Soile Makkonen, the Finnish founder of Kent-based natural fabric brand Ada & Ina, shares her love of linen.
What is linen? All linen consists exclusively of flax plant fibres, spun into thread. In half linen, the warp is composed of cotton yarn and the weft of flax thread. Cooler climates are ideal to cultivate flax, so the best linen tends to come from countries such as France and Belgium. Linen yarn often has ‘slubs’, or small knots that occur randomly along its length, these are no longer considered to be defects, but add to the character of the fabric.
What makes it special? Whilst it has a much lower thread count than cotton due to the bulkier yarns, linen is several times the strength of cotton. It is good at absorbing moisture, it’s antibacterial, anti-static and keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer. These qualities make it ideal for clothing, towels or bed linen.
How to care for it? Always wash linen as gently as possible. For unbleached and coloured linen, the washing temperature should not exceed 60 degrees Celsius, and always avoid tumble drying. For linen curtains and blinds, dry cleaning is recommended to avoid shrinkage. Ironing is not necessary, as the tendency to wrinkle is part of linen’s appeal.
Pictured: linen, £20 per m, Ada & Ina