Grow linen yarn sustainably and organically. A book for homesteaders, gardeners, and yarn lovers.
Discover: how to grow flax for fibre • how to adapt growing techniques to your conditions using permaculture techniques • how to create a personalized fibre flax variety • how to process fibre from flax straw • the tools • tips and tricks for working with linen • other uses for flax
I seriously love this book. Tracy's illustrations are not only beautiful, they are also simple and do a fantastic job of visually explaining what Raven's writing about. I first read this book in it's nascent stages, before there were illustrations. And, while Raven's words do a marvelous job of explaining things, the illustrations add so much. I love Tracy's detailed, uncluttered artistic style that compliments this books so well, both in feel and appearance.
Raven's writing style is a delight to read. It's fun and quirky and so informative. The first time I read this book, I was half asleep, nursing a baby, and it was midnight, and I had no real prior knowledge of flax or linen. I wasn't even that interested in reading about linen. Until I started reading, that is! Her writing style kept me awake and learning and wanting to read more.
She takes something that seems overwhelming and impossible and makes it not only do-able, but also desirable. Before reading this book, I was not really interested in flax/linen, and really had no desire to grow my own, let alone spin it. But, well, now I've read the book, and there's flax seeds on the way, and I think I might just find a patch of soil to grow my own flax! Maybe I'll even get some flax seeds from the grocery store, like Raven suggests, and add them to the other seeds and start my own landrace.
Raven literally takes you from seeds, to growing, to harvesting, to retting to carding and spinning. And, the fact that I can rattle off all those steps without a second thought is a true testiment to how wonderful this book is.
This book is a must-have for:
Anyone the slightest bit interested in fibre arts (like knitting, sewing, weaving). I love to knit and sew, and this book has me wanting to experiment with flax. It's cooler than cotton!
Anyone who wants to be prepared for "The end of the world as we know it." It's a perfect resource to have on hand, "just in case."
Anyone who's interested in history. I LOVE all the historical tidbits she added to this book!
Anyone who just wants an interesting book to read that will also teach you cool stuff
I give this book 9 out of 10 acorns!
HOMEGROWN LINEN Transforming flaxseed into fibre by Raven Ranson is an excellent resource for making the transition from spinning wool to spinning flax.
The terminology used to talk about flax was unfamiliar to me and I am glad Raven gave good definitions of words as she used them, and provided a glossary in the back. Linen has been woven since at least 3500 BC, so there are words for every bit of the process, that once they are explained make perfect sense, but are mildly intimidating to start with as they are unfamiliar.
This book starts with how to grow and harvest your own flax, including a lot of things I found fascinating, like fiber flax and seed flax are the same plant, but historically have been grown differently. I understand now why it was grown differently, and where it would grow best on my property for either seed production or fiber production. Understanding WHY things are done is important to me, and through the whole book not only does she teach what to do, but why it has been done that way, so changes can be made to the process depending on local conditions. Permaculture teaches us to adapt our techniques to local conditions, so I like understanding the reason behind the historical and standard techniques that are taught, so I can adapt it to my own circumstances.
Turning the harvested flax into fiber, and the techniques for working with it to spin it into thread are explained clearly, and all the unfamiliar terminology was quickly not strange anymore. Raven’s extensive experience with fiber processing and spinning shows, as she explains what it feels and looks like when done right, the possible errors, and how to correct them. It’s like taking a class from an excellent instructor, without having to travel to do it! That means a lot to me, a lot of people have good skills, but do not communicate it well in a book, and it frustrates me to read a book and feel I still don’t know how to do it. That is not a problem here, and I expect that anyone who has spun and wove other fibers will be able to spin flax immediately, all you need to know is there.
Another thing I liked was discussion of making paper out of flax, I know linen paper is excellent, and I may make some to try with my artwork. And I admit, I giggled at what NOT to do, I won’t kill a blender now, Raven sacrificed hers so I won’t have to ruin mine.
All in all, an excellent, educational book written by someone who knows their craft well, and illustrated beautifully by Tracy Wandling, and very much worth reading! I’ll be growing flax soon!
I was wondering when the book would be available to purchase? I want to give it to my daughter for her 20th birthday in mid-March. She has been spinning for a number of years already. First withdrop spindles made by her younger brother and wool from her angora rabbits. The past 2 years has been with a small spinning wheel made by her older brother and using fleeces from various sheep breeds. Last year we grew cotton together, but she had yet to really work with it. So, this year I hope she can make the foray into flax. Thank you for all your efforts to make this information available 😀
I'm hoping to do an official update in a day or so, with pictures and exciting news.
