12 Months of Mindful Fiber: July with Linen from Quince & Co.

It’s July. It’s hot. It’s time for linen.

Linen is one of the greenest fabrics in the world. Flax, the plant that linen comes from, grows well with just naturally occurring precipitation and requires minimal pesticides and chemical fertilizers even when not categorized as ‘organic’. Flax has been cultivated for fiber since at least 3,000 B.C. Egyptian mummies were wrapped in it, folks in the Middle East have worn it for centuries, it’s mentioned several times in the Bible and was valued as a commodity by the Greeks and Romans. All that before being introduced to Europe and then to the Americas.

Linen takes a while to process. The seeds have to be removed (rippling). The entire plant must be soaked in water, acid or chemicals to decompose the bark and pectin so the fiber can be removed as long strands (retting). Strands are dried, combed and spun into a thread or yarn. All of this makes for a product that is more expensive, but it is also a higher quality product. Linen yarn is absorbent, moisture-wicking and softens beautifully with washing, age and use.

not flax

Where the spare DPNs live.

Knitting with linen is like knitting with anything else: you have to Know Your Fiber. Linen is slippery, so choose wooden or bamboo needles – they have a little grip to them that you will appreciate! If you’ve chosen a yarn with a loose twist, choose needles with a rounded point to prevent split stitches. Linen is not at all elastic, which means that it will not snap back into shape like wool does. It will relax, it will drape, it will soften with age. Great qualities for shawls, but your gauge should be TIGHT for other garments so that your finished product keeps it’s shape. If you opt to substitute linen for another fiber: swatch swatch SWATCH. And WASH your swatch! Linen changes dramatically with washing – it blooms and softens so be sure to check your gauge after washing, not before.

**This giveaway is closed! Join us in August for more Mindful Fiber!**

Want to give it a try? The pattern this month is exactly right for a linen “taste test.”

To make this little bag with its long shoulder strap, you’ll need two skeins of Sparrow, an organic linen grown in Belgium, from Quince & Co..

Blue Spruce and NannyBerry (picked for the name AND the color)

Quince & Co. was founded by two knitware designers and the owner of an historic spinning mill. Together, they have created “a line of thoughtfully conceived yarns spun from American wool or sourced from overseas suppliers who grow plants, raise animals, or manufacture a yarn in as earth- and labor-friendly a way as possible. We think we can have our yarn and knit it, too.”

Quince & Co. sells their yarns directly from their website, and I encourage you to run over and take a look at the other yarn lines, you’ll find something special. Rest assured that the something special is available in an absolutely splendid color.

**This giveaway is closed! Join us in August for more Mindful Fiber!**

I’ve got enough linen for two July winners, PDF patterns will be delivered by email (thank you for your versatility, Ravelry). To win this month’s Mindful Fiber, just leave a comment before July 24, 2012!

Carrie Hoge holds the copyright on the le petit sac photograph. it is used with permission.

36 thoughts on “12 Months of Mindful Fiber: July with Linen from Quince & Co.

  1. Sarah

    Absolutely gorgeous yarn! And your description of linen makes me really want to use it – I’ve never knit with it before. I love your Mindful Fiber series – I’m learning so much!

  2. eidolons

    I know a lot of the ladies I knit with on Fridays dislike using linen. But I have to admit that I really want to give it a try. Also, I can’t go to Quince and Co’s website. I get yelled at by my husband every time I give him a total for what I want! (:

  3. Kim

    I like the way linen fabric garments look, but detest the way they wrinkle. I’m guessing linen yarn fabric wouldn’t do that. May have to give it a try.

  4. emily Post author

    You can machine wash most linen yarns (including Sparrow). Just lay them out nice and smooth and flat to dry. Not a wrinkle in sight.

  5. Barbara

    I’ve never knit with linen, but I love wearing linen clothes in the summer. It would be fun to experiment with a new fibre!

  6. Toni

    Linen yarn is wonderful, and your explanation of the process of turning flax into yarn was quite interesting.
    Oh, that’s purdy yarn!

  7. Coralee

    Linen would most likely be an adventure! Currently adding more bamboo to my needle stash, so I’ll be ready to knit when I win 🙂

    Great post by the way….

  8. Susan

    Ive never worked with linen, though I’ve been tempted to use it for a curtain to go on the window over my kitchen sink. or maybe some hand towels — that could be a lovely holiday gift!

  9. Carole (cjj)

    Quince & Co linen yarn would be a great prize to win. Have my fingers crossed my no. gets picked.

  10. Stephanie

    I love linen, I love flax. Have I knit with either fiber? Not yet! It’s going to be 105 today – and linen sounds like a wonderful thing to be knitting in this heat. Thank you for the reminder.

  11. Carla (from Alabama)

    The colors of that yarn are so pretty! I loved the inforamtion that you shared about linen. I would love to knit is “sac”. I think I will even if the random number generator doesn’t choose me this time. Thanks for the link to the beautiful yarn.

  12. Cassie Moon

    I love the purse pattern. So if I don’t win the linen, I’m thinking I can buy the pattern and make it out of some hemp or nettle yarn just wasting away in my stash!

  13. Andrea W

    I love Quince and Co. Their yarn is the best and knits up beautifully. The two colors shown are gorgeous. Would love to knit it up! Thank you!

  14. Laura

    I’ve wanted to try Quince and Co. – their yarns look lovely! The linen bag looks like a great project.

  15. Dawn

    I love these blog posts! Being allergic to wools this is right up my alley.

    Thank you for helping me add to my ‘must have yarn que’!

  16. Samantha

    Thank you for introducing me to this fantastic series!

    I love working with linen. I like that it responds well to washing and use, versus some other fibers. Lovely colors!

  17. Margaret Williams

    Linen. I have never tried it! But those colors are stunning and I hope to win! That bag is adorable!

  18. Ellen T

    Just happened upon your site…Wow.
    Amazing…have never tried linen before but would love to give it a spin.
    Would enjoy making the bag for my daughter for Christmas.

  19. Lorraine

    Ohh I love that color Nannyberry. I can see making a little purse for the fall with it. Thanks for the link to the website.

  20. Kate

    I’ve used all the Quince yarns but Sparrow, and would love to try it. Nannyberry is my favorite color (and name) too!

  21. Cathy-Cate

    What beautiful yarn.

    I’ve knit with linen once, and loved the end result. But the colors weren’t nearly that gorgeous! I found your information fascinating.

    Also, it’s interesting that I’m the third Cathy-with-a-C to comment…

  22. Cayli

    Oh, I want to try this yarn so much! I love all of the Quince & Co. yarns I have knit with so I know this would be a great way to try linen for the first time.

Comments are closed.