In my quest to find the right two yarns to combine for the sweater I wanted to design for spring or fall evenings, I finally came across Lina by Fibra Natura. Yesterday I reviewed Whisper Lace, also by Fibra Natura, the lace-weight wool and silk blend, but today I want to explore the qualities of Lina’s amazing linen-cotton blend.
This yarn is listed as sport weight, but when I knit with it on size 5US [3.75mm] needles, I got more of a DK weight stitch count of 22 or 21 stitches per 4″. Each hank is 100g and has a generous 252yds. I chose the Fern green color because it was a close match to the Reeds colorway I chose in Whisper Lace.
I like to really get to know the yarns I knit with. At first glance, Fibra Natura Lina looks a bit loosely spun. There’s a lot of separation between the larger plies and this gives the yarn its lightness of being and helps a lot with its drape. However, upon untwisting the plies, I discovered that there are 3 main plies that are spun loosely around each other, but each one of those strands is comprised of 3 even more tightly spun plies. The middle strand in the photo shows that one of the plies is loosely spun and has 2 binding plies that keep the looser fibers contained, but still relaxed.
The architecture of this yarn is definitely responsible for its strength, drape, and depth of color.
I swatched with Lina on its own first to see what it behaved like at a tighter gauge. I really found that the swatch had a lot of drape and even some elasticity, which is unusual for a plant-fiber based yarn.
Row gauge is a little tricky to measure prior to blocking because the stitches like to separate from each other where they were sitting on the needles. But once wet blocked and pulled vertically and allowed to spring back, the stockinette fabric was more balanced and the gauge more accurate. I do this when I knit with linen or cotton because I want to imitate the effect gravity seems to have on plant-based yarn.
The other stitch patterns at the bottom and top of the swatch were an attempt at killing two birds with one stone. I wanted to see if these textured stitches suited my design idea. But they didn’t. So they just serve as lovely frames for my stockinette rows.
In the meantime, there are some free designs that accompany Fibra Natura Lina and I’d like to introduce them to you now so that you have more than one project you can line up in your queue.
PDF of the free pattern for Ravine Tee-shirt
PDF of free shawlette pattern using Lavendula, Potting Soil for the body and Crocus for the edging.