Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A beautiful partnership

Linen and lace go beautifully together, and don't let anyone tell you different. Linen is an amazingly classy fiber to wear. I know it makes me feel like a million bucks!

There are however a few extra steps needed beyond the usual blocking process to bring lacey linen to its best possible conclusion. I recently did a new sample of the Gothic Leaf Stole in linen and documented the process.

Knitting with linen can be a trying experience as with any bast fiber. It is rough and wiry and needs to be knitted rather firmly to counteract its lack of memory. For my stole, I used a US 5/3.75mm circular needle and Euroflax Sport Linen.

Side note to those of you about to embark on a linen Gothic Leaf Stole of your own: I would not recommend making two symmetrical halves to be grafted in the center (as I did) unless you are really really an expert grafter. I am apparently not an expert grafter (even though I always seem to be doing it) because I can still see the grafting line even after the thing has been washed, dried in a dryer, blocked, and worn some. But I am getting ahead of myself...

To you fans of crumpled lace, here is a nice example, just off the needles:














Linen yarn is actually improved in several ways by exposure to heat and agitation... unlike the animal fiber yarns in your stash. So in the washer and dryer it goes, protected only by a mesh bag. Hot water wash, high heat dry.














After this punishment, the lace is even more crumpled, but soft. I have un-crumpled it a little as I patted it very roughly into a rectangle.













Now I shpritzed (misted if you don't know Yiddish) with water and you can see it relaxing into uncrumpledness. This is actually all the blocking you may need.














However, I went ahead and did the whole shebang with wires and tape measure, well, just because I could. You do get a beautifully drapey garment when you go through the whole process. The stretching and drying flat makes a gorgeous finished piece.














And here is Yee Jee Tso's vision of the finished piece:


Thank you, Yee Jee. And thank you, Three Bags Full.

9 comments:

Kate/Massachusetts said...

Wow! Your shawl is so beautiful!

Romi said...

That's gorgeous! I love laceweight linen. :)

Neuroknitter said...

Wowee!! Gorgeous shawl....Can't we do something about this 24 hours in a day thing...I need at least 32, 8 for just knitting!! I'm thinking some linen is in my future!! Thank you for sharing!

Melanie said...

That is just drop dead gorgeous!

CarolineF said...

Beautiful! Great color too! I have some of that Euroflax Sport to knit a sweater with, I have even been told to wash the hanks of yarn before knitting with it, tied in many places and put in mesh bags.

vanessa said...

lovely!

Sheila E said...

Yumm!! Now I have a new Want on my long list of Sivia patterns. It's just amazingly beautiful!! I love the color too!

Carol said...

Gorgeous! I am a big fan of your designs.

Jan said...

Lovely design! Magnificent knitting and finishing! My mom used to say that with regards to living with a piece of linen, the first 50 years are the hardest.