Knitting With Linen

*tap* *tap* *tap* Is this thing on?

Howdy, my knitting friends! Thank you so much for sticking with me while I was on an unexpected hiatus for several weeks. I’ve got some interesting non-knitting things to share that explain by absence, and then I’ll get into some knitting discussion. If this is your first time visiting the Knitting Daddy blog, I offer you a hearty welcome and I do hope you add this blog to your regular list of blogs that you visit. If you’re a returning visitor, thank you so much for coming back and I hope that I continue to provide content that you enjoy coming back to read. This week, I’m going to talk about my latest big knitting project — a top for Blueberry, knit out of linen. But first, let’s catch up with some housekeeping.

Sweet Pleat

Blueberry models her comfy Sweet Pleat on a lovely summer afternoon.

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

It’s been almost a month since I posted, and that post was really just a teaser. Let me tell you, it’s been a hectic month! Let’s hit some highlights:

  • I interviewed for, was offered, accepted, and started a new job. This is very exciting! My old job was great, and I’m going to especially miss the knitting and crafting friendships I fostered in the crafting group I started there. The upside is that my commute changed from a ~35 minute drive to a quick, 1.7 mile drive (or bicycle ride, or even walk) downtown. This means more time at home in the evenings with my family, which is absolutely priceless.
  • We confirmed that both of our HVAC units need to be replaced. This is no surprise, and the timing for HVAC replacement is never good. But this is a particularly tough time with my job transition, my wife’s school studies, and the general business we have going on in the Knitting Daddy household. I’m thankful that my wife is taking the lead on investigating and arranging for new HVAC units. This breakdown has also meant that we’ve had to spend a considerable amount of time and energy cleaning out our basement so that the installers will be able to get to all of the duct work. There’s still a lot of cleaning to do, but we’ve made good progress.
  • I went to San Diego for four days last week, in conjunction with the work I do serving on the Executive Board for Family Support Network of Central Carolina (FSNCC). FSNCC is an amazing organization serving the needs of families with children who have special needs or who were born prematurely. I have a feeling you’ll hear more about them next week, related to a knitting project I’m about to head up. The conference I went to in San Diego was the Symposium for Leaders in Healthcare Quality, and focused on patient and family engagement in healthcare. It was amazing, and my head is still spinning from everything that I learned and the contacts that I made. Good, good stuff.
  • Probably some other stuff, but really, I don’t remember — I’m just dealing with things as the come at me!

So it’s been busy. It looks like things are settling down, and for that, I’m thankful. I’m definitely looking forward to establishing a new routine for things, where most of what I do is focused around where I live.

San Diego Yarn

My time at the conference in San Diego was jam-packed, but I did manage to hit up a yarn store and buy some souvenir sock yarn before heading back East.

Instagram

I set up an Instagram account: Knitting Daddy. We recently got new phones, and Instagram works for me now on my phone. I’m still finding my Instagram legs, but I’ll try to post some pictures — especially in-progress pictures — of my knitting there. I’ll also try to keep it clear of non-knitting photos, so if you follow me on Instagram, you can rest assured that I’ll only be bringing you knitting goodness with my pictures.

Recently In Podcasts

I kept up with my podcast listening during all of this time. Part of that was made easier by flying from the East Coast to the West Coast and back — lots of travel time to listen to the iPod. I listened to so many podcasts — 37 episodes total! I’m not going to take the time to review them all individually here. Instead, I will list what I’ve been listening to as a reminder for some of the great knitting podcasts out there: 2 Knit Lit Chicks, Curious Handmade (6 episodes!), Ewe University (2 episodes!), Fiber Hooligan (6 episodes!), Knit 1 Geek 2 (2 episodes!), Knitcircus, Knitting Pipeline (3 episodes!), Knitmore Girls (7 episodes!), KnottyGirls Knitcast (2 episodes!), TwinSet Designs (2 episodes!), Yarn Thing with Marly Bird (new podcast to me! 2 episodes!), and Yarniacs (3 episodes!). I am sorely behind on CraftLit, where I hope to catch up soon.

It will be interesting to see if/how I’m able to keep up with my podcast listening like I used to. Most of my listening time comes on my commute, which used to be ~35 minutes each way, now it’s less than 10 minutes. We’ll see what happens.

Recently On My Needles

My needles have been relatively quiet the past few weeks. But I did manage to get a decent amount of knitting done while on the plane, and a little bit of knitting here and there every now and then.

I don’t have any pictures of it yet, but I did start The Fox & The Hen by Susan B. Anderson as part of the IBK Topsy-Turvy KAL. I have most of the hen complete (it needs wings and a face) and I have my yarn for the fox, but I haven’t started him yet. I’m definitely not going to have this finished by the end of the month, but that’s OK, because it’s a no-pressure KAL.

