THE JOY OF FLAX (PART 2)
With its unparalleled softness and lasting durability, it is easy to see why Belgian Linen is so beloved around the world.
Just ask anyone who has ever found themselves wrapped in its cool embrace on a warm summer’s night, or been curled up in its cozy comfort before a toasty fireplace.
Safe to say, there is nothing else quite like the handcrafted feel of authentic Belgian Linen. But did you know that this remarkable fabric is also made from one of the most sustainable fibers in the world?
I’m talking, of course, about flax. The world’s only natural fiber that is harvested, grown and cultivated exclusively in Belgium and Western Europe.
In our last column we touched on the region’s relationship with this cherished plant, and explored the springtime sowing season in anticipation of the wondrous bloom just around the corner…
From Blue to Gold
Every summer, thousands of flowering flax fields adorn the Belgian countryside. A soothing sea of tranquil blue drawing visitors from far and wide to witness nature’s handiwork.
While the individual flowers live for but a few surprisingly short hours, each and every field blooms at its own pace, with each plant producing dozens of flowers.
This ensures an unforgettable landscape of delicate blue for three to four precious weeks each year before the leaves begin to wither, seedpods swell, and their sturdy stems turn golden yellow, signaling the harvest is at last at hand.
A Different Kind of Harvest
Unlike other plants, flax must be pulled from the ground (roots and all) rather than cut. This is done to help maintain the prized luster of authentic Belgian Linen.
If the stalk is cut, the sap is lost, affecting the overall quality of the final product.
Whether pulled by hand or machine, the stalks must be pulled firmly, but gently, as not to damage them, with the tapered ends of each stalk carefully preserved so that soft, smooth yarn may be spun.
The flax stalks are then bundled together and laid across the ground in long, overlapping rows.
Here they will rest between sun and soil. Patiently awaiting Mother Nature’s assistance through these last few months of summer.
To Be Continued…
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