A Transition Victoria re-skilling working group in Victoria, B.C. is experiencing the process of small-scale flax production for handspinning. I wish I could go see their work, but the closest I can get right now is this link:
From my reading on flax, I gather that one of the steps, retting flax, takes a great deal of experience and skill to get the microbial action just right, a level of skill on par with brewing beer or making cheese. It's the sort of skill where you'd like to see someone do it first so you can get an idea of how it's done, but because there are so few people who know how it's done, someone has to take the initiative which appears to be the case with the above project.