I’ve written here several times before that I’m not that into summer knits. It’s not for the lack of trying – I’ve tried repeatedly, and I’m just not feeling it. Maybe it’s the summer yarns, mostly cotton, linen, or other plant fibre based? They are not as flexible and forgiving as wool, and very often the patterns for summer clothes call for thicker yarn, and I don’t feel comfortable in thick summer tops, even if they are made of “breathable” cotton. Of course, I could always adjust the patterns to thinner yarns, but I’m umm, let’s say not into that either.
Having tried and failed in the past, it doesn’t mean that I don’t keep trying each year as it gets warmer in the Spring! And this year, I decided to tackle two challenges at once, summer knits and linen. And feeling bold and brave, I ordered some Lithuanian linen thread on Etsy, in a variety of different pastel shades.
I have some mixed feelings about linen in general. I love THE IDEA of linen – a natural fibre, it feels so rustic and pure, it’s durable and works great both for clothing and for home accessories and decor. But wearing it is a challenge as it wrinkles so easily and while some people can still pull that look off (like my brother who loves his linen summer shirts and even trousers and looks good in them), I’m not one of them. When it comes to knitting or crocheting with linen, it’s just so unpleasant on the fingers: it’s not a soft, silky yarn, but rough and stiff. I’d had a painful encounter with it before and have never tried to repeat the experience since then. That is, until now, I figured that, since the thread is so thin, it should be softer or easier to “break” it and make it a little less stiff.
The thread I bought is a 3-ply yarn, and it’s somewhere between lace and light fingering in thickness, but it knits more like fingering or sport. I have enough of it to last me for a while and knit or crochet a few different projects (I already have some stuff planned for it).
And as my first knit, and a warm-up of sorts, I decided to knit a simple, classic sleeveless top: the pattern is called Ombre Tank Redux, from the Espace Tricot collection. I liked the idea of combining different colours in large stripes/ colour blocks, and the tunic style. It is also simple enough not to require any lace knitting since I didn’t know how I’d feel working with this yarn.
It took me a few days to knit the top, and I really enjoyed the process. It turns out that thinner yarn is indeed softer and less harsh to work with, even when held double. I’m going to continue to experiment with it and find the best ways to use it. I’m also going to find out how to block it best after washing because it’s not a forgiving fabric: if it’s not shaped perfectly after washing, it ends up looking a bit crumpled and wrinkled and stretched in all the wrong places. I hope that once I put it on, it will stretch out on my body and looks nice and even. And if I ever knit the top again, I’m going to make it longer, to be more like a tunic.
But all in all, I’m happy with the result and looking forward to wearing it in the summer – I’m really curious if it makes a comfy warm-weather top! And in the meantime, I’m going to keep experimenting with the remaining thread. And enjoying the beautiful nature outside, within the government-approved two km from home of course 🙂