Friday, February 9, 2018

Tips for Working with Linen


I've been working swatches with linen in preparation for some summertime knitting so a post on linen may be timely for other knitters. I have some of the Louet sport weight, you can find it here. I've used it before, the first garment I made from Euroflax was much loved and I wore it so often that it was truly worn out when I finally stopped wearing it. 

Linen can be a little hard on the hands during the knitting due to it's lack of elasticity. It's a wonderful summertime knit fabric though, it's both cooler and lighter than cotton. My experience has been that the fabric gets better with age. Washing and drying improves it. It gets softer the longer you have it. The sheen can increase over time. It's version of in-elasticity and the light weight of the fibre means garments don't stretch, unlike cotton. 

You may need to use a smaller needle due to it's nature. Make sure you do a large swatch and block in the same way you intend to on the finished garment. Check for shrinkage and adjust while knitting the garment if necessary. If you air dry and find the fabric feels crunchy, pop it into a warm dryer for a few minutes and it will soften up. Be prepared for the drape of the fabric to increase the more you wear, wash and dry a linen garment. You should choose designs with more ease than you would when working with wool of the same weight.

I prefer to use linen for garments with seams for two reasons. First it can occasionally have a tendency to bias in stocking stitch. Secondly it needs longer strands for seaming because it is a smooth yarn which moves more than wool and I prefer to bury my ends in a seam. 




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