Linen is flax, derived from the decomposed stalks of a plant of the

genus Linum.

It grows chiefly in Russia, Belgium, France, Holland and Ireland. The

plants after being gathered are subjected to a process called

"retting" which separates the fibre from the decaying part of the

plant. In Ireland and Russia this is usually done in stagnant water,

producing a dark coloured flax. In Belgium, Holland, and Fra

retting is carried out in running water, and the resulting flax is a

lighter colour. Linen is more difficult to dye than cotton, probably

on account of the hard nature of the fibre. The same processes are

used for dyeing linen as for cotton.

To Bleach Linen--(For 13 to 15 yards linen). Boil 1/2 lb. soap and

1/2 lb. soda in a gallon of water. Put it in a copper and fill up with

water, leaving room for the linen to be put in. Put in the linen and

bring to the boil. Boil for 2 hours, keeping it under the water and

covered. Stir occasionally. Then spread out on the grass for 3 days,

watering it when it gets dry. Repeat this boiling and grassing 3

weeks. The linen is then pure white.

To bleach linen a cream colour--Boil 1/2 lb. soap and 1/2 lb. soda

in a gallon of water. Fill copper up with water and put in linen. Boil

for 2 hours. Repeat this once a day for 4 days. The linen should not

be wrung out but kept in the water till ready to be put into the fresh