While looking around the internet on embroidery sites I came upon the site Needle 'N Thread. It is filled with great info for beginners regarding buying and preparing your fabric to embroider. (There is also a video library of stitches.) They have a "recipe" for shrinking your linen with several boiling water/cold water baths in the sink. No soap or washing machine needed. It is a perfect and quick solution! If you go to the site scroll about half way down the page dated dated April 15, 2010 with the title Fabrics for Surface and Tips on Linen .
Thank you Mary Corbet for posting such valuable information!