Linen comes from the flax plant. Flax was first cultivated in ancient Egypt. It was widely cultivated in Europe in the middle ages.
Flax gives us flax seed and linseed oil as well as linen.
Getting linen out of flax is a time consuming and labor intensive activity. You have to rot, dry, break, scrape, and comb the stalks to get the linen.
Linen is usually spun using a distaff, which really is just an extra hand. Wet spinning produces a smoother yarn. After spun, the yarn is boiled and blocked to set the twist.
Please let me know if you have any questions or know of any good stories concerning linen.