This section is from the book "Text-Book On Domestic Art", by Carrie Crane Ingalls. Also available from Amazon: Textbook On Domestic Art: With Illustrations And Drafts.
These are vegetable products used for weaving.
Flax is a small annual plant 1 to 3 feet high with a blue flower, and is grown in all parts of the world.
Linen fiber is procured from the flax plant - from the seed is made linseed oil. The linen fiber is separated from the flax stalk by soaking or retting the stalks in water about 5 days, drying, then cleaning or hatcheling the impurities from the linen fibers. This fiber is from 1 to 12 inches long and tho less elastic than the cotton fiber, is valuable for its strength, whiteness and silky luster. From these long, silky fibers or line are made damasks, lawn, laces and handkerchiefs; the short fibers or tow are woven into coarser stuffs. Linen is a better conductor of heat, but does not dye or bleach as well as cotton. In price it ranges from 40 cents to $3 or $4.00. Linen is the oldest of all textiles. The Egyptians used it for embalming and linen pieces 4000 years old have been excavated. To detect linen from cotton, - the linen will be found to absorb water more quickly than cotton.
Ramie, hemp and jute are tropical vegetable products with coarse, tough fibers. Ramie is covered with a gum difficult to remove. From ramie are manufactured grass cloth and cheaper cotton substitutes. Hemp and jute have very strong fibers which are made into rope, mats, and rugs, and coarse weaves. These three varieties are called "stem fibers."
The China grass of China and Japan and the Pineapple grass of the Philippines make strong, sheer and beautiful textiles.