Linen is the ultimate fiber for hot weather. As we move into the dog days of summer, even those of us who run a little cold are looking for cool comfortable linen garments to stave off the heat. In this climate, linen is not just the answer to our brutal late summer weather, but a smart fiber that's lovely to wear year round. Here are my top five reasons to love linen
Comfort - linen is cool and comfortable to wear. Made from the core of the flax plant stalk, linen fiber is extremely breathable, allowing air to pass freely through the fibers and cloth to keep you cool when it's hot.
Absorbancy - Linen is a highly absorbent fiber, wicking perspiration away from your body keeping you dry and comfortable
Washability - linen is stain resistant, but if you should happen to get something on your linen garment, linen goes happily through the washer and dryer without shrinking, stretching, or fading. In fact, linen becomes softer and more lovely with each washing.
Strength and durability- linen has a tensile strength nearly twice that of cotton, so linen garments can endure a lifetime if wear and still look great. Linen fabric is also immune to the UV radiation, so it won't yellow or breakdown when exposed to the most intense sunlight.
Luster - linen is a silky fiber with an attractive sheen. Unlike other summer fibers, linen doesn't pill, shed, or create any kind of lint.
You might be wondering why all summer sweaters aren't knit with linen? Well, until recently, linen knitting yarns have not been particularly compelling. Most linen yarns are stiff and honestly, fairly unappealing to knit. And then I met Reed. Sounds like a handsome leading man, doesn't it? Well, it kinda is.
Reed is the smooth, suave linen fiber that's totally changed my mind about knitting with linen. When Shibui introduced this yarn, I kept touching it and thinking; Wow, this is linen? Really? It's so smooth - so soft -- so silky. How can this be? The answer is in the construction. Rather than being a traditional plied yarn, Reed is a fine chainette that creates suppleness and loft in a fiber that lacks both. This fingering weight yarn that takes advantage of linen's crispness but tempers it into a lovely smooth fiber that has totally seduced me. Reed, you are my kind of fiber...
What should you knit with Reed? Shibui's fabulous designer, Shellie Anderson, has three wonderful answers to that questions. First, if you're a sweater girl, I recommend either Athens, or Lucia.
Athens is a sleek sleeveless tank with a flattering A-line shape. It would be lovely over slim leggings or cropped pants. Jenny May has fallen hard for Athens and is starting a knitalong next Monday evening.
If you're not a fan of sleeveless, another option is Lucia, a beautifully updated go-to tee with elbow length sleeves and an eyelet trim. This is a great go-to garment that you'll reach for every single day because it looks great with skirts, pants or shorts, and feels great whatever the weather.
Not a sweater knitter? Try Reed in Octave, our July First Friday featured project - this great wrap is a simple knit with a fun stripe that you'll love all year long. I started mine and am loving the fine texture and mindless stockinette with colorful stripes to keep me from getting bored.
Join us next Monday night to get started on Athens with Jenny, or stop by anytime for some Reed and get started on your new favorite summer sweater! I look forward to seeing you in the shop and around the table. You are always welcome here.
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