We visited Jokipiin, Finland’s largest linen factory, during their “Linen and Soup” event. Timo Laurila’s grandfather started sawmill operations at this site in 1920. Today this linen factory exports specialty sauna products and embroidered company gifts, keeping the tradition of a family owned and Finnish produced product. The particularly rainy day was a good time for members of the community to tour the factory, and visit with friends over soup and of course coffee.
Timo showed us the flax plant and asked us to break the stems. We where unable to break the flax plant (different than the flax plant that produces flax seeds for oils)with our hands. The fibers are “retted”, “scutched” and “heckled” basically soaked, crushed and combed before they are spun to create the yarn. Timo orders basic colors and dyes the rest at the factory.
Jokipiin uses linen yarn because it is highly absorbent, durable and dyes well. They make table linens like napkins, table cloths and runners in designs created by Finnish artists. The absorbent quality of the material makes it ideal for the towels, bathrobes and mats the company creates.
There were some pretty interesting machines that weave, sew, press and steam the products. 20 people are employed at the factory which boasts not only high quality working conditions from the start of the weave to the packaged product, but also sound environmental standards from the cultivation of the flax plant to the lack of chemicals in manufacturing.