Monthly Archives: January 2017

Linen – A Surprisingly Scottish Story

The first of our series of yarn blog posts focuses on linen, which turns out to have had a significant part to play in the history of Scottish industry.

It’s always surprising how we learn new things. Here I am out for a walk, thinking of nothing much but how cold I am, and the next thing is I’m having a lesson in the making of linen.

I’m walking across a field, feet mud suckered, wind-blasted by the gale whipping off the North Sea when suddenly I’m teetering on the lip of a waterlogged hole.
‘It’s an old retting pit,’ shouts the local farmer.
‘What on earth is a retting pit?’ I yell back, as a splatter of rain stings my face. He starts to explain but I’m chittering with cold.
‘Awa ye go hame lass,’ he calls and I retreat gratefully, leaving the farmer checking over his sheep, to an internet search accompanied by a steaming mug of hot chocolate – the cold slowly dissipating from my bones.

flax_03

Retting flax

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