Basically, the book is done. The printer ran it through their testing system to make certain that everything is in the right place. Tracy did a fantastic job with the layout, no major delays there.
Next came the proof - a mock-version of the book. Actually, the proofing happened in three stages. The colour pages were printed and approved, then they printed a full version of the book, but it wasn't bound correctly. Last of all, they printed a proof with the proper binding to make certain it looks good and nothing is lost in the 'gutter' (the bit of the page near the spine). I had to sign each stage.
It's all at the printer now. Nothing left to do but wait. The printer suggests it will take about two weeks... so long as there are no surprises.
All in all, we are a few weeks behind schedule, but I think it's worth it because we got to add a lot of extra goodies to the book thanks to the stretch goal.
Once I have the book in hand, I'll put it for sale on my etsy shop.
I also want to encourage shops to carry the book and contact me for wholesale pricing. Buying in bulk saves on shipping.
Here is a link to Raven's Etsy shop. She has it listed on her website, Crowing Hen Farm.
posted 1 month ago
Thanks Joylynn. I’ve actually been hanging out here on and off for years. I just never had anything to say😊. With my daughter becoming more and more involved with fiber arts
I now have a reason to wander over to this area. I will eventually get her hooked in to this website, but not until I give her Ravens book for her birthday next month. She would probably find and and get it for herself!
I was a test subject for Raven's shipping (to work out any possible kinks) and I got my package today!!!
My kids, of course, were nearly as excited as me to open the package--they had to help, too :D
My son thought the bookmark was super cool, and asked me to take a picture. How could I not? It's lovely!
And my book, oh my goodness, it is so much more lovely in person than when I previewed it online. I had to run outside to get a nice picture.
Seeds! Had to get a nice picture of my future flax field :D
The drop spindle is awesome, and my son opened it up and assembled it before I had a chance to! I love that it comes with instructions, and that Homegrown Linen has a really useful how-to-spin tutorial in the back. Having never spun before, I've been reading it over and over!
I couldn't resist trying my first hand at spinning, using some roving I had around!
The book is just so lovely. Even though I'd been able to preread it before it was published, it is SO MUCH more amazing in it's physical form. The ink is so shiny and the quality of the book is very high. The pictures are very high resolution, too. I love how the little sidebars pop out when I flip through the book. I was skimming through it, enjoying all the pictures and lovely formating, when Joseph Lofthouse's name popped out! There he was, in a really neat little sidebar. SO COOL!
And, of course, there's something rather magical about seeing my own name in print, even in the very pretty page of thanks.
This book, and all the wonderful things I got with it through the kickstarter, and high quality and amazing. They were so worth the weight and very much worth the cost. I am so glad that I got to take part in bringing this book to print by supporting our marvelous Raven in kickstarter. I can't wait for her next book! (Will it be sheep? Oh please! Let it be sheep! I want sheep and I want her advice and knowledge before I get them!)
Thanks for your sweet-as-pie response to our book! I have to admit, I got a little teary when I was finally holding it in my hands. It's a dream come true for me - I have always loved books, and dreamed of making books since I was a young girl. Holding my first illustrated book was one of 'those moments'. Just thrilling.
That's something else I was wondering about international shipping. I have a choice of sending it for a little bit cheaper (customer saves $2) but that makes the delivery time about 12 weeks instead of the 5 to 10 days. 12 weeks seems like a really long time to me. What's other's people's thoughts on this?
How much of the book does R Ranson devote to processing and spinning flax? I was wondering if the techniques used in this book could be adapted for milkweed bast. I would also know if she has any tips in the book on how to get the specialized equipment for preparing flax (scutching board and knife, flax brake, hackles etc.). I'll try to find another thread on this forum that might be of help for tracking down the equipment needed.
Such a beautiful book! Yay! It was so exciting to see it arrive in the mail, and I can't wait for snow to melt and the ground to thaw to plant the seeds! Raven, your handwoven towel is gorgeous, it is washed and ready for the trial run I love your cloth label, can you share where you get these from? I'm a spinner and weaver also, and am always looking for a better solution! Thank you so much, I'm really glad this was well supported, you guys have put so much work into it, and it's AWESOME!!!
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