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Tools & Supplies

Book Giveaway: “The Big Book of Flax”

You could win this unusual book!

The latest issue of Threads (issue #162, August/September 2012) featured The Big Book of Flax in the “Notions” department (pg. 17). This unusual book will keep you enthralled with surprising facts about flax, and you could win a copy by merely leaving a comment at the end of this post.

Authors Christian and Johannes Zinzendorf explain the fascinating story of the flax-to-linen process throughout history, in legend, song, crafts, and even recipes! With over 400 images, this comprehensive book covers thousands of years beginning with how flax was cultivated in the Middle East and Europe, its beginnings in America, and ending with its current-day uses. This is a detailed resource for history buffs, collectors, educators, and anyone who wants to try their hand at this ancient, yet still modern, craft.

Have you ever worked with flax? Share your thoughts in a comment, and you’ll be entered into our drawing for a copy of this book. Just leave your comment prior to the deadline–11:59 pm EST, Wednesday, July 11. The winner will be randomly selected and announced during the week of July 16. The winner will also be notified via email.


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  1. user-1135543 | | #1

    The Big Book of Flax is really needed in my expanding library of all things connecting with sewing. Don"t you think?

  2. moviedoll | | #2

    I've never worked with flax before. . . not that I know of, at least. This looks cool for the history portion.

  3. User avater
    harikleia | | #3

    I've never worked with flax. I'd love to learn about flax and its history in fashion. Thanks

  4. User avater
    WillaMcNeill | | #4

    I enjoy sewing linen and would appreciate the chance to learn more about it.

  5. User avater
    elizabeth001au | | #5

    Part of expanding our creative potential is opening up to using materials we havent used before. Id like to learn more about Flax

  6. jacesgrammie | | #6

    Variety is the spice of life they say. Using a variety of fibers in our sewing can only add that spice to our sewing and lives.

  7. JillyBe | | #7

    I absolutely love wearing and working with linen (especially soft, well-washed & well-worn linen). I don't know the ins and outs of the differences (or sameness) between flax and linen, so clearly I need to have this book in my library, yes? ;-)

  8. MarshaCWP | | #8

    I need to add this one to my collection of specialty fabric books!

  9. Neu2349 | | #9

    would love a copy of this book - especially to share with my students. Thanks!

  10. DebraBC | | #10

    I would love to learn more about Flax. I have never sewn with but if it is similar to linen I think it would be a wonderful fabric to begin using more.

  11. CHight | | #11

    I adore linen and would love to know more about the field-to-fabric process used to create it!!

  12. misssarcastica | | #12

    I worked with linen once, and although it frayed more than I would've liked, the finished skirt was lovely and I'd love to work with it again!

  13. LusciousLouie | | #13

    Thank you for this opportunity. I have been researching flax since I discovered a HUGE plant of New Zealand flax in a forest nearby. So fingers crossed...

  14. user-1112694 | | #14

    mjbh - I have seen flax grow, processed it, spun it, woven it and also sewn it. Amazing fibre that our ancestors used. Would love to read more of the history of this beautiful fibre.

  15. user-1149081 | | #15

    Linen- the perfect substrate for sportswear. Love it!!!!!

  16. mombee | | #16

    I have never worked with flax but would like to give it a try.

  17. SilksWithAttitude | | #17

    Absolutely LOVE my linens! Just spent close to $100 on new linen to create some great new summer bias clothes. Would love to spend a lot of time with this book.

  18. riversilt | | #18

    Much more than a pretty blue flower.

  19. soexperimental | | #19

    Nice! How to combine my interest in genetics and biology with my love of sewing, all in one book. I would love to have this book. But then i do like books and am a great reader.

  20. tombdesigner | | #20

    I have tried growing flax, but my wisconsin location doesn't seem to be ideal. I love the color of the flowers, though and NOTHING beats a handkerchief linen shirt & linen skirt when it's 90+ degrees outside.

  21. User avater
    CarrGrand | | #21

    I've never worked with flax, but love, love, love working with and wearing linen!

  22. JanMade | | #22

    Oh how I love linen! I just finished a summer linen sorbetto and have another one started. I would love to read more about flax!

  23. skrogge | | #23

    I have never worked with flax but do enjoy linen. This would be an interesting book for my library.

  24. vharden | | #24

    I'm a historian as well as a sewer and long-time Threads subscriber. Would love to have this book to add to my library of sewing books!

  25. jei | | #25

    We have grown flax here in Alberta. Wonderful watching the flowers turn to face the sun. Flax straw was used as ground cover in the garden and bales are great as places for waterfowl to nest in the middle of water. Flax is one of those plants that was so useful to previous generations. I can't wait to read this book.

  26. User avater
    lissaonceagain | | #26

    I sewed a few linen pieces years ago. I'd love to get back into it!

  27. RuthKnits | | #27

    I would love to learn how to spin flax. Linen is one of my favourite fibres.

  28. ldedo1 | | #28

    would love to know more about this wonderful fiber, I have linens that my grandmother inherited and they are as beautiful today as the the first time I set eyes on them.

