When I was spinning and weaving, I was told to wet and freeze the linen first and then drop it into boiling water to really abuse and shrink it. I believe it is supposed to soften it up as the freezing opens the gaps between fibres so the water and soap get in quickly.
I was also told that traditionally the white linen was bleached by lying in the sun and then redampening, drying.... repeat until the required shade is reached. I haven't actually done either, but the ladies who gave me this advice were the top of their skill base in NZ.
--- In SCA-Garb@yahoogroups.com, Vicky Eisenstadt <alysounJ@...> wrote:
> I abuse my linen befeo I cut it - machine wash on heafvy duty warm/cold
> (which is how I do ALL my laundry) and then in the dryer for like an hour.