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Making tidy increases/decreases when working with linen yarn, Lina

by Charles Voth

I’m so excited to share my sweater design where I held together Lina, a linen-cotton blend, and Whisper Lace, a wool-silk blend, both by Fibra Natura. On Tuesday, I reviewed Whisper Lace and yesterday I looked at Lina.

Today, I want to show you how the two yarns look together. I’ll also demonstrate how to keep this not-so-elastic linen yarn behaving discreetly when you increase and decrease to shape the sweater I’m sharing with you today and tomorrow. Let’s get to it!

Stockinette stitch with Lina and Whisper Lace by Fibra Natura.

The above stockinette is knit in the round and the gauge on a US8 [5mm] circular needle is 18 sts and 25 rows across 4″.

I’m thrilled with the drape of this fabric, and it’s very light as well, so I achieved my goal of knitting at a worsted weight gauge by blending two lighter weight yarns, which by their own merit give a lot of drape to knit fabric. I really like the peek-a-boo bits of tweed-like flecks of color from the Reeds colorway of Whisper Lace.

Zing interchangeable needles come in a variety of colors, and make a nice contrast to the yarn.

This sweater design was done “on the mannequin” instead of all on paper first, so there was the need to remove the stitches from the circular needle to try it on the model every once in a while.

This could have been a big hassle, but instead, I used the cool feature of my Zing interchangeable circular needle by Knitter’s Pride. See that little hole about an inch from my fingers? That’s where I threaded through dental floss as a life-line and knit one more round. Then I could unscrew the tips off the cable, slide the cable off the stitches, and voilà!

This sweater starts with a simple crew neck and is knit top down, making increases a necessary stitch for shaping.

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but when you swatch for an in-the-round sweater, be sure to swatch in the round, too! The tension of not having purl rows can be different for some knitters.

As I said earlier, this sweater is top-down, and it begins with a yoke construction.There’s one difference to this particular yoke. You start by knitting in rows and working a gap opening at the center back, later to be closed with a button, and you’ll be working short-rows to ensure the back of the sweater sits higher on the back neck, so that the front crew is comfortable.

I used German short rows, which I went on and on about a while ago, and demonstrated in a video, too, because they’re invisible with the linen yarn…and it’s all about invisibility with plant fiber yarns that don’t have elasticity, because any slight shift in tension is readily visible, like right there!

This also means that increases will show, too. There’s no way to make them totally invisible, but I worked and worked at making them discreet and figured out a really useful strategy.

TIP You use the tips of the needles, not their full circumference to knit the increases, and also the decreases. Using Knitter’s Pride Zing needles makes this technique really easy because you just have to keep your loops and yarn-overs on the shiny nickel-plated tips, which are narrower than the colored body of the needles. Awesome!

I know that you probably have your favorite kind of increase, and M1 (make 1) may not be it. I tried lifted increases, knit front-back increases, and yo and knit into the back loop of the yo on the next round. None of them were subtle enough for my taste. So I’m sticking with the M1, and technically it’s a left-twist Make 1. I didn’t bother to try a right-twist M1 because I figured it would stretch the linen stitches even more and that would make them less than invisible.

To knit a large version of this sweater (44″ bust and meant to be worn with no positive ease), you’ll need 6 hanks of Lina and 3 balls of Whisper Lace.

Tomorrow I’ll share the pattern for this size. The other sizes are under development and will appear soon. Stay tuned, or leave us a comment!

Pam is modelling the Parallelogram Tee, knit out of Lina and Whisper Lace by Fibra Natura.

This is part 4 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 3: What gives Fibra Natura Lina yarn its beautiful drape?

Go to part 5: Try a parallelogram lace panel in your next top-down knit tee

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