weaving handspun linen
Hello! I'm in the process of growing a patch of flax, hoping to spin it into linen and then weave that into cloth. I'm looking for advice from people who have woven with handspun linen.
I have been reading the weaving section of Patricia Baines' "Linen : Hand Spinning and Weaving" this morning and am finding it daunting. I have never woven with linen, only wool & cotton, and according to her pretty much all of my equipment, from swift to loom, is inappropriate for use with linen, especially handspun. I'd appreciate hearing from people who have woven with either commercial or handspun linen : does an umbrella swift cause tangling? is the short exposed warp distance a problem on a table loom? is the action of a jack loom hard on the warp? is it worth reducing the shed size on a jack loom by raising the height of the warp beam, to reduce stress in shedding?
I have two looms that I had planned to use for sampling : a 4-harness Schacht table loom, and a 4-harness baby wolf jack loom. While I'd love to have a nice countermarche loom with an overslung beater, that's certainly not going to happen before this flax is harvested!
Also, I have a big box of assorted commercial linen threads which I plan to use for sampling before weaving with handspun. Most are considerably finer than I expect my handspun to be -- but am assuming that experience with the fiber will be useful even if the grist is very different. Does that seem reasonable to you? Or would you advise that I find thicker threads to practice with?