It is getting hard to find a good supplier of flax strick. Good quality flax strick should be bundled, with all of the flax measuring the full length of the plant. Generally, it is 30 to 36 inches in length. This full length is important when it comes to dressing a line distaff for spinning. A line distaff is for long line flax strick, or an uncut full length.
The image above contains an example of premium quality flax strick on the left, and poorer quality on the right. The color of the flax would indicate the retting method. But if you examine the photo, you might notice that the flax on the left is nicely prepared, and the fibers are not stuck together. There are no pieces of broken boon (or the woody outer waste portion of the flax stem). I had ordered this flax strick online, and when it arrived I was disappointed in the quality. I really should have sent it back. I can send it through the hackels and clean it, or scutch and swingle it..but a fair amount will be wasted, and I paid for line flax, not tow.
I am posting these two videos of flax processing for you to compare (for those that might be interested). One video shows the modern methods and the other shows the traditional methods. One thing that strikes me when I compare the two videos, is that in the traditional or old method of processing --the flax is handled by human hands a good deal of the time.
Do you think we have a finer product by means of the new methods, or the old?
I would like to wish everyone a Happy Mothers Day...and show you a photo of my Great-grandmother, whose hands planted, processed, and spun flax to linen...long ago, and far away.
Having now completed the process with my homegrown/handspun flax... I feel a sort of bond or a sense of sisterhood with her...and certainly a sense of appreciation for the skill and work involved in creating a good piece of linen.