image from images4-d.ravelrycache.com


© Quince & Co.

Knitting with linen is always tricky.  Swatching isn't as exact, because your fabric with ease up significantly with repeat washings and lengthen if the garment has any weight at all to it.  And, because I have a very loose gauge from the get go, swatching is even riskier business for me on linen.


My first swatch for Aster was on size 8 needles.  The pattern recommends 9.  And it was huge.  Very pretty but huge.  I would have knit a monster size garment.


I went down to size 6 needles and after washing, blocking and stretching the swatch (to imitate normal wear), I had gauge.  Or at least, I had stitch gauge.  My row gauge is off for the garter stitch piece. Interestingly, the pattern suggests going down a size when you hit the garter stitch block at the top, and that gives me row gauge.  But not stitch gauge.  So I'll do some math-fu on that part.


After swatching, I was distracted by two sweet little stray kittens who came to live with us this week. Aren't they cute?  They ADORE knitting.  This is not a good thing.


This pattern calls for negative ease, and I'm knitting it for my daughter, so I chose the 31.5" size.  The next size up, at 34" would have been far too large.  The start is stockinette stitch, and you can see that it rolls.  The roll up at the bottom concerned me, but looking at the pattern photos I saw a slight roll. I'm hopeful that as the garment grows in size, its weight will work on that.

A littlemore

I'm not sure that hope is going to work out, because I'm past the first set of decreases, but I still have a roll of linen.  And on the gauge front, as I thought might happen, even with my best efforts to knit tightly, I'm still getting enough fewer stitches over time that I'm please with the choice of the 31.5" size. It's too early to tell if that will hold up, but as of right now, even with the stretching that is inevitable as the garment grows, I think I should get a good fit.

Finally, a word about the yarn.  This is Quince and Co's linen tape yarn, Kestrel.  I love their sport weight linen, Sparrow, which is a typically spun yarn, and which I used for Lida last summer.

image from images4.ravelrycache.com

The verdict is still out on Kestrel.  I had a knot in the first skein after knitting three rows, which did not get us off to a friendly start together.  But this is a good project to test it out on and see how it performs.


I was unable to resist Sparrow

Quince and Co.'s lightweight linen yarn Sparrow has been calling my name all spring. I finally gave in and cast on for this pretty little shawl, Lida by Bristol Ivy. More details later, but this one is so pretty and I can't wait to see the yarn soften into linen's beautiful drape once this is finished and washed.

I was unable to resist Sparrow


2014 Fresh Start!

It has been a long time since I was able to blog.  Many of you know me in real life, and know I've had commitments elsewhere and although those still exist, I'd like to find time to share some of my knitting with you once again.  I've been knitting in hyperdrive since the first of the year — lots of airplane time and doctor's office waits lately — so I thought I would try to share a few pictures.

In no particular order, here is what has come off of my needles recently:

1-This pattern is called 198 yards of heaven.  I tried it a couple of years back and the lace defeated me.  So I started over and this time, I learned that the secret was to knit it after small children had gone to bed, so I could count correctly.  It was a zip to knit.  This photo is before it was blocked.  I need to get another picture of it post-blocking.  It opened up beautifully and has been around my neck ever since.

198 yards

2-This Chunky Cowl was knit from Malabrigo Mecha.  I love this yarn.  I could build a whole stash around it and, in fact, I seem to have done that in the last few months.

Chunky cowl

3-Gloves in Malabrigo Rasta.  This yarn is incredible.  No wind, no cold, not even the polar vortex permeates their dense fabric.  I'm going to try to do a pair of these for everyone in our family.


4-This Agnes Sweater was more like agony to knit.  Yes, it was my fault.  I didn't use the bulky Quince yarn the this charming pattern called for.  But I did swatch and it was good, or so I thought.  It was going to keep me warm all winter.  In the end, it didn't fit me or my 15 year old or even my 11 year old, but I was able to gift it to a charming 7 year old who seemed most pleased with it.  (Pictured here on the 11 year old).


5-Moths Around My Neck is knit from some silk handerchiefs I dyed ages ago.  This was mostly finished.  I only had to pick it up a few days ago and add on a couple more inches for it to be perfect for a bit of color mid-winter.


6-Tundra is another project I started ages ago, but left to languish.  I don't know why.  I can't rave enough about this pattern.  I opted to leave off the buttons the pattern calls for and use a few big kilt pins to fasten it in the front so I can wear it as either a wrap or a scarf.



7-Grandma's Hug is a wrap I knit from a new favorite yarn, Quince, for my Mom.  It's meant to be snuggly for sitting around the house drinking tea or, in my Mom's case, staying up late at night watching football and basketball games.  Although it is off my needles and blocking as I type, the selfie I took of it is dreadful, so for now, we'll stick with this in progress photo.


As I look all this over, it seems like a lot of knitting for the first 21 days of the year!  But I've had a few days off and lots of cold weather that supported the urge to knit.  Still on my needles is a turquoise blue cabled cowl that I am in love with (pictures to come) and I've got a line up of projects to knit for a cold weather family trip in a few weeks.

My knitting goal this year is to learn how to do color work.  I'm going to start with a pair of mittens.  I'm not sure it's going to go very well, but I do have a secret weapon, as I have a knitting friend around the corner who produces some of the most beautiful stranded knitting I have ever seen.  I'm hoping she will give me lots of advice.

I'm happy to be back to blogging, and although I may not be posting every day, I'm going to try and check in at least once a week.  It looks like it's going to be a big year for knitting and I've done a little bit of dyeing and have more planned.  So stay tuned!