Knitting with Linen?

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It is so hot and humid in Virginia these days! Good grief, I just can’t stand the humidity anymore.

For me, Heat + Humidity = No Handknits to Wear. Which is a bummer. I bought some Shibui Reed and also Shibui Linen (which is a really interesting construction!) last year, thinking I’d knit myself some summer handknits … someday.

That someday is now. This weather had me pulling the Reed out a few days ago, and swatching (this is the Ash colorway). And I started looking for patterns.

I love Elizabeth Doherty’s new pattern, Westbound, which calls for Shibui Reed. I bought it, and I’ll knit it someday. But, the yarn is held double throughout and this is problematic for two reasons: 1) I don’t have enough yarn and 2) I wanted a lightweight top.

Then I bought Linho, by Joji Locatelli. I also love this one, too, but it uses Quince & Co. Sparrow, which is lighter weight than Reed … and … I don’t have enough yardage for this one either.

THEN, I bought Cullum, which is designed in Quince & Co. Sparrow, but there are quite a few knit in Reed. I have enough yarn for this one. I think ;-).

So, I swatched, and I soaked and blocked my swatch. And by blocking, I mean that I laid it out and let it dry as it wanted – no pins, no stretching. Nada. (I did not, however, machine wash and dry it … perhaps I should?).

Cullum and Linho say to expect linen to relax by 10% and that this has been factored into the sizing. My swatch did not relax at all. 5″ x 6″ unblocked … pretty much 5″ x 6″ blocked. ARGH. What to do?!

What do you think? Should I figure my swatch is correct and move forward? Or should I factor in a 10% growth estimate for a full-sized garment and go with that? I mean, I know it doesn’t have the memory of wool, since there’s no crimp … but how much will it grow is my dilemna. I don’t want to end up with a humongous tent ;-).

All opinions and advice are welcome!

On another note: would anyone be interested in hand-dyed linen, or a linen-silk or other linen blend? I’ve been considering delving into dyeing plant fibers for the last year or so, because, truly, I’d like to have some handknits that don’t have wool in them. I don’t know if it’s me, or if the humidity and heat actually ARE worse, but I’ve definitely been more attracted to lighter weight yarns for most of my projects (dk is about as heavy as I personally want to go for most things these days). And there’s just no way I can wear wool in the summer anymore.

My entire dyeing career has been all about protein fibers, so I’ve never considered widening the scope to plant fibers. These days, I definitely am.

Anyone interested, or is it just me?

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June Subscriber Inspiration Colorways!

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June’s special colorways are now live! This month’s colorways are inspired by a photograph sent by Kate G.

Kate said this about her photograph: “I took this photo in April when we spent a week in Ogden, Utah for work training for my husband. We were at the Ogden Botanical Garden one evening having a picnic and this bright orange flower hidden among the woody shrub caught my eye.  It was easily missed and such a neat find!”

Kate wins a free skein of yarn in her own special colorway! Congratulations, Kate! If you’d like to play along, all you need to do is subscribe to my newsletter (link up top on the right side), and then email me your photos every month. I choose one each month to create several special colorways. This is the third Subscriber Inspiration I’ve done (MDSW messed with me too much so I sadly missed doing this in April and May). Past inspirations were a chicken and a rainbow photo, so you can tell inspiration can come from just about anything.

I love all three of these colorways, individually and together. What a great project they’d make.

Botanical is the main colorway. It’s a speckled blend of grays, soft browns, greens, yellow, and oranges on a soft gray base color. Pretty much all the colors in the photograph:

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Little Flower is the bright, happy yellow-orange complimentary colorway, based on that pretty little flower:

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And Leafy is the rich, nearly iridescent green complimentary colorway:

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All three colors are available on the following bases:

Aurora: fingering weight 100% superwash Merino single ply, 400 yards per 100g skein.

Philomena: fingering weight 100% superwash Merino 4-ply, 438 yards per 100g skein.

Sunna: fingering weight 75% superwash Merino, 15% Cashmere, 10% silk 3 ply, 356 yards per 115g skein.

Andromeda: DK weight 10)% superwash Merino single ply, 240 yards per 100g skein.

Verdande: worsted weight 75% superwash Merino, 15% Cashmere, 10% Silk 4-ply, 220 yards per 115g skein.

Please note that each base has its own listing for each color (because I haven’t figured out how to add variations to a listing on Shopify, when the variations have different prices).

You can find them all on this page. Listings will be open from June 19 – 30, 2018. Then they’ll close and I’ll get to work. All orders will ship between July 15 – 25, 2018.

Hope you love them as much as I do!