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.
Wrap: Oscha Slings Alto Mivida, size 7 and Eesti shoulder ring sling
Fiber: 50% organic combed cotton / 50% Scottish linen 233gsm
Wrapper/Reviewer: Anne Rush (started wrapping in August 2014)
Wrappee: 24.5lb. / 19m old
Aesthetics: At first I worried about the colour based solely upon the photos. It appeared somewhere between a pastel and a neutral pink. I trend more toward bold colors and especially dislike pinks due to an overbearing older brother insisting it was a “sissy” color growing up. Upon receiving the piece, I was relieved to discover the color – while still in the pink range – was more toward the darker range and almost a Georgia clay or pink limestone color. Upon consultation with friends – was dubbed an antique rose.
I had been warned by the previous owner that the clouds on Mivida were smaller than normal. I found this to be accurate and personally felt the smaller clouds particularly fit this colorway; the coloring lends itself to an image of a desert sky at sunset where the clouds are more sparse and less full.
Qualities: The first thing I noticed was Mivida’s thinness. Compared with my other Oscha linen blend wraps; I was also struck by Mivida’s softness. My only other Oscha 50% linen / 50% cotton that I have received new was Sekai Aozora. Compared to Aozora, Mivida seemed to break in significantly faster. In hand, Mivida had little to no “cush” when squeezed and very low diagonal stretch. This was on par with all the other 50% linen blends that I have tried. The clouds provided a very light amount of texture as one passed one’s hand over it – just enough to promise no slip while wrapping but still allow for a lovely glide while executing multi-pass carries.
Mivida impressed me even more in wrapping qualities. My wrapping quality preferences are for wraps which are thin, soft, smooth or very low textured, with low to mid-stretch and good breathability while still providing excellent support. Mivida fired on almost all these qualities but for stretch – which no to low stretch tends to remain constant for 50% linen / 50% cotton across all the brands I have used so I associate with the blend itself, not with any failing in a wrap.
To assess Mivida’s wrapping qualities in relation to its differently source linen content, I specifically tested it alongside Oscha Sekai Aozora 7 (standard linen) and Oscha Strato Muscovado (wetspun linen). I tried to control as many variables as possible.