I absolutely love the linen stitch! I used it my Flicker & Fade cowl (featured above and below), worked in-the-round with instructions for either a short or long version. If you like interesting stitches that are both simple to create while also rhythmic to knit, then you will love it too. It creates a fabric that looks woven, it’s reversible (the “wrong-side” looks just as good as the “right-side”!), and when worked in the round you only need to work 2 different types of stitches. And here’s the best part – it’s great for little bits of stash/leftover yarn too. Even random colors that you wouldn’t think go together somehow look amazing in linen stitch together.
What stitches do you use in linen stitch in the round?
To work linen stitch in the round, it’s a 2-round repeat and you are either working a “k1” (knit one stitch) or a “sl1 wyif” which stands for “slip 1 (as if to purl) with yarn held in front.” You just repeat those 2 stitches over and over again in the round. That’s it! The difference between round 1 and round 2 is just how you start the round – on round 1 you start with the “k1” and on round 2 you start with “sl1 wyif.” And if you’ve never worked a “sl1wyif”, don’t worry – my video tutorial is below!
Important tip: you’ll be on a larger needle
Here’s the most important thing to know about linen stitch – it is really dense! What does that mean? It means that the sequence of the stitches in this stitch pattern cause the fabric to tighten up. So in order to both knit comfortably as well as create a fabric that’s not too tight you will need to be on a larger needle size than you typically would for the yarn you’re using. For example, in my Flicker & Fade cowl, I used Malabrigo Chunky whose suggested needle size on the label is US 10-11. But in this pattern, I used a US 13 – and as you can see from the close-up picture above, even on a US 13 it still looks dense (so you can imagine how tight it would have been on a US 10!).
Yarn options for Flicker & Fade
As I mentioned above, I used Malabrigo Chunky yarn – shown below (from top to bottom) in the colors: Sunset, Rhodesian, Sealing Wax and Geranio.
There are SO many great colors in Malabrigo Chunky so part of the fun of this pattern is just coming up with your own color combination. Or, use up stash yarn! And you can use more (or less) than 4 colors if you would like – linen stitch is your opportunity to play! One thing to keep in mind with the suggested needle size in Flicker & Fade: Malabrigo Chunky is a very bulky-weight (it’s kind of in-between a standard bulky and a super-bulky). So if you plan to use a slightly thinner bulky-weight (such as Malabrigo Mecha or Berroco Vintage Chunky), then you may want to go down to a US 11 needle.
Other Yarn Weight Options:
Say you want to knit Flicker & Fade, but don’t want to use bulky-weight yarn – that’s no problem! I’ve provided different approximate cast-on amounts for either worsted-weight or Sport/DK-weight:
Worsted-weight yarn, at a gauge of approximately 19 sts = 4″
- Suggested needle size: US 10.5
- Short-version cast-on: 123
- Long-version cast-on: 251
Sport/DK-weight yarn, at a gauge of approximately 23 sts = 4″
- Suggested needle size: US 8
- Short-version cast-on: 149
- Long-version cast-on: 305
I hope this inspired you to try out the linen stitch and play around with different color combos! Click here to view all of the pattern details or to purchase for Flicker & Fade Cowl: