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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New Design! Téamh Hat

Meet Téamh, my new hat design!

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Téamh is Irish Gaelic for “warmth,” and this hat, with its deep brim, cables and garter texture, is sure to warm the wearer.

This pattern includes a deep ribbed brim and an easy four-row stitch pattern for the body. Knit it longer for a deeper brim and more ear coverage, or a bit shorter for more of a beanie style.

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Téamh is knit in Spirit Trail Fiberworks 100% non-shrink organic wool worsted weight base, Luna, in my “Sea Shadows” colorway, which is currently out of stock but there are lots of other great colors in stock. This pattern will also work in STF Verdande, for a super-soft, super-luxurious option!

Luna is really fabulous; I love working with it, and this one-skein project is the perfect opportunity to give this new base a try. It’s been processed organically, from muesling-free, organically-raised sheep on the farm through processing at the mill. It’s machine washable, but because it’s “superwashed” with a GOTS-certified organic process that uses neither acids to strip the follicles from the fibers, or polymers to coat them, it’s not called “superwash.” Because of the special non-shrink process, it still feels like wool, too. I still recommend handwashing this yarn, or machine washing on gentle, and laying flat to dry whenever possible.

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My rockstar cutie pie, Caragh 😀

Téamh is now available on Ravelry! Newsletter subscribers will be receiving my January newsletter a bit later today (January 12, 2018), which includes a coupon code to get Téamh free! If you’re not yet subscribed, you can subscribe here. I have some fun things planned for 2018, which are all outlined in this month’s newsletter!

If you like it, head on over to Ravelry and add it to your favorites, library and/ or your queue; this will help get it in front of more people! 😀

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Happy Knitting!