  29. lynaeve | | #29

    thank you for the giveaway what a great book.

  30. Zippylady | | #30

    A new book with new things to learn about. Who could ask for more?

  31. user-1050845 | | #31

    Interesting :)

  32. YorkiesFromSpace | | #32

    We don't use half of what we used to.

  33. Barb47 | | #33

    After reading the comment from the lady in Alberta, I'll research growing flax here in Idaho. Thanks for the inspiration.

  34. Ikebana152 | | #34

    Looks like a great addition to the fiber library. Can you picture sitting on the porch, in a linen dress, straw hat on the side table, lemonade nearby and book in hand?

  35. janieros | | #35

    I have several linen pieces that were handed down to me from my great aunt. I would love to learn more about them. I have flax growing in my garden. It is one of my favorite flowers. I love this shade of blue.

  36. just jane | | #36

    I have some family linens, an admirable fabric.
    Recently I read, 'Irish Linen, Irish People', most interesting history of flax, production and the weaving of flax and people lives.

  37. User avater
    thetailor | | #37

    Linen truly is the loveliest of summer fibers to work with. In it's purest form it makes fabulous skirts and suits, when blended with cotton or rayon it is softer wrinkles less. I simply love to work with it! I look forward to reading The Big Book of Flax whether or not I win the book!

  38. Dinadidit | | #38

    Thank you for this opportunity, flax was not covered in great detail back in college...this book would be a great study. Thank you for introducing it to us...My friend, (who is blind)also enjoys everything that I learn, especially visual descriptions.

  39. Inawillis | | #39

    I am pleased to see flax is making a come back, how do I know because more and more fields around our beautiful countryside in the UK are are covered in the delicate lilac color of the flax flower, heart lifting to see. Flax is more available, I purchased a cone from Wonderwool Wales a wool festival in UK it is sitting on my workroom shelf waiting for me to decide what to make, the big book of flax would I am sure help me make that decision.
    I am just enjoying my first digital subscription, I thought I would try it because Threads magazine is not always easy to find in the UK I did have a subscription but then if we go away in the motor home for a while it is sat on my mat waiting for me to get back, where as if I have the digital version I get it instantly, I am enjoying the digital version so far.
    Thank you for a super magazine
    Ina from Wales

  40. Daphnebydesign | | #40

    In an attempt to return to as many natural fabrics as possible (I'm all about "back to the basics, reduce, reuse, recycle), this particular book would be of extraordinary benefit to me. It could also help my community, which is rural and extremely depressed, find another industry option.

  41. user-19079 | | #41

    I have grown and enjoyed flax in my garden, and it is an amazing plant! Its beautiful blue flowers are a treat! And it sows itself freely year after year, making it an easy plant to grow. I also work with linen in both my handweaving projects and my sewing projects--its the only fabric for me in the summertime. Nothing feels quite so nice on those hot days! Given that i love working with linen so much, having those flax plants in my garden had extra special meaning. I can enjoy this wonderful plant in so many ways.

  42. DHanna | | #42

    To me, there is nothing like the feel of linen. Love to wear it, anytime of the year. Yes it's my favorite, though I've yet to feel comfortable sewing with it. Maybe a little more knowledge of flax would help. Oh yeah, practice too. We have flax blooming all around our place right now..The delicate blue blooms are so beautiful.

  43. Llilleeloosmama | | #43

    I adore wearing linen here in the south. Wrinkled, airy, hand-dyed, overdyed.... it is hands down my favorite fabric. I sew with a cotton pfd thread, throw it in a dyebath and live in it!


  44. CeltikMagik | | #44

    I used to have a weaving studio and linen was one of the fibers I used in designing my fabrics. It's wonderful to work with as it has so many personalities depending on the weight of the the thread and how it is spun. The colors also will soften as the fabric is used over time giving the clothing a lovely life of their own. If you haven't tried linen for your own sewing it's a treat that will last a long time since linen is very durable and only gets softer with age.

    Yes, I love it!

  45. costaff1 | | #45

    I love the history of fabric! This sounds fascinating!

  46. FranGrimble | | #46

    I've never worked with flax in terms of preparing it for spinning, or spinning the yarn. When I used to do hand weaving, I did use linen yarn at times. Now my primary crafts are sewing and dyeing (both almost entirely with natural fibers), and linen is my favorite fabric.

  47. user-490478 | | #47

    I have family linens brought from Sweden many years ago that are so soft and wonderful to use, as well as some clothing I've made over the years - but I don't really know much about the plant that is the source of all that beauty. I'm excited to learn more.

  48. User avater
    MistressTailor | | #48

    I love and prefer to work with natural fibers, but I've never had the opportunity to work with linen. I would love to learn more about its characteristics. This book would be a welcome addition to my library.

  49. amm | | #49

    To Ina from Wales-

    I'm thrilled that you're enjoying our digital issues! We know there are lots of people who would be happy to receive Threads a little sooner than waiting for their paper copy--especially those, like you, who don't live in the US, or those who live in the US but love Threads too much to wait for the US Mail to make its delivery. Being a Threads Insider does have its benefits!

