Linen is made from the fibres of the flax plant Linium usitatissimum and is one of the oldest fabrics known. There is evidence in Switzerland of flax working as far back as 8000 BC and linen cloths were found in the Pharaohs tombs.
Unlike other fabrics, linen increases in strength when wet and it is the perfect choice for cross stitch on table or bed linen and for pulled and drawn thread work. Today, linen is used extensively by the fashion industry as linen clothing is in great demand and is often fairly expensive.
I am at a certain age and the fact that linen will absorb 120% of its weight in water before feeling damp is a real bonus! I wear linen clothing most of the time, and much of our house is furnished in linen and as a result I spend plenty of time clutching a steam iron!
Linen is also the fabric of choice when working pulled thread embroidery because you want the threads to stay pulled or creased. It is also possible to stitch poems or other text within a small sampler if the border is worked over two linen threads and the text over one thread.