SWICOFIL - Yarn and fiber expert.


Linen has exceptional properties thanks to nature, its composition and the structure of the flax fibers. But how does this wonderful plant actually become a yarn?


Linen type spinning describes the spinning process of the linen plant, which also called flax. Depending on the length of the plant when harvested, one of the following techniques is suitable for further processing: 
  • wet spinning for longer fibers
  • dry spinning for shorter fibers
  • stretch break spinning

Linen type spinning is only recommended for processing linen. Other materials, such as cotton or polyester for example, should be processed by other techniques due to the practisability of linen type spinning. Linen type spinning is designed to process fibers that are not of uniform length due to the linen harvesting process and the different growth rates of the linen plants. Accordingly, a recommended (cut-)length does not exist for linen type spinning. 


The linen type spinning process roughly comprises the following steps:
  1. Harvesting
    The flax harvest requires the use of specific processes, technologies and equipment. Primarily, this concerns pulling the plants an retting on ground, which leads to the natural decomposition of the pectins that bin the fibers together. 
  2. Scutching
    The individual steps for extracting the fibers from the flax stalks essentially serve two purposes: splitting the plant into its individual components and hence releasing the fibers as well as cleaning them from other substances. The aim of scutching is to extract the fibers = thze operation of separating the woody part of deseeded or retted flax straw.
    Another word for this process is swingle, which means to clean by beating it with a swingle, so as to separate the coarse parts and the woody substances from it.
  3. Hackling
    The aim of hackling is to clean, untangle and aligh parallel the bundles of scutched flax, to separate the fibrous bundles and to start dividing them. This in order to form a continuous sliver that is ready to undergo the doubling and drafting opeartions that come next. 
    Scutched flax is hackled on so-called hackling frames. Handfuls of strands of line flax, weighing 80 to 120 grams and held in mobile clamps, are feed manually in the hackling frames. Moving up and down these clamps convey the fibrous bundles to a double set of combs. Hackling is carried out certically and horizontally. 

Depending on the fiber lenght, the next three steps for processing linen vary as follows:
  1. Collecting tow
    During hackling, a certain quantity of short fibers is removed form the strands of line flax. This hackled tow is salvaged by doffers an collected in containers below the machines. Graded into two categories as foot or top tow, it will be used in spinning.
  2. Forming the sliver
    The strands of refined fline flax are palced on a slanting stable, made up of a series of moving transversal gills. After being fed into two calendar rollers, then coiled, these slivers are then pressed in order to make up packages that will be tied up and stocked.
  3. Drafting an preparation
    The flax slivers are then subjected to several doubling and drafting operations. The aim of these steps is to harmonize the weight of the slivers, to align them parallel, to attenuate the fibers and to obtain roves. 
  1. Carding
    In the carding process, the fibers are mechanically untangled, separated and formed into slivers. The card for linen is principally the same as for wool. It consists of a large cylinder that is surrounded by card points; each point being made up of a worker roller (a slowly turning cylinder) and a card stripper. The raw materials are mixed in cariable proportions according to the quality required for the yarn.
  2. Preparation and combing
    After carding, the slivers are fed through an intersecting or warp gills. To prepare tow for combing, it generally only needs to undergo this process twice.
  3. Doubling and drafting
    After combing the sliver, the tow moves on towards a series of drafting frames, of intersecting or warp gills type in order to undergo doubling and drafting. After three runs, the weight is even and a count suitable for spinning is obtained. 
  1. Spinning
    Spinning is the final operation in the whole spinning process, for both longer fiber as well as short fiber spinning. There are several methods for spinning the flax:
    • wet spinning
      which can be done with grey, boiled and bleached roves
    • semi-wet spinning
    • dry-spinning
These technologies apply the same principle of drafting, attenuating and twisting the fibers in order to obtain yarn cohesion. The porperties of yarn and hence the choice of process depend on the type and features of the desired yarn. Wet spinning remains a special feature of flax fiber spinning, it enables a yarn an outstanding quality and finesness to be produced.
  1. Winding
    Regardless of the spinning method that is used, the yarn must be cleaned of all impurities and be wound on a bobbin that is suitable for further processing. Such are the functions of the winding operation, carried out on winding frames. This is the last step in flax production before the yarn leaves the spinning mill for delivery to the weaver or knitter.

Flax spinning technology - from hacking to the spinning process
Looking for a product? We love to serve you well. Find Products
Looking for a product?
You have got a question? We love to help you. Contact us
You have got a question?