  50. User avater
    AncientWire | | #50

    Several years ago, I found linen for $32/yd and wondered why it was so expensive. I planted flax seeds in a window box, tended it carefully, soaked it, broke it, combed it and ended up with a wonderful piece of fiber about the size of a skein of embroidery floss. I now know why linen is expensive :)

  51. User avater
    user-1109649 | | #51

    Yet one more book I want to add to my libray!

  52. User avater
    PKKing | | #52

    Yes! I helped harvest a small field of flax (in the middle of a hot July day in Virginia), "retted it" (which means rotting it in a vat of water), and then used a device much like alligator jaws to break the outer fiber off the flax strands. I then "combed" it and spun it on a wheel, then dipped it in vegetable based dye. Trust me - it's VERY valuable. It reminds me of harvesting saffron!!

  53. Mamato8 | | #53

    I made a linen underdress for a beautiful shear overdress for my son's wedding a few years back. It was tissue linen. I used French seams. I work in a fabric store and love to feel the linens there. I especially enjoy the feel of hopsack in our suiting section.

    A few years back, we grew some flax for a homeschool science project. I was surprised at how tall and skinny it is. Where did those flax seeds come from? They had a detour from my cereal bowl! I enjoy flax inside and out!

  54. SEWNYA | | #54

    After many years of avoiding linens because of their wrinkling aspects, I am starting to turn back to them. My choicest piece of linen is a linen cutwork table topper that my grandmother saved for me-my mother had made it for her.

  55. gailete | | #55

    I love reading about fabric and threads and sewing and would enjoy this great book.

  56. sharonrm | | #56

    When I was growing up, I remember our family home having what my mother named her 'linen closet' in the upstairs hallway. In that closet she had many beautifully made linen items ranging from table cloths, table runners, decorative towels, hand-crafted bags, etc, etc.. When we had company over the holidays, while getting ready to set the table, I will forever remember her asking me to go up to the linen closet to get the table cloth of her choice. I now have my own collections of linens, and among them are some of my mother's favorites pieces. Fond memories for sure!

  57. User avater
    Kathrynn | | #57

    I would really like to win this book.

  58. user-2291610 | | #58

    I'd love to own this book as I love wearing linen - wrinkles or not - and would like to learn more about it.

  59. furballs | | #59

    Linen is my favourite fiber to wear and lovely to sew. I"ve always wanted to try growing it too. Be wonderful to win a book like this and learn so much more about it.

  60. kjsp | | #60

    I really enjoy wearing and working with natural fabrics. Would love to learn more.

  61. Lcarolyn | | #61

    When we lived in Ithaca, ny, a local store carried a line of clothing called "FLAX" . And I have been fascinated with the fabric since. It is a wonderfully cool fabric to wear in the heat of the summer. I would love to learn about the cultivation and use of this fabric...

  62. User avater
    gretchengh | | #62

    I've read thru all the interesting comments.
    I would love to own this book and learn more about flax and linen.
    Garments made with natural fibers and the most comfortable ones to wear.

  63. LauriR | | #63

    I have heard some interesting things about flax over the years, but have never been exposed to it and would love to learn more about it. Any chance we have to increase our knowledge just means that we have more options to explore when creating our textile art.

  64. [email protected] | | #64

    I love linen. I can not imagine summer without linen blouses, skirts, trousers and jackets and knits. And not lined with polyester lining.

    I love the feel of linen, I like to wash, iron, wear and sew it.

    The Big Book of Flax would be so welcome, from edible flax and flax seed oil to wearable.

  65. User avater
    wicked_stitcher | | #65

    wonderful fabric, so tactile and versatile. it even smells distinctive!

  66. smallchangepurses | | #66

    .....linen.....wrinkles with pure panche.... Love wearing it, sewing with it, and caring for it.

  67. Sewzie | | #67

    Because I live in the deep south, linen is my favorite textile. I like all weights and don't mind ironing for a fresh look in summer. Is there anything prettier than white linen? Thank you for the article. I particularly enjoyed this issue of Threads. Elise Beron

  68. squirrel_ee | | #68

    I have never sewed with flax--just eaten it!

    Educating myself about this would be good as I have always thought it to be a more coarse fabric like burlap. I thought that about hemp and have since seen some of the most beautiful soft fabric with a beautiful natural look. Natural looking fabrics have always appealed to me and it sounds like I should look into flax.

  69. kzt94 | | #69

    After going the bookstores and libraries, finally I find a comprehensive book about linen. I can't wait to get my hands on it!

  70. User avater
    bonniept | | #70

    Flax is unchartered territory for me. It is about time Itried this fabric. I love linnen, so I should love flax as well.

  71. Romy | | #71

    I don't know if this giveaway is already finish but I try it anyway. Very interesting that fabric, I didn't hear about it before. If I understant correctly it is some kind of linen. I would really love to learn about it! Thank you!

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