For a knitter, there is always something bittersweet about the arrival of spring. The magazines and websites we follow so faithfully are no longer full of fluffy scarves, intricate colorwork mittens and cozy Aran sweaters. Our steady diets of soft comforting fibers like wool, mohair and alpaca give way to slinky bamboo, silk, and cottons infused with linen. Just as frothy cups of cocoa are swapped for iced tea, our garment choices become lacy, spare, cooling. As much as I love winter, I am always happy to rekindle my love for linen.
If you've never worked with linen before, you might have at least heard the warnings about it. It's a yarn that can require a bit of patience, as the starchy, strong fibers can be somewhat unyielding at first. The crisp hand can be tempered somewhat by the addition of soft cotton, but even in its purest form, it will soften beautifully with use and laundering.
Schulana Kilino fits this category and comes in an array of sophisticated pastels that are perfect for warm weather garments. Three colorways combine neutrals with intermittent spots of color, and all are an intriguing combination of slightly shiny linen and soft, matte cotton.
The yarn has a chain construction that lends lightness and versatility: it looks as good knit at the ballband gauge of 5 stitches per inch as it does knit at a slightly looser gauge. The swatch below shows the spotted shade knit on size 9 needles, while the vine lace swatch (stitch pattern listed at bottom of post) was knit on a size 8 needle:
Kilino caught the attention of Yumiko Alexander, a designer I've long admired for her calm palette and her texture rich designs. Yumiko responded to the natural texture present in the yarn and used it to create Forest Weave, an intriguing top full of contradictory surfaces, deep cables alternating with breezy dropped stitches. You can find the pattern for sale on Ravelry here. I asked Yumiko for her impressions of Kilino:
Kilino is a wonderful blend of cotton and linen. For this style of project, I wanted to create a light, easy summer style top that would work well in our hot climate, yet I could layer for winter. The 53 % linen and 47% cotton is a perfect blend for creating a lighter feeling garment than pure cotton of the same DK weight. The chainette construction adds even more lightness and a great texture for the drop stitches. By using Kilino, a high quality blended yarn, I am assured my sweater will last me for many seasons, which is important to me when creating a new design.
Here is the pattern for the yellow swatch shown above. There are three repeats show, which means I started with 31 stitches. It makes a nice little "mug rug" for the copious hot tea I'm drinking at the moment...see, springtime in Seattle is actually quite chilly, so we have a few more weeks of wool yet!
Have a wonderful weekend,
(multiple of 9 stitches plus 4)
Rows 1 + 3 (wrong side): Purl.
Row 2: Knit 3, *yarnover, knit 2, slip slip knit, knit 2 together, knit 2, yarnover, knit 1, repeat from *, ending knit 1.
Row 4: Knit 2, *yarnover, knit 2, slip slip knit, knit 2 together, knit 2, yarnover, knit 1, repeat from *, ending knit 2.
Repeat these two rows for pattern.