So, prior to writing this blog post I checked and it turns out that last time I wrote a ‘What Maya Knits’ post was nearly a year ago – and that gives you an indication of how much knitting time there is in my life – not much! But sometimes you just notice the one, the one project you just have to abandon all other projects to make, the easy fix, instant gratification, exciting fibre, fun yarn, the key wardrobe jumper, the one you been looking for and never found … I can go on and on … and this last spring I found one of those.
Selja is a basic top down raglan jumper designed by Jonna Hietala, one of the master minds behind Laine Magazine, but published independently from the magazine on Ravelry. You can find the pattern right here! I just immediately fell in love with the simplicity of this design – it is exactly what was missing from my wardrobe – super simple but stylish enough to be thrown on top of everything and you will look good no matter what.
But what really tickled my fancy was that Selja is knit up using linen. Linen has been on my to-do list of fibres I’ve wanted to have a proper go at. Sure I’ve used linen blends or linen in combination with other yarn types before, but I really wanted to do something in pure linen. Given that we have the gorgeous Växbo Lingarn in such a mouthwatering wide colour range here at the shop, and that I’ve been lusting after this yarn for a long time, it seemed like this project’s yarn and design was just a match made in heaven!
A few years ago we did a series on different fibres here on the blog, so if you want to learn more about linen, it’s production and qualities have a read here. But for now, let me mention that Linen is a plant fibre which can be quite tough to work with but that softens as you knit with it and with use, which results in a lightweight, smooth fabric with a gorgeous drape, that only will look better and better with time. Dealing with quite a lot of ‘delicate’ fibres in the shop we often joke about the linen, and how it is one of those fibres that will look better the worse you treat it – so no need to be gentle … Also, as this was my summer project and we were ‘blessed’ with the heat wave above all heat waves this year, linen turned out to be a very comfortable knit for sweaty hands.
When working with linen we do recommend to wind your hank into a ball by hand in stead of using a winder, the reason for this is that it will immediately help in breaking down the fibres and soften the yarn before knitting. Selja is a brilliant first time project if you haven’t worked with linen before. It is worked holding two strands together on a thick needle, 5.5mm, which gives a loose knit which is quite gentle on the hands. You will need three hanks of Växbo Lingarn to complete even the larger sizes, linen is such a lightweight fibre that you get a generous meterage per 100g which helps keeping the project within a lower budget.
Now if you start knitting, and the result does not resemble that of the picture – do not worry! Linen in a loose knit is very flexible and in the end it will stretch and form exactly the you way tell it to! Blocking is essential to achieve the final look, soak your linen jumper for longer than what you would normally do – I had mine in the bowl over night – and don’t be scared of using a bit of force when pinning it down to measurements. And there you have it – easy peasy linen knitting – and a new favourite jumper!