Fabric manufacturers are being warned by Masters of Linen, the international organisation representing the interests of growers, processors and spinners, not to send yarns back to their suppliers simply because they assume them to be "badly spun" or "badly dyed."

For an unevenness of finish, including in yarns destined for use in slubbed fabrics obvious signs of what appear to be surface imperfections, is a look that the most fashion conscious spinners are now striving to achieve as part of a move toward more rustic effects for summer 2002.

Meanwhile, also deemed important to underline the seasonal interest in rough textured fabrics are blends of linen with either hemp or tussore silk.

Cloths which appear  to be crumpled will also be in vogue, although these are more likely to be  achieved using blends of linen with cotton than l00 per cent linen yarns. Pure linen yarns simulating string are tipped as being particularly popular with knitters, while in both knitted and woven fabrics mixes of linen with viscose offer interesting contrasts of matt and gloss.

Such contrasts are often made more dramatic by the inclusion of a man-made fibre such as tri-lobal Tencel which will provide a shot or colour change effect. In dyed yarns, reworked shades, which give a washed-out appearance to the finished fabric, are in vogue, while in finished fabrics flecked effects and printed designs take their bow with artfully blurred or faded motifs. Both in prints and jacquards, patterns inspired by wood grain, wicker work or woven rattan of the type traditionally used for basketweave chairs give an optical illusion of  texture to two dimensional fabrics.

By Sonia Roberts