I knitted several dish cloths/wash cloths. And I gave them all away. One was for an IBK mini-swap, and I was lucky enough to have been matched with my friend Bee, who is part of the crafting group at my old job. The swap organizer didn’t realize we worked together, and randomness assigned her to me. It was very funny. Even though I could have simply handed her the swap gift, I ran it through the postal service anyway.

Dish/Wash Cloth

Stockinette wash cloth for my friend Bee.

At The Post Office

Knitting Daddy and Bee stop by the post office to drop off some packages for an IBK mini-swap.

Ravelry Project Page: IBK 2014 Summer Spa Swap
Pattern: Leafy Washcloth by Megan Goodacre
Yarn Used: Knit One Crochet Too Ty-Dy

The other two cloths I sent for the July IBK charity knitting project.

Dish/Wash Cloth

Garter stitch version of the dish/wash cloth.

Dish/Wash Cloth

Stockinette version of the dish/wash cloth.

Ravelry Project Page: 2014-07 IBK Charity: Leafy Washcloths
Pattern: Leafy Washcloth by Megan Goodacre
Yarn Used: Lily Sugar-N-Cream

I’ve also been working on another pair of socks for myself. I have finished one of the socks at this point. I got a lot of it knitted while in San Diego (or in transit). It’s very soft, cozy yarn. I think I like how it’s coming out, but I’m a little weirded out by the pattern difference in the leg vs. in the foot. They’re both 72 stitches in circumference. I wonder if my gauge changed when I hit the heel flap, or if the yarn is doing it. I’ll go ahead and knit up the 2nd sock and see what happens, then I’ll take some detailed measurements. It’s fun, and I need to hurry up and cast on for the 2nd sock before the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome sets in.

One Serenity Sock

One sock in Socks That Rock Serenity is complete.

Ravelry Project Page: Greg’s Serenity Socks
Pattern: How I Make My Socks by Susan B. Anderson
Yarn Used: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks that Rock Lightweight in the Serenity colorway

Knitting With Linen

Let’s focus our attention to the main feature of this week’s post: knitting with linen. I’ve been hearing about Kestrel from Quince&Co. for a while on many of the podcasts I follow. I’ve been wanting to try it ever since I heard about it. I’ve never knit with linen before, and it sounded like a lot of fun — and a great material for summertime knitting. While visiting one of my favorite local yarn shops that stocks Quince yarn, I noticed they had Kestrel in stock, so I couldn’t resist purchasing a few skeins and finding a pattern to knit up.

Sweet Pleat

The completed Sweet Pleat can use a quick iron, especially on the bottom edge, to flatten everything out.

Ravelry Project Page: Sweet Pleat
Pattern: Sweet Pleat by Hannah Fettig
Yarn Used: Quince and Co. Kestrel in the 507 Yarrow colorway

I decided on Sweet Pleat by Hanna Fettig. One of the selling points for that pattern was that I knew it would be a fairly quick knit since it was a garment for Blueberry. Baby and toddler knits are so much quicker than adult knits for garments! It also didn’t use a lot of yardage, so I knew that it would be enough knitting to let me know if I liked working with linen, or if it simply wasn’t for me.

I love working with linen.

Kestrel has a unique construction where the yarn is a ribbon, a tube, of woven linen. It lies flat, and provides an interesting texture when it is knitted up. Since it’s cotton linen (thanks for the catch and correction, Debbie!), it’s machine washable, can go in the dryer, and can be ironed. With Sweet Pleat, the fact that it can be ironed works well to straighten out the rolled edge that the stockinette creates at the base of the garment. It looks cute rolled up, too, so you don’t have to iron it if you don’t want to.

Sweet Pleat

Hanging in the nursery, you can see how the rolled bottom irons out just fine.

The garment itself knit up with very little difficulty. The pleat at the top is a cool design feature, and Hannah’s video tutorials were invaluable for getting the technique right.

Playing Outside

The Sweet Pleat makes for great summer active wear.

It fit Blueberry perfectly, and she enjoyed wearing it as she ran around the yard the first day I put it on her. I love watching her wear it, and I’m not concerned that she’ll “mess it up” if it gets dirty, or wet, or whatever. The linen construction is strong, it breathes easily, and since it can be tossed in the washer to clean it up, I think it’s the perfect hand-knit top for running around on a hot summer day.

Relaxing

Blueberry relaxes in the hammock in her Sweet Pleat.

I already want to knit her another one. Probably not this year, but maybe for next year.

Biking

I’m not going to say that wearing a Sweet Pleat makes riding a tricycle more fun, but it sure doesn’t hurt!

Have you knit with linen before? What did you think? I’ve got most of a skein of Kestrel left over, and I’m open to suggestions on what to use it for — do you have any ideas for me? Leave a comment and let me know!

