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May 21, 2010

From Sally — In the Pink

Filed under: Counterpane Blouse — surly @ 5:12 pm

I love pink, as I’ve said here before. I collect pink yarn in all shades but I often just pile it up and admire it. In a surprise move, however, I’ve actually started a bright pink summer project from the summer issue of Interweave Knits. It is the Counterpane Blouse designed by Mercedes Tarasovich-Clark. I loved the color — pink! — so I’m using the exact yarn called for: Louet’s Euroflax Sport (100% linen) in Crabapple.

Here is where I am in the project at the moment:

It’s not a difficult pattern, but I’m not sure what I think about working with this yarn. I tend to shy away from cottons and linens because I prefer wool and because cotton in particular is not as easy on my hands. This particular yarn feels like unwaxed dental floss when you work with it. It’s also difficult, at least for me, to achieve uniformity in stitch size and appearance, which tends to drive me a little crazy.

Everyone tells me, however, that linen yarn really softens up and has a wonderful drape the more it is washed and worn. I can tell that it has softened up just from being worked with and from having been lightly steamed. So I am cautiously optimistic, and I really like the design.

I’m not sure when I’ll finish it, however, because I’m also working on a bit of a stealth project. It’s not a total secret but I can’t really show photos of it in progress. Fibre Space — a wonderful yarn store in Alexandria, Virginia that I’ve mentioned in the past — asked me to design a baby blanket for their Bundles of Joy club. Subscribers receive the yarn and exclusive pattern for four different baby projects. The blanket features a color that was custom dyed just for the club. I’ve done all of the design work, but I’m still knitting the model. I’ll share it here when I can. They still have spots in the club if you’re interested.

22 Comments »

  1. From Susan — It looks really good so far!!

    Comment by lv2knit — May 21, 2010 @ 6:58 pm

  2. I have a ball of linen yarn I won in a raffle over a year ago, and have yet to cast on. It is SO stiff. Now I wonder if winding it into a hank and then washing it would soften it up? Nothing to lose, I guess – it’s not like I could felt it, and even if it ended up as dishcloths, it would be more useful than having the yarn sit in a ziplock for a decade or so.

    Comment by quinn — May 21, 2010 @ 7:00 pm

  3. My only experience with linen yarn was an attempt to hand wind a skein into a ball. What a mess! I never did knit with it. It was so tangled I ended up throwing all of the linen away.

    Comment by Joyce Riedesel — May 21, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

  4. Wow that is purty! I have some linen in sandalwood but I wish it was pink.

    Comment by Alice in Richmond — May 21, 2010 @ 8:03 pm

  5. Love the pink! At present I am knitting Kat Coyle’s linen top – a very simple design – and can’t understand what all the negative fuss is about with linen. I love working with it! (Of course, I still haven’t finished that top!)

    Comment by Chloe — May 21, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

  6. I’m so excited to hear that you are designing the baby blanket! I had already signed up for the Fibre Space yarn club and now I’m even happier that I did. I can’t wait to see it. I have a new grandson coming at the end of July so it will be for him.

    Comment by Trudy — May 21, 2010 @ 10:11 pm

  7. Ooh, it looks lovely. I might have to get some linen in a bright color too.

    Comment by Evie — May 21, 2010 @ 10:42 pm

  8. Very very pretty. I love the color. I know what you mean about Euroflax Sport, but it DOES soften with use, and the finished project usually looks great.

    Comment by MaryLou — May 21, 2010 @ 11:52 pm

  9. Lovely! I wasn’t impressed by the pattern in the magazine, but yours is somehow so much more tempting!

    Comment by Romi — May 22, 2010 @ 12:48 am

  10. It’s lovely. I got the same ‘feeling’ with some Silke Tweed I used. It did soften up, but… I’m planning a cardigan for my daughter with the Louet linen. I hope I won’t be sorry.

    Comment by 2muchfun — May 22, 2010 @ 6:54 pm

  11. Oh. . . I like this a lot!! I admired it in the magazine. It is now definitely on my “to do” list!! Persevere!!

    Comment by Pixie Thomas — May 22, 2010 @ 9:30 pm

  12. I liked the look of it in the magazine, but didn’t think it would look so great on a heavier model, but then Kathleen posted a gallery with several of her friends modeling. Not half bad! I thought it interesting that several of them chose to wear it with the counterpane in front. Guess it depends on if you want to draw attention to your boobs, or deflect it away from them! 😀
    @ Joyce: Euroflax is sooooo expensive I’d never dream of throwing it away! I’m with Guinn – skein it and wash it several times to see if it’ll soften up.

    Comment by Suzan — May 23, 2010 @ 8:08 am

  13. Very pretty! Several years ago I knit a triangular shawl (actually half of a square tablecloth) out of Euroflax linen. I wash it in the machine and dry it in the dryer (gently, of course) and it is soooo soft! In fact, I’m thinking about knitting a linen lace summer coverup (or, at least putting the fixings in my stash).

    Comment by sassyspins — May 23, 2010 @ 11:14 am

  14. I just finished a top using the very same Euroflax. It was ALL stockinette and the uneven stitches made me crazy. I’m sure it took me twice as long because I kept stopping to grab a small double point to even out the stitches by pulling along a big stitch until the excess yarn could be absorbed in that row. I can happily tell you that it was pointless. I threw it in the washer and then the dryer, magic! Everything evened out beautifully! Carry on!

    Comment by CSK — May 23, 2010 @ 9:24 pm

  15. Linen is such a wonderful fiber to wear and yes, as the pectins continue to wash out of the fibers, leaving pure cellulose behind, it gets softer and drapier and better with each wash. It’s a pain to knit, though, I have to agree! This is a wonderful application of it. (And don’t worry about those uneven stitches – they get more even with every wash, too!)

    Comment by twinsetellen — May 24, 2010 @ 8:15 am

  16. I definitely recommend soaking linen yarn before winding into balls – it makes it much easier to work with. I made the Sasha skirt last year with Euroflax and it made a huge difference to soak the yarn first. Just soak it overnight while it is still tied up in the skein. Then lay on a towel until dry – scrunch it with your hands to soften it up a bit before untying the skein and winding into ball.

    Comment by Audrey — May 24, 2010 @ 10:34 am

  17. that is beautiful!

    Comment by Eryka Jackson — May 24, 2010 @ 11:27 am

  18. I’m familiar with antique linen embroidered items. They just keep getting better with age. And yes do toss it in the dryer after washing and then lay it out to block it slightly damp. Or toss it in the dryer for softening after you have dried it flat.

    Comment by Needles — May 24, 2010 @ 10:50 pm

  19. OMG it’s gorgeous!!!

    Comment by knittingoutloud — May 25, 2010 @ 8:44 am

  20. Hi there, stopping by from Joansie’s blog, Knitting By the Ocean! I love this pink color, absolutely beautiful work you have here =)

    Comment by Rita — May 25, 2010 @ 10:06 am

  21. I saw a square that you did for an afghan with a sweater in it…where might I purchase this pattern? This was the most beautiful thing I had seen in a long time

    Comment by therese ross — May 26, 2010 @ 3:46 pm

  22. No pressure, BUT I’m anxious to see Counterpane finished…please keep chugging away…as if all you have to do in a day is knit :-) – Thanks!!!

    Comment by Ruth — June 2, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

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