Sojonen and Mervi Pasanen have been the project leaders of this amazing project. 

We are so happy that we could be here right now and see the outcome of everyones hard work. 

Right now the original and the reconstruction is exhibit in the same room. Don’t miss the chance to see them both together. 

Sorry for the bad quality of the photos. The original is behind glass and tricky to photograph. 

Amica & Maria 

Del av en skjorta/ Part of a shirt/ Parte di una camicia

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Traduzione Italiana Anna Attiliani  A big Thank you! to Kristina and Stina for help with English text and pictures.
Read about the collection here

Del av en skjorta
Samlingsnummer 39
Kasserad mellan 1470- 1540

Textilien som analyserats har vi valt att kalla för del av en skjorta. Detta dÄ det finns ett stort antal skjortor i konsten som vÀl överensstÀmmer med den analyserade textilen.

Skjortan Àr sydd av ett mycket fint linnetyg. Tyget har ursprungligen varit vitt. Tyget Àr vÀvt i tuskaft. TrÄdtÀtheten uppskattas till omkring 30tr/cm. Det finns viss luft mellan trÄdarna.

Den bevarade delen mÀter 12cm i lÀngd varav den rynkade kanten finns pÄ ca. 5-6 cm av den totala lÀngden. Den rynkade delen Àr, idag, ca. 1 cm bred. Vecken pÄ skjortan ligger kant i kant och de Àr 5 mm djupa. Det gÄr 12 veck pÄ 1 cm. Tyget Àr dubbelvikt och sedan rynkad mot ett sytt band dÀr den Àr fastsydd. Bandet föreligger vara sytt. av samma tyg som skjortan. Det Àr vikt och hopsytt med dubbla rader stygn. Stygnen Àr mycket smÄ och tÀta. LintrÄden Àr 2-trÄdig och mer Àn dubbelt sÄ grov som trÄdarna i vÀven.

Kommentar om skjortan
Skjortan Àr mycket fragmentarisk och det finns bara en liten del av halslinningen kvar.

Kommentar frÄn Historical textiles
Vi har inga faktiska belĂ€gg för att detta Ă€r en halslinning pĂ„ en krage. Men vi kan inte komma pĂ„ nĂ„gon annan del av ett plagg dĂ€r detta skulle passa. DĂ„ fragmentet idag mĂ€ter 12 cm pĂ„ lĂ€ngden och det gĂ„r 12 veck per/ cm och att det i varje veck gĂ„r Ă„t 1 cm tyg. Detta ger dĂ„ 12 cm tyg per 1 cm veckad yta. Fragmentet Ă€r inte heller komplett med nĂ„gon form av avslutning.  Detta ger dĂ„ en tygbredd pĂ„ 144cm pĂ„ 12 cm veckad kant. Vi anser att mĂ€ngden tyg pekar pĂ„ att detta bör tillhöra bĂ„len pĂ„ ett plagg. Vi tar vĂ€ldigt gĂ€rna emot synpunkter pĂ„ detta. 🙂

Återigen Ă€r vi superglad att fĂ„ se en sĂ„dan unik textil. Sömnaden Ă€r av högsta klass och tyget Ă€r av allra finaste kvalitet. Givetvis hade det varit hĂ€ftigt att fĂ„ se mer av konstruktionen, men vi Ă€r glada för det vi fĂ„tt se. 
/ Amica & Maria
Alla bilder omfattas av CC by SA. Fotograf: Historical Textiles, anges vid delning av bilder.


Part of a shirt
Collection number 39
Deposited between 1470 and 1540

We have chosen to call the piece of fabric being analysed here part of a shirt, since there is a large number of shirts depicted in art which correspond well with the piece of fabric in question.

The shirt is made from a very fine linen fabric, originally white in colour, in plain weave. The threadcount is estimated as about 30 threads per centimetre in both warp and weft. There is even some space between threads.

