This week, I’m knitting with Fibra Natura Flax Lace, a strong, light and airy, long lasting fiber that is perfect for summertime wear.
Previously, I made a beach cover-up that could also be worn over a tank top for summer in the city, and the Cabana Bandana, a light scarf accessory that is also functional. It’s time to dust off the sand and get ready for dinner with a lovely t-shirt that is both casual and dressy at the same time.
Today I’m making the Blissful Tee, a free downloadable pattern. Originally designed for Fibra Natura Cotton True Sport, I used 2 strands of Flax Lace in color Lily Pad, which is a lovely soft mint green, to create my version.
This is a great anytime, anywhere top that can be worn all summer long.
If you remember the homework in my post, Knitting with linen yarn, my story, my way, I made a swatch using 2 strands of Flax Lace in stocking stitch, laundered it, and measured my gauge at 22 sts and 28½ rows over 4”. This pattern calls for 24 sts and 30 rows over 4”, which means that I need to do some calculations for my size. Here’s the good news. When I used the same formula as that of the Mesh-Up Tee, I discovered that all I needed to do was make the smaller size, but should still adjust for the difference in row gauge. So this should be a piece of cake, right?
Well, don’t I wish. It seems that I didn’t heed my own words about laundering the swatch the same way you intend to launder the garment. I did launder the swatch correctly but decided to be kinder to the finished sweater. That resulted in the sweater not achieving the same gauge as the swatch. Too wide and too long, so I threw it back in the washer and dryer along with a few other items.
Now, my finished measurements are 42” wide and 21” in length from the shoulder, which is more in line with the pattern, however, there’s too much ease for my liking. I should have used about 10 – 12 stitches less overall, to take out 2” of ease. My gauge measured in at 22 sts and 28½ rows … exactly the same as my test swatch.
If you’re substituting linen for a different pattern fiber, be sure to swatch all of the stitch requirements. My ribbed section did not achieve similar results to the pattern and that’s because I neglected to swatch the 1×1 rib section with a smaller needle. If I had it to do all over again, I would do the 1×1 with a 2½ [3.0mm] needle instead of the US 3 [3.25mm] that I used.
In the end, the t-shirt came out to the expected size, thanks to doing homework before I got started. Overall, my experiments were successful. The knitted version of the Mesh Up Tee came out great, and I love the bandana. When time permits, I’ll likely make it again as a shawl. A single strand of the Flax Linen created a beautifully soft and airy scarf that will be a great accessory for the warm days ahead.
I hope this article has convinced you that linen is a lovely fiber that can be used to create beautiful garments and accessories. Just remember my recommendations for first timers:
- Try knitting a scarf or shawl as your first project where gauge is not as important as a fitted garment. This will get you use to knitting with the fiber.
- If it’s a garment, choose a pattern that was designed for linen – the pattern gauge will be reflective of how linen behaves on the needles.
- Do your homework – always swatch all the stitch patterns, measure, launder the swatch the same way you intend for the finished item, and measure again to get your true gauge.
- Most importantly of all, relax. Don’t try and knit tightly in an attempt to get gauge. All that will do is make it uncomfortable for your hands, and won’t result in the correct gauge anyway. So ease up and enjoy the process.
This is part 5 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 4: Knit up in Flax Lace, the Cabana Bandana is perfect for a hot or windy day
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