Can you believe there’s only a week left of this month? It’s gone by so quickly!
The recommended yarn for the official OAL pattern Zinone is a fingering weight linen, which might not be a kind of yarn that many knitters have experience with. In the last five or six years, some amazing linen yarns have come onto the market, so it’s worth getting familiar with it. Here are six things you need to know about working with linen yarn before you get started on a linen project.
1. Use the right techniques.
Because linen isn’t at all like wool, you’ll need to use different techniques than you would for wool. For example, a lot of joins rely on the sticky, feltable properties of wool. Those aren’t going to be a good choice for linen. To join a new ball of linen, you’re best choices are something like the Braided Join, or working a dozen stitches with both the old and new yarn held together. The latter is the method I used for the Zinone samples. If a technique relies on felting or animal fiber’s grippy properties, steer clear of it.
2. Wind around a core.
Linen is both slick and inelastic, so center pull balls tend to fall apart and turn into a tangled mess. To keep things tidy, wind your yarn around a core. Cardboard tubes from toilet paper can be popped over a ball winder or nostepinne to easily make a ball with a cardboard core.
3. Frog without fear.
If you make an error in your knitting, you can rip back and redo the section as many times as you want without damaging your yarn. Linen isn’t delicate, and frogged linen is actually even easier to work with than fresh-off-the-ball linen. Your yarn will just get softer and easier to work with the more you redo a section, so rip back with confidence!
4. Beat it up.
Not only can linen handle a lot of abuse but it actually gets nicer the more it’s worn and washed. Agitation will give you a softer piece. You don’t need to worry about felting or pilling. I left a linen swatch in the bottom of my purse for over a month to see how it would wear, and it just got softer and shinier. To achieve that result without dragging your sweater around with you in a tote, send it through the wash a few times with your other loads of laundry.
5. Wet block it.
Linen is machine washable, and you can put it through the dryer without damaging it, but your project will come out with bunched up lace and uneven stitches. Instead, put it through the washing machine, lay it out flat, reshape it and open up any lace according to your schematic, and let it air dry. It will probably be crunchy when it’s dry, like line-dried jeans, but agitation is all it takes to soften the piece back up. You can send it through the dryer with no heat to air fluff it, which will get rid of the crispy feeling.
6. Let go of perfection.
Linen is wiggly, wrinkly, and wonderful. Your stitches are going to move around and look very sloppy when they’re fresh off your needle. Your finished sweater is going to wrinkle. Your stitches will never be as uniform as they might be when knit in wool. Just go with the flow and embrace it. All of these quirks are what makes linen so unique and gives it its casual elegance.
Past the halfway mark! I had a midcentury-themed housewarming party on Saturday for my new apartment, which was great although my gelatin mold was a failure. On Sunday, between the OAL announcement, Zinone’s release, cleaning up after my party, and family dinner, I didn’t have time to take a picture of my outfit, but I did wear a Me-Made piece. I wore my Zinnia with my favorite Hawaiian shirt and jeans. I wear that combination excessively on weekends because it’s a great combination of colorful and comfortable, so I’m sure it will make an appearance at some point.
My new top pattern is the official Outfit Along pattern this year, but there’s so much going on with this pattern that it deserves a post of its own.
Zinone is a seamless, top-down, loose summer top. The pattern gives you a few options, and there are four potential variations. You can do a partial lace back or a full lace back, and you can choose between a cropped length and a full, mid-hip length. The instructions work so that you can mix lengths and back styles easily, so you can choose the combination you love best. The coral sample uses the partial lace back and full length options, and the blue sample shows the full lace back and cropped options in the same size.
The top is designed to fit with some positive ease and has a loose fit, but the pattern features some shaping so it hangs nicely. The shaping is conveniently placed so it will never interfere with the lace pattern, even if you opt for the full lace back, which keeps things from getting too complicated. A slipped stitch edging on the sleeves and an i-cord bind-off at the neckline finishes things off neatly.
The recommended yarn in Quince & Co. Sparrow, which is a fingering weight linen yarn. Knit on 3.75 mm/US 5 knitting needles, it creates a nice, light, sheer fabric that’s perfect for summer weather. It’s also easy to wash and care for, because linen yarn behaves much like linen fabric. The more you wash and wear it, the softer and more beautiful it gets.
Zinone comes in seven sizes, XS to 3X, and it’s available for 20% off when you checkout on Ravelry using the coupon code OAL2016 until June 1st when the OAL starts.
Get ready to get crafty. The third annual Outfit-Along is right around the corner! June 1st – July 31st.
The OAL starts on June 1st and you’ll have until July 31st to complete both pieces and share a photo of them in the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry. The main place for chit-chat will be the Untangling Knots group on Ravelry, but the hashtag #OAL2016 will let you connect with other participants on Twitter and Instagram. We’ll have three sets of prizes, and winners will be drawn randomly from participants who completed their outfit by the deadline. Once again, Indie Stitches is providing a sewing pattern for each winner, and we’ve got another sponsor on the sewing side of things; Style Maker Fabrics is providing $20 gift certificates to each of our three winners. Winners will also get two Untangling Knots patterns, so they can keep making outfits after the OAL is over. In addition to donating prizes, Style Maker Fabrics is offering free shipping within the US and $8.95 off shipping for international purchases through June 30th when you use the coupon code OAL2016, so be sure to take a look at their selection while planning your sewing project.
Is it really okay if I don’t make the official patterns?
We want you to make an outfit you’ll actually wear, so we do mean it when we say you can choose your own patterns if you don’t like the official ones. You don’t even have to pick an Untangling Knots knitting pattern. Pick the knitting and sewing patterns that will make the outfit you like best. The only thing you’ll miss out on if you don’t make the official patterns is the extra help that will be available through the OAL blog posts on Zinone and Hollyburn.
What qualifies as a garment? Can I knit socks or a shawl?
For the OAL, garments need to be something like a skirt, a dress, a pair of shorts, a pair of pants, a tank, a tee, a pullover, a cardigan, etc. Hosiery and accessories like socks and shawls don’t count as your knit item for the OAL They’re not a substantial piece of an outfit.
Can I make more than one outfit or extra pieces to go with my outfit?
Yes! There are no extra prize entries for additional pieces, but if you’re having fun and want to keep going, please do. Some ambitious crafters challenge themselves to make as many outfits as possible during the OAL.
Can I start before June 1st or use a WIP?
We would prefer it if you didn’t, but this isn’t something we enforce. The whole idea behind a craft-along is to craft along with other people, so starting early isn’t in the spirit of the event, but it’s not a hard rule because we can’t realistically keep track of that.
Can I make an outfit for someone else?
Yes but with some limitations. We’d like outfits to be for teens or adults to keep all projects at a similar scale and difficulty level. Knitting a toddler’s sweater is very different from knitting one for an adult, so outfits for small children aren’t part of the OAL.
I missed the official start date. Can I still join?
Of course! You don’t need to sign up or anything like that by a certain date. You just need to finish your two pieces by July 31st, so if you feel like you still have enough time, dive right in.