The preserved part is twelve centimetres long, of which 5-6 centimetres is a pleated edge. The pleated part is, today, about one centimetre wide. The pleats are edge to edge and five millimetres deep, making twelve pleats in the space of one centimetre. The fabric is folded over and then pleated on an attached ribbon. The ribbon appears to be made of the same fabric as the shirt, and is folded double and then attached with a double row of stitches. The stitches are very small and close, and the linen thread used is tvÄtrÄdig Ànd more than twice as heavy as the threads used to weave the fabric.

Comments on the shirt
The shirt is a very small fragment and the only perserved piece is a small part of the neck opening.

Comments from Historical textiles
We cannot in fact confirm that this is the neck opening of a shirt. However, we cannot conceive of any other part of a garment where this fragment would fit in. The fragment preserved is 12 centimetres long, with 12 pleats per centimetre and one centimetre of fabric per pleat; this results in 12 centimetres of fabric per centimetre of pleats.  The fragment is also not complete but lacks any kind of finished edge. This, then, would result in a fabric width of 144 centimetres for a 12 centimetre shrilled edge. We think the amount of fabric involved points to this being part of the body of a garment, and would be happy to hear back from anyone with ideas and input on the subject. 🙂

Yet again, we are very happy to be given the opportunity to examine a piece of farbic as unique as this. The sewing is first-rate and the fabric itself of the highest quality. Of course it would have been amazing to see more of the construction of the garment, but we are still very happy at what has been available for our studies.
/Amica & Maria
All images subject to CC by SA. Photographer: Historical Textiles, specified at sharing of images.

Parte di una camicia
Numero 39 della collezione
Depositato tra il 1470 e il 1540 

Abbiamo deciso di chiamare il pezzo di stoffa qui analizzato ‘parte di una camicia’, dal momento che c’Ăš un gran numero di camicie rappresentate nell’arte che corrisponde bene con questo reperto.

La camicia Ăš fatta di un tessuto di lino molto sottile, inizialmente di colore bianco, a tessitura piana. Il numero dei fili per centimetro Ăš stimato essere intorno a 30, sia nella trama che nell’ordito: c’Ăš addirittura un po’ di spazio tra i fili. 

La parte conservata Ăš lunga 12 cm, dei quali 5-6 cm costituiscono un’estremitĂ  pieghettata che Ăš, oggi, larga circa 1 cm. Le pieghe vanno da un’estremitĂ  all’altra e sono profonde 5 mm,  costituendo 12 pieghe nello spazio di 1 cm. La stoffa Ăš piegata sopra e pieghettata su un nastro ad essa attaccato.  Il nastro sembra essere fatto dello stesso tessuto della camicia, Ăš piegato due volte e attaccato con una doppia fila di punti. I punti sono molto piccoli e vicini: il lino usato per cucire Ăš a due capi e piĂč di due volte piĂč spesso rispetto al filo usato per tessere la stoffa della camicia.

Commenti sulla camicia
La camicia Ăš un frammento molto piccolo e l’unica parte conservata Ăš una piccola porzione dell’apertura del collo.

Commenti di Historical Textiles
Non possiamo di fatto confermare che questa sia proprio l’apertura del collo di una camicia, tuttavia non possiamo concepire nessun’altra parte di un abito che potrebbe combaciare con questo frammento. Il frammento conservato Ăš lungo 12 cm, con 12 pieghe al centimetro e 1 centimetro di stoffa per ogni piega: il risultato Ăš 12 centimetri di stoffa per 1 cm di stoffa pieghettata.

Il frammento inoltre non Ăš completo dal momento che Ăš privo di ogni tipo di margine rifinito. Questo dunque significa che per avere 12 cm di stoffa pieghettata serve un tessuto dell’altezza di 144  cm. Pensiamo quindi che la quantitĂ  di stoffa utilizzata suggerisca che questo frammento sia stato parte del corpo di un indumento, e saremmo contente di avere un riscontro da chiunque abbia idee o input a riguardo.

