I'm making a sweater out of louet 100% linen and I've learned that Linen knits up with a certain bias, due to the twisting of the yarn. Does anyone have any ideas for correcting this?
I'm knitting Elizabeth Zimmermann's Open Collared Shirt from Knitters Almanac using Euroflax linen. Knitted in the round, I can't say I've noticed a bias yet, I've done about 30cm (12"). There is no ribbing, she uses a garter stitch band about 5cm wide and the ends are sewn together. Stitches are then picked up around one edge and then the body is just knit stitch.
Have only used linen in weaving. It can be murder on your fingers! You may want to do some internet searches about knitting with it. I know several companies have patterns for linen projects but can't offer much more than moral support. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.
I've a linen project that's waiting to be started because of the peculiar characteristics of the yarn. I knitted up a test swatch and then washed and dried it. The yarn is stiff to work with and doesn't have much give. Before washing, I admit that I wasn't impressed. However, it relaxes and looks much better after washing, but still maintains a distinct bias. I've read that washing and drying the yarn before knitting can make Euroflax much easier to work with; however, I've not yet tried this.
I knitted the "California T Shirt" pattern which I think was published by this yarn company, if this is the one who uses the name "Euro Flax". I like my shirt but the ribbing was so "wobbly" I ended up getting some of that skinny elastic thread and crocheting into the back of the ribbing after the fact. It finally did pull in a bit and it does firm up a little after you wash it again. Just plan on it being a little generous. I do like the look. It's not as cool in hot weather as I had hoped. Also, this stuff seemed rough on my fingers when I was working with it, but it eased up when it's first washed!
I was told that linen works better for pattern/lace knitting than plain stockinette because of the twist and lack of elasticity and that wooden or bamboo needles work best because linen yarn reacts poorly to friction during the knitting. It also relaxes after washing so it was recommended that I avoid trying to do any ribbing with it and choose garter stitch or seed stitch as a border instead and wash my swatch before measuring my gauge. It may be that once you wash the sweater the bias will go away.
I gave up on my linen project because I didn't like the lack of elasticity and the tendency to stretch from its own weight. Having said that, it is softer than cotton, drapes really well, and makes a great summer fabric due to its absorption of moisture. Good luck and let us know how your sweater turns out.
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