When most people think of tea towels, the first thing that probably comes to mind is linen tea towels.
Linen is the world's oldest known textile and has been used for centuries. Linen is considered all yarns spun and fabrics woven from flax fiber.
Linen is a textile made from fibers of the flax plant. Top quality flax is primarily grown in Western Europe (Ireland, Italy and Belgium). There are two varieties of flax fibers. Shorter tow fibers used for coarser fabrics, and longer line fibers used for finer fabrics. Linen is the strongest of the vegetable fibers, 2-3 times stronger then cotton. It is smooth, making the finished fabric lint free, and gets softer the more it is washed. Linen has a crisp and textured feel to it. If you notice any small knots that occur randomly, they are actually defects associated with low quality. The finest linen has very consistent threads.
The exclusivity of linen stems from the fact that it is difficult, labor intensive and time consuming to produce. Flax is difficult to weave because of it's lack of elasticity, and therefor is more expensive to manufacture than cotton.
There are some textiles produced in a linen-weave texture made of non-flax fibers such as cotton and hemp. They may be improperly referred to as "linen".
Linen is hypo-allergenic and one of the most environmentally friendly fibers you'll find. The fabric will last for years. The more linen is washed, the more beautiful it becomes.
Linen should not be dried too much in the dryer. It is much easier to iron when damp. Linen wrinkles very easily, but that is often part of the fabrics particular charm
Linen textiles add luxury to a home. You will find products such as bed linens, pillowcases, curtains, tea towels and clothing made of linen fabric.