Until next week, keep on knitting for the ones you love!

-greg

8 thoughts on “Knitting With Linen

  1. Well, isn’t she the cutest? I love Hannah Fetig designs, and that cotton/linen is one I’ve thought about trying…now I’ll have to get me some! Congrats on the shorter commute, and good luck with the HVAC. Life is always changing, isn’t it? 🙂

    • Hi, Pam! Yes, I think she might be the cutest. I realize that I might be a little biased. This design was so much fun to knit — simple, but with a bit of flair with the pleat. Working with the linen was really cool, and it’s neat to see how it improves with wear and washing. My heart melted a little last night when we were getting Blueberry ready for bed. She was being a little difficult, and wanted to insist on picking out her own pajamas. She went straight to the Sweet Pleat! We convinced her that another dress-like top would be more comfortable for sleeping. Still, it was very sweet.

      Thanks for the congrats — I’ve been at the new job almost a week now, and absolutely love the shorter commute. We’re still working on the HVAC. At least it cooled down some around here, so it’s not uncomfortable at home while we’re without man-made cooling….

  2. Yay, a post! That must mean you had a little time to breathe this week. 🙂

    Have you shared this top with the IBK group? I saw it in the Ewe U group, but missed it in the IBK group. They’ll love the pictures of Blueberry. 🙂 The pattern is definitely cute, and even cuter on Blueberry.

    Is Kestrel 100% linen, or part cotton? At one point you say it’s cotton so it can go in the washing machine.

    Yay podcasts! I went through 19 episodes on my drive up here, and ran out of what I had downloaded. I’m caught up on most of what I listen to, so I’ll have to try out some of these others on the drive back. Let’s see… 37-19=18… I think I can fit that many in. 😉

    Speaking of which, last week the Knitmore Girls listed a bunch of podcasts and videocasts they listen to, and will be listing a bunch more this week (or maybe I’m a week behind again).

    And also speaking of them, now that you are using Instagram you should post that sock picture to #OperationSockDrawer (check that against their show notes – I don’t use Instagram). They are having a contest of sorts, and occasionally give away prizes.

    I suspect the pooling on the sock was disturbed by the heel. I like the way they came out, and I’m curious to see if the second one looks/acts similarly. I also love that you used the mirror to take your picture. Great idea. 🙂

    • Hi, Debbie — thanks for the great comment! Yes, I had a little time to breathe this week. And guess what — a new post is scheduled for tomorrow morning.

      I have not specifically shared this with IBK. You’re right, I should do that — I know everyone will enjoy taking a look.

      I double-checked on Kestrel, and it is 100% linen. I was confused/ignorant about where linen came from, and thought it was cotton based. It’s not, it’s flax based. I will correct this post to reflect that — I appreciate the correction! Still, it is very much machine washable. I’ve washed it 3 times now, I think, and it’s getting more comfortable with each wash.

      Yay podcasts, indeed! My new shorter commute is cutting into my ability to listen to podcasts, but I did seem to get a few good listens in over the weekend. We’ll see how that continues to shake out as I settle into my new routine. To make it more challenging, I’m continue to follow up on recommendations for new podcasts to listen to!

      I am posting pictures of my sock for #operationsockdrawer, and that contest is part of what got me reinvigorated about using Instagram.

      My knitting this weekend was devoted to a preemie hat, so no progress on the sock to speak of. I do have the ribbing complete and am ready to go into the stockinette portion. I’m looking forward to seeing what the yarn does. Your theory about the heel disturbing the pooling makes sense to me! Thanks for the mirror compliment — I literally stumbled on that as I was trying to figure out how to take a picture before I lost natural light, and all by myself. The hardest part of that was angling my phone in such a way that it didn’t show up in the mirror, too….

      • New post: yay!

        Kestrel: Good to hear that it washes up well. I’ll have to get a sample to swatch with. I haven’t tried any Quince & Co yarn yet, and I’m excited to.

        Instagram: 😀

        Knitting: I know what you mean about keeping self and phone out of reflection pictures. You did a great job. 🙂 I made unusually great progress on a few things this weekend. Oddly, it took me an hour each in the car to knit two heads for a tiny topsy-turvey toy. Not being able to see in the dark really only explains one of them.

        • I’ve used a few Quince yarns, and have loved them all. I’m sure you’ll be a fan, too.

          Congratulations on the great progress this weekend. And congratulations on your boldness of knitting in the dark…. 🙂

  3. Just wanna say I’m so impressed how you only learned how to knit two years ago and look at you go. You’re knitting up a storm! Your daughter is so cute. Glad to have found you via IBK/Rav.

    • Hi, Kepanie! Thanks so much for the kind comment. Glad that you found your way over to the blog, and I hope you enjoy it. I’m checking out, and enjoying, your blog right now. 🙂

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