Thursday, April 08, 2010

Linen - it drove me crazy !

A few months ago, I bought a skein of linen/silk from a local dyer as I fell in love with the color - denim, which is one of may favorite colors. The yarn felt so soft & as there was only 600+ yards in the skein, I knew that I had to knit a vest.

Unfortunately, I can't find a nice vest pattern & decided to design my own. I knew that a lace pattern will be nice & started swatching. This was the beginning of a nightmare ! I have never knitted with linen & never realised the flexibility of this fibre - everything I measure the gauge, the size varies. I tried & I tried & I even cast on & knitted from the bottom up, in the round. I had to rip it off after a few inches as it stretches a lot. Again, I re-cast on with less stitches & again it stretches. I gave up as it was driving me crazy !

But I kept going back to the ball of yarn & refuse to admit defeat & try again. This time it looks better as I have reduced the number of stitches drastically. I have never knitted any garment for myself with so little stitches. During the whole process, it was still a nightmare trying to measure the vest to my size but I just kept knitting ......

I managed to finish & this is my Denim Linen Vest ..... I am not 100% happy with the size & feels that it is a little short but I swear I measured it & the length was alright. I fits the body well, in fact it's quite loose.

I love the stitch pattern which I found from in a book by Louisa Harding. It's a eyelet & lace pattern & easy to remember.

I still love the color & the feel of the yarn & it's so comfortable to wear.

I also learn a new cast off technique - a picot edge cast off. It's really pretty & I think it complements the stitch pattern.

Overall, the vest did turned out well & it does fit me. But I don't think I will be knitting with linen again!



14 comments:

Momo4ever.Com said...

Hi Ann,

Your vest looks gorgeous!!!! Didn't realised that knitting with linen can be that difficult!! I myself have never knitted with linen before. It must be a learning curve for you!! Looking forward to seeing you this Saturday at Citi Nits :)

2paw said...

It is gorgeous, I love the way the eyelet lace turns into cables. The picot edging is very cute and it looks so nice when it is worn!!! I have never knitted with linen and now I don;t think I will try!!

Rachel said...

It's a beautiful pattern...I especially love how the big cables merge into the eyelet lace pattern. I've not knit with linen before though for some reason I just imagined it wouldn't be pleasant. But...seems like it was worth the effort!

mem said...

What a killer project! But it's beautiful and worth every minute of stress : )

Sasha said...

OH no, what an arduous knit it has been! At least it was lovely soft yarn to knit away with and you LOVE the result which is great! What a gorgeous vest - and the denim colour is lovely too. xo

Kate/Massachusetts said...

Your vest is beautiful!! Perhaps it will lengthen a bit with washing? I think the pattern is lovely and the picot edge would be a good one to use on other projects as well!

Kate/Massachusetts said...

vbg...I just went and bought the book. I like what you did so much that I'm going to try, too! Was the picot cast off also in the book? Thanks so much for the inspiration.

Roseann said...

I am once again in awe of your incredible designing talent! You perservered through the challenge and your vest is gorgeous!!! Might you be writing this up and submitting it to Knitty? Maybe you could re-knit it in a yarn that behaves better and then submit it to Knitty.

Rose Red said...

I think it's just fabulous - love all the cablework and I especially admire your perseverance and willingness to rip and re-do.

As for the linen - I bought some a while ago to experiment with (only two small balls) - but haven't got there yet - have been a bit worried about how it would handle!

del said...

Wow, it's beautiful! Are you going to write a pattern for it (maybe in a different yarn, lol)? I think I have some linen in my stash so this is good to know!

Marguerite said...

A few years ago I knit a 100% linen shawl and had no problems with the yarn.

Maybe it's the linen silk combo of your yarn that made it difficult?

Silk blends always stretch sag and bag for me. I have given up on trying to use them.

Bells said...

Despite all yoru pain I think the result is lovely! I can see why you might think it's a little short but actually I think it works really well. That cable pattern is heavenly!

but I've never worked with linen and I'm not sure I'm inspired to try!

Anni said...

the vest looks gorgeous. i had a similar experience when knitting with a linen blend yarn recently. The garmen did grow a little during knitting but still turne out okay (I hope). you may find the vest will lengthen a litle with wear, although the length looks fine.

Bogie said...

It was worth the agony--the vest is lovely.