During research trips to the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains in 2007 and 2008, archeologists discovered fragments of what appear to be the oldest textiles ever found: Wild flax fibers dating back 30,000 or more years that had been twisted and dyed, most likely for cords or basket making.

That processed flax outlasted the millennia in a Georgian cave is hardly surprising if you know something about fiber. Plants are tough. Even soft-as-a-bunny’s-bum cotton is stronger than wool. And flax and hemp? Stronger still.

Plant fibers have their place in a knitter’s armamentarium. With summer approaching in the Northern Hemisphere, flora tend to be cooler to work with than fauna. They’re also absorbent, comfortable and machine washable. And you will never accidently full a cotton sweater.

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