When I purchased my Ahrens loom, along with the usual loom parts, I was also given a large box containing about 50 cones of linen thread. The thread ranged in size from a sturdy 10/2 to hair fine 40/1. The colors were mostly unbleached, half bleached, teal, pink, yellow and blue. In the box were receipts and notes dated from 1945 with names and projects outlined for some of the different threads. I can only guess that this loom was originally owned by someone who was a production weaver.
After testing the yarn to confirm its strength, against all advice I decided to warp and weave a table runner in linen with some 10/2 white cotton for accents. I had heard all the advice about how linen is a nightmare to weave with, must be misted and kept damp, will snap in low humidity (which is us!). etc. etc. but I decided to fly in the face of convention and give it a try anyway. I figured I had 'free thread' and if things went south, well, then I'd know.
The half bleached linen had a kind of sizing on it that made it somewhat stiff and wiry, so I think that helped. The warping and weaving was straightforward and I only had one broken warp end when I got near to the end of the warp. I used a floating selvedge and my selvedges did not come out that straight since I decided combine both plainweave and a rosepath threading. Inspired by an old 1954 copy of Malin Selander's book Weaving Patterns from Sweden and by the work of Susan at Avalanche Looms, I set to weaving, throwing in bands of color in different treadlings of rosepath on the plain background. This was an amazingly fun project and I learned so much about my new loom, including the fact that it has much less loom waste that I had anticipated!
One of my favorite details is a band of the 40/1 unbleached linen which I used in a double bobbin boat shuttle. It adds a subtle accent and I'm now thinking that another project featuring just the two natural yarns together might be really neat. After twisting a few of the fringes on one end, I decided to save my hands and ordered a battery powered fringe twister which worked great! Washing and ironing the linen really softened it up, but I expect that it will get even better as time goes by. I'm really glad my first linen experience came out so well as I love it as a fiber. I'm even planning to try to spin some flax before summer is over. We'll see how it goes....