The Blue Eyes of the Aristocrat are open!

*As we were writing this newsletter, some very timely and exceptionally good news came over the phone.

We had just explained to a journalist from England that our small batch of new flax is slow in coming on (as everything in nature this year) but on the right track when Helen Keys told us that her crop has gone into bloom Helen and her husband Charlie Mallon are growing a sizeable quantity again this year. The fields on the hill-farm outside Cookstown look amazing covered in a mass of blue!
The attached picture (see above) was taken by Helen just a few days ago. Give the “aristocrat of textiles” (as Wallace Clark called the end- product, linen) three weeks and we will be over to help pulling – hopefully several of our readers are going to join us.
With the “new old” scutching turbine almost completely restored, Mallon’s linen-operation will leap forward in good style.
There are several people working at the “spinning end” of the project – the perspective of Flax Mill weaving some of the wonderful, carbon-footprint- free, poison- free and completely local product into good cloth is very present now!

*Rub your horse’s back in style!

In days gone by class-division manifested itself in many ways especially when it came to textiles. An “upper class horse” was rubbed down after a hard ride, the towel use was made of pure unbleached Irish Linen. For reasons good enough to re-produce a few of those hand-woven stable – rubbers:

– Pure natural fibre, no additives to itch or otherwise annoy the horse’s skin.
– No static electricity (linen is zero-static) which causes nervousness and stress.
– Long lasting, can be washed hot.

The small edition we have just finished (1.2 m long and about 50 cms wide) is on the shelves now, beside their practical use they look stylish and are woven from top-of -the-range natural yarn with the traditional green stripe running down the middle. The loom I used was “the baby”, or oldest handloom at Flax Mill.


*Knitting the aristocrat!

Remaining with style: After many requests I have re-activated the knitting machine. The result is a few “one off” jumpers, my own design and not to be made in bigger numbers. I used a Belfast-spun two-ply yarn, pure Irish Linen.
You just have to come to the mill to see the creations (they go very quick) – the colours we used are birch-leaf -green, low bleach white and old copper.

*The aristocrat on the table!

We have just finished a limited edition of table -napkins made from natural (lovely oat-meal colour) linen. It’s hand-woven on our fly – shuttle loom and beetle-finished by Clarks. You’ll not want to get up from your table with those napkins on!

*Just in time

the ZDF (national TV channel in Germany) broadcasted a short but excellent film last week which shows the superiority of linen over other non-animal fabrics like hemp or cotton both ecologically and for the human health.
A friend from Berlin sent us the link and our ever-alert webmaster managed to get it on our internet page. Enjoy, even if your German isn’t perfect – the film is very self-explanatory!

To conclude, a bit of up to date information:

Our August workshops in 4 traditional crafts are almost booked out. No wonder, we have managed to get the most distinguished master crafters as teachers. In case you didn’t get the invitation, it can be found here. But if you haven’t booked – BE QUICK!!

*** …Breaking News…Breaking News… ***
Just in, images shared by Deborah Toner of her latest creation, a breathtaking study in embroidery of the delicate flax flowers blooming in her back garden last year.

She produced just 21 of these amazing pieces, a homage to the 24 hour life span of the flower.  One must agree she has captured something special about the Aristocrat in this collector’s item.  They’re going fast so be quick and visit her website to find out more.


I can’t wait to meet up with you – at one of the workshops, at our Open Day, in the Flax field or simply over a good coffee, here at the mill!

Love over Gold


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