Sunday, February 11, 2007

Euroflax Linen: Am I the only one...

...who finds knitting with Euroflax Linen unpleasant?

I bought some in a flush of excitement shortly after Mason-Dixon Knittingcame out. Loved those hand towels! I couldn't wait for the yarn to come so I could cast plans swirling about in my head.

Well...I got this far:

Yes, it's pretty. But Louet's Euroflax Linen felt harsh and unyeilding in my hands, and I had trouble getting a gauge I was happy with (those are US#5 needles in the photo). The yarn softened up a bit as I ripped and re-knitted, ripped and re-knitted. However, I found the whole process frustrating and disappointing, and kept thinking: "Isn't this supposed to be FUN?"

The funny thing is, I WANT to love it! I want to experience that washing and softening process, and the "drapeyness" Ann and Kay talk about. AND I WANT THOSE DAMN HAND TOWELS! But I am completely unwilling to spend that much time wrestling with yarn that feels horrid to my fingers.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I am a true wool lover. And alpaca? Like heaven. On the other hand, I don't care for cotton too much, unless it's mixed with something else, like silk (though I do like that cheap cotton yarn for dishcloths or "warshrags"). I've never tried bamboo, but I'm willing and curious. And silk,'s glossy and delicate, yet strong, and always lovely.

So all this makes me wonder...Am I the ONLY knitter who doesn't love knitting with linen? Or is there anyone else out there who feels the same way I do?



Jessica said...

Did you wash it first? It's suggested to wash the skein before winding it to soften up the yarn a bit. Linen needs a pretty good beating to soften. The more you use and wash it, the better it will get.

Hannah said...

Thanks, Jessica! I didn't realize I was supposed to wash the Euroflax BEFORE knitting. That sounds like the perfect solution. I'll keep you posted...See you again, I hope!

Elinor said...

Me! I hate knitting with linen and bamboo. And I know everyone in blogland is all gaga over silk but just wait until those silk knits get to be about 6 mos old. the fervor will wear off. silk doesn't age well. not unless it sits unworn in your closet.

Hannah said...

Thanks for letting me know I'm NOT alone ;-)

Phaedra28 said...

I adore linen yarn! In fact, if I could afford it, I think I'd buy enough Euroflax to make a dozen tops, and just roll around in the pile of skeins!

I didn't always feel this way, of course! In fact, the first time I tried knitting with it, I thought it was like knitting with barbed wire and gave up rather quickly. Then, I got a good deal on a lovely color, and forced myself through a cute little top out of it. And washed it, and dried it on my drying rack, and steamed it with my iron -- and hated it. I think chain mail would have been softer and more comfortable! But, after washing again, and throwing into the dryer -- ah! Heavenly! It draped beautifully, it felt soft and smooth and silky and had a gorgeous sheen to it.

I don't wash the skeins first, and I am careful in winding the balls -- I hold the yarn with something like an athletic sock over my hand to keep tension on it while winding on my ball winder. It had to be wound with tension, or it will never stay in the ball. I put the ball into a Ziploc sandwich bag, with a little hole in the bottom for the yarn to come out -- otherwise it tangles terribly. And after working with it a bit, my hands adjust to the tension necessary and to the less familiar feel to it. (I generally work with wool, and often either the Jaggerspun or Jamison fingering weights, or Black Water Abbey's worsted weight -- NOT the softest wools, as you may know.)

And the one problem is that it doesn't hold up all that well to multiple washings -- it starts to look a bit worn, which can be a nice look, but my little tops are all lacy things, and look best a bit crisper.

But, after working with it a bit -- I have fallen head over heels for Euroflax linen, and have come to simply adore the stuff!

I hope that helps.