Throwback Thursday: Växbo Lin Lingarn

Linen is back! Not a moment too soon… One of our go to summer yarns is Växbo Lin’s Lingarn, so this little Throwback Thursday post is here to celebrate it again. We have recently restocked on 22 shades of this gorgeous and unusual fibre. So in case you missed it, here is why linen is so great.

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Lingarn is a 100% natural pure linen yarn traditionally grown and spun in Sweden. Växbo Lin’s Lingarn is certified with the Swedish Good Environmental Choice label (Bra Miljöval) because of its durability and environmentally friendly processing.

The