I’m not one to knit with linen yarn very often (although, keep your eyes open for a new spring design coming up soon that may in fact feature some linen! I’ll keep you in suspense…), but since I work at a yarn shop I try to keep myself educated on all different types of fibers and how to care for them. This winter Suzie had a sample knit up of the Perkins Cove pullover for the shop, a beautiful Quince & Co. pattern designed by Pam Allen. It uses Quince & Co. Sparrow, an 100% linen yarn, perfect for spring and summer knitting and wearing. One thing I was really curious about was how to care for garments knit up in linen. I had read a great blog post by Hannah Fettig last year about it as well as heard her and Pam Allen discuss it on a knit.fm podcast episode. In both they talked about how you can put garments knit up with linen in the washing machine and dryer as well as iron it…I was intrigued! So I took home the Perkins Cove to see for myself.
Here is the “Before” shot:
And here is the After shot…
So what exactly did I do? I first ran it through the washing machine, on the delicate cycle. Then I put it in the dryer, on low heat. As a knitter, putting finished garments in the washer and dryer seems to go against all my instincts but I trusted in the process and sure enough, the sweater came out just fine and it really did soften up! But the edges were curling up a bit so I decided to try the iron. Again, going against all my normal knitter-instincts, I put the iron directly on the sweater, and, once again it turned out beautiful.
Here’s a before shot of the bottom edge before ironing:
And here is the bottom edge after ironing:
So my experimentation was a success and I now have a whole new appreciation for linen. I definitely recommend giving it a try this spring and summer!
One side note: This process works great for 100% linen yarn like Quince & Co.’s Sparrow or Kestral, but if you are working with a yarn that is a linen blend (say it has merino and linen in it), then you will want to stick with ‘regular’ blocking methods.