The linen is off the loom and finished. Final measurements, 9 yards at 25 inches wide.
After finishing (but not ironed)
This project is the first time I had done any weaving with linen. For those of you that warned me it would be a different experience, boy were you right!
- Sizing really helps. I haven’t had the fraying issues I expected. In fact, so far my only broken warp threads have been caused by teeth (see photo below).
- Linen is inelastic. Once stretched it will not go back to its original shape. This made keeping tension difficult, especially due to my unusual, but not unexpected, stretching issues. I found that leaving the lease sticks in helped even out the tension. If I do another long linen yardage, I will order a second set of lease sticks and use all four instead of just the two I have. I also ended up dangling weights on individual threads that stretched.
No matter how hard you plan, something unexpected will occur.
The linen is warped!
So far, I’ve found the sizing made a tremendous difference. The string was much more manageable that it was unsized.
I have high hopes.
Because of the troubles I had with the wool fraying more than expected I am very sure that I am going to have problems with the linen, which is notorious for it. To help combat this, I am sizing the warp to increase it’s strength.
I haven’t been able to find any hard evidence of what sizing would have been used in period, I’ve opted to go with linseed. My assumption is that if they had access to the flax fibre, they would probably also have access to the seeds.
After searching around on the internet it seems a common formula is eight parts water to one part seeds, heated until the mixture has a consistency between coffee cream and egg white. After 30 minutes, I had what was closer to a very runny hair gel, and stopped there.
The sizing mixture. The dark colour is from the brown flaxseeds in the bottom.
After straining I dipped my warp chains in the mixture. Boy oh boy what a goopy mess! I wrung them out as best I could and hung them up to dry.
The warp chains hanging to dry.
Once dry I will warp up the loom as usual, and weave using a temple to help even out the draw in.