I’m Stephen Conway, son of Jim Conway, the founder of Emblem Weavers Irish Linen. My father was a very independent man, setting up his own mill in the 1970’s and going on to build a reputation for producing some of the finest linen on the island of Ireland.
Irish Linen has a rich heritage. Linen itself is spun from flax a plant (weed) that grows naturally in the northern hemisphere. Flax only needs poor land and rain to thrive, so Ireland was an ideal home. Linen is as old as the bible – some amazing linen artefacts were found in the tombs of the pharaohs. To turn flax into linen yarn took a lot of physical effort. It was steeped in water then broken and beaten (flailed) in a process known as scutching until the fibre is combed (hackling) and spun into yarn.