I really don’t know how to wear linen. Not even the modern type, which theoretically doesn’t require ironing – it always looks so folded and worn out on me. Unlike on my Brother, who loves wearing linen shirts in the summer and actually looks well in them. Apparently I didn’t inherit the linen gene from our ancestors like he did!
In the home decor however, linen is one of my favourite fibres. It’s so fresh, crisp, simple, yet at the same time luxurious.
But I swear I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I bought the cotton and linen Drops Bomull-Lin yarn on the July Drops Cotton Sale! I just wanted to try this different type of yarn, because I’ve never used linen in my projects before. I also really wanted to make something special for my Parents, who are in the middle of buying and moving to a new home. I wanted to crochet a big doily and a set of coasters for their new place and I figured that linen would be a great choice.
It’s just way too stiff for a doily – can you imagine a doily made of straw? Sounds interesting but the further into the project, the worse and more shapeless it looked. So I frogged it and decided to crochet a very simple, rustic table runner instead. I chose the basket weave stitch and I thought it would be a fast, easy project.
But linen gets softer and nicer with time. Each time it’s washed and ironed, it softens up a little more. New linen which hasn’t been heavily processed however is stiff, rough and not very pleasant to work with. Every time I took the crochet and worked for maybe ten of fifteen minutes, my index finger would look like that:
and then it would only get worse. It was painful too, so I really didn’t feel able to crochet too much at once. It was such a relief when it was finished!
Then I chose the good old woven stitch for the placemats (I decided to crochet placemats rather than coasters after all) and as much I usually like this stitch, this time it just felt so boring and tedious! Perhaps it’s because I was already tired with all the linen struggles?
But now it’s all ready, table runner is blocked, and I still haven’t blocked the placemats so they look a little misshapen and uneven, but they will look better once I block them too. I just hope my Parents like the set and that it looks good in their new home. In the meantime, I took a photo on my own glass kitchen table, which isn’t a very good display surface, but unfortunately it has to suffice.
I like the final result and the fabric feels so nice and smooth now, I’d never have guessed how harsh for the skin it was while working with it! And I don’t think I’m going to use linen any time soon again, unless it’s a much more processed, softened yarn. But even then I’ll be cautious 😉 I guess I’ll just have to admire it in other people’s projects!
I just wanted to add a short, unrelated cautionary tale: when you’re home alone, don’t watch crime documentaries until late at night. I did it yesterday and then was too scared to go to bed, so I had to wait until sunrise (5.40 a.m.!) to be able to sleep. Happy times…