Ancora una volta, siamo molto contente di aver avuto l’opportunitĂ  di esaminare un frammento tessile unico come questo. Le cuciture sono di grande raffinatezza e il tessuto stesso Ăš della qualitĂ  piĂč alta. Naturalmente sarebbe stato fantastico poter sapere qualcosa in piĂč sulla costruzione dell’abito, ma siamo comunque molto felici di quanto Ăš disponibile per i nostri studi.
/Amica & Maria

Tutte le immagini sono sottoposte al copyright di.  Fotografo: Historical Textiles. Quanto precede deve essere riportato in ogni condivisione del materiale fotografico.

Historical Textiles now as a company

During the autumn we have started a company, Historical textiles AB (Ltd)
That means we are going to start selling things, lectures, workshops and much more. As a start we are going to offer handwoven linen/ fustian/ half linen, yarn, drop spindles, sewing thread, wax, material kit for intarsia embroidery among other things. We can also take orders on plant dyes yarn or fabric.

If you have an idea on what you want, but can’t find it – contact us and we will try to do our best to help you out.

Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!
/Amica and Maria

Grön silkessammet med broderi/ Green silk velvet with embroidery

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I samlingarna hos VÀstergötlands museum finns en mÀsshake av grön silkessammet med broderier. Tyget Àr daterat till 1400-talet. Vad broderiet Àr daterat till vet vi inte med 100% sÀkerhet just nu, men dÄ vi vet skall vi Äterkomma till detta. Kolla in det bortsprÀttade blÄfÀrgade linnefodret och de fina skarvningarna av silkessammeten.
Tack till Johanna för visningen.

In the collections of VÀstergötland Museum is a chasuble of green silk velvet with embroidery. The fabric is dated to the 1400s, the embroidery we do not know with 100% certainty right now, but when we know we shall return to this. Check out the removed blue colored linen lining and the seams.
A big Thank you, to Johanna for showing the archive.


Lödöse ID A8 randigt ylletyg/ Lödöse ID A8 striped wool fabric

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Lödöse ID A8
UllvÀvnad i tuskaft, nu brun i fÀrgen, med ripsrÀnder uppbyggd i fyra delar av tre olika fÀrger.

Storlek: 23x 11 cm
Varp: Z-spunnen trÄd, tunn, 8-9 tr/cm
Inslag: S-spunnen, nÄgot tjockare Àn inslaget, 7-8 tr/cm

Randen Àr uppbyggd av tre fÀrger. Mörkt gulbrun, röd, gulbrun, samt mörkt gulbrun. Randen Àr relativt grov. Sammanlagt bestÄr den av 26 trÄdar som tillsammans blir 1,9 cm. DÀrefter kommer ett tuskafts parti och en ny rand Àr invÀvd efter 6,2 cm.
6 tr mörk gulbrun
8 tr röd
6 tr gulbrun
6 tr mörk gulbrun

Fragmentet Àr nÄgot ruggat pÄ den ena sidan. Fragmentet kommer ur de medeltida stadslagren i Lödöse. Det Àr inte nÀrmre daterat Àn sÄ, men en jÀmförelse med andra likartade fynd placerar tyget runt 1300-talet.


Lödöse ID A8
Wool weave in plain weave, now brown in color, with stripes woven in double tabby, buildup in four parts of three different colours.

Size: 23x 11 cm
Warp: Z-spun thread, thin, 8-9 tr / cm
Weft: S-spun, slightly thicker than the weft, 7-8 tr / cm

The stripe
The stripe is made up of three colours. Dark yellowish brown, red, yellowish and dark yellowish brown. The stripe is relatively rough. In total it consists of 26 threads which together measures 1.9 cm. Thereafter a plain weave  for 6,2 cm before the new stripe starts again.
6 tr. dark yellowish brown
8 tr. red
6 tr. yellowish
6 tr. dark yellowish brown

The fragment is slightly fulled on one side. The fragment comes from the city material of the medieval town  Lödöse. It is not dated closer than that, but a comparison with other similar findings place the fabric around the 1300s.
Amica and Maria