We wish you the Golden Thread

Here at Flax Mill we have never been known to do or say many “seasonal” things. Except for our Winter-Solstice-Gathering on the 21st of December we don’t celebrate either.

I would like to send you a bit of music though – a chorus to be precise- which was written by our friend Colum Sands. I like it and find it suitable as my personal wish for you:

Wherever your shuttle may fly

I wish a long life to your loom

I wish you the golden thread

That’s spun from the sun and the moon

I hope we’ll meet up soon – here at the mill or at one of the interesting events to come. Below you’ll find a few dates which might fit well into your diary and a few bits of “insider” information to go with these dates.

Have a great season!

Love over Gold


– Iconic German painter exhibiting at Flax Mill during our 27th Open Day and Yard Fest on September 12th, 2020!

She is one of the “larger than life” figures on the huge German arts – scene. Painter/political activist ULA RICHTER from Dortmund just had a very successful exhibition in Berlin to mark her 80th birthday.

The member of “Tendenzen” (=tendencies), an influential group of artists will exhibit in Ireland for the first time, about 10 paintings will go on show in our mill-cottage, complemented by several of CHARLIE MALLON’s spectacular bronze castings.

We don’t know as yet whether Ula Richter will be present at the exhibition but we can reveal that the manager of Dungiven Library, SHARON RILEY, is going to welcome the invited guests from around a dozen countries at the exhibition launch (Vernissage).

It will take place on September 11th, the day before the Open Day.

We will soon publish details about the unique event – those of you who have already booked for the Open Day and Yard Fest can place a reservation for the exhibition launch (very limited space) from now on.


– Large step forward in flax processing!

It had to come: 2020 will see a proper flax-scutching turbine (or “Belgium mill”) back in operation after almost 40 years of “trout”. The good news for people who grow (or intend to do so) the raw material for linen have a lot to do with the tireless efforts by Helen Keys and Charlie Mallon. We’ll keep you up-dated.


– Pull up your socks!

Every year, a number of friends and customers ask us for knitted products, every year we have to decline most of their wishes. Knitting on a larger scale is not possible for us at the moment – weaving is extremely busy and uses up our time. This winter is experiencing a little exception; I have “given in” following a large number of requests and designed a very limited edition of socks which I knitted from pure wool spun and dyed by Christine Casey, our “commission spinner”. Heel- and toe – area is strengthened with Irish linen yarn.

Give us a shout for all details on this project.

Last minute news  – last minute news – last minute news

Helen’s back on the cat walk!

Our number one candidate for compering the trend-setting and at this stage almost “sold out” (!!)fashion show 2020, Helen Keys, has just given us a “yes”. The university lecturer from Moneymore who also grows flax was our favourite after her excellent performance in 2019.

Warming News for the Cooler Days!

Dear friends, valued customers, dear fellow crafters and textile-workers!

Our first “major” communication since the 26th Open Day and Yard Fest is going out to the “full list” and in several languages, please pass it to people who you think should have it. Don’t hesitate to use it on your own internet – page or presence in other media.

1.) The Open Day and Yard Fest – a short summary, thanks and an outlook

No doubt, this year’s Open Day saw the largest number of visitors ever, the atmosphere was extraordinary – the gathering seems to draw new fascinating crafters, artists and interested people every year. Over 400 (!!) e-mails of thanks and praise speak for themselves, so do the lovely letters and cards.
At this point I can’t but put things right:
Our thanks have to go to you, the visitors, stall-holding and demonstrating crafters, our orators, the best internationalist crowd of helpers in the world!
Where else would you find musicians, singers and poets like those who made the 26th Yard Fest? Thanks!
I am not going to pick out names – the spirit of working together in a great collective was the driving engine for:
-1.600 + cups of coffee and tea – a buffet for the evening guests which was beyond a shadow of doubt the most spectacular one ever!
– a great bar during the concert, serving 5 (!!) different types of German beer to mention but one highlight – well prepared and run talks (packed as usual) – a concert to remember for long – the totally overcrowded but equally fascinating fashion show……this list could be continued.Motivated by this experience (tired though) our group of “hard – core – helpers” sat down on Sunday and (after detailed discussions) announced:

The 27th Open Day and Yard Fest are going to happen! The date is September 12th, 2020.

Let’s go for it – you never celebrate alone!

2.) News from inside the mill.

*Silk screen printed handkerchiefs!
The gap between our plain and the hand-embroidered hankies is closed. One of our favourite textile-printers, Charlotte Krone (Market Harborough) has put a long-standing plan to practise, she printed a limited edition of white linen handkerchiefs with my design of the flax flower in blue. They are on the shelf now, needless to say we used our “finest” in more sense than one. Don’t forget: The emphasis is on LIMITED edition!
Charlotte Krone

*More limited still and of great historical value since a few days: Hand painted hand-woven Irish linen tea towels with the “Save the Shipyard” motive – pictures of it went around the world after I presented the workers in Belfast with one – on them. They make for a great memory of the victory by the workers of Harland and Wolff. The towel is our handwoven one, the great artist Fiona Mc Nally (Cookstown) did the painting.

*Straight off the looms: Old favourites and new spectacular fabrics! We are re-producing “Flax Field”. The very successful hand woven linen with 9(!!) colours in the weft (coincidentally but nicely one of Wm Clark’s “earthed” fabrics has the same name – they go well together) is getting a slightly different warp. Here’s the story:

When Hermann helped friends near Cookstown with their flax – pulling, he looked at the cloth after returning home. He thought it could do with a little more “faded blue” in it. Tribute to the re-emerged yarn – dyeing on these shores we could come up with Irish spun (Irish Flax) warp – yarn “bang on the tone” he had seen in Charlie Mallon’s field. As the “old Flax Field” the new cloth is available in a limited edition of 60 metres only and it won’t be here for too long!

On the “natural front”, all our customer’s favourites are back in the shelf: “Derrylane”, “Roe 2” and the like. Jewel in the crown amongst the “brown” fabrics is certainly my new hand-woven “black over natural” which we got beetle-finished by Clarks. Those of you who were at the Fashion Show will know immediately what we are talking about.

*Last but not least, after the good success of this year’s Fashion Show (some of the exhibited creations are away to Germany to be shown as we write this), I incorporated a few new designs into our small range: Some blouses, one type of waist coat and a couple of newly designed trousers. For those who had to wait for their orders (our button – whole – machine gave some trouble): All is back on track, next week will see the last of the ordered garments going out.

3.) What’s next?

Besides hopefully a visit of yours very soon we would like to draw your attention to two happenings: Winter Solstice Celebration at Flax Mill on Sat. 21. December! If you want to come, let us know very soon, we won’t have a huge crowd here but an “atmospheric one”.

Across two oceans: “Maikaefer flieg” a musical collage by Isabel Neuenfeldt and Antonjo Effenberger.

The very highly acclaimed piece about children under Nazi – fascism is being shown several times from now on. For details contact Isabel: IsaNeu@gmx.net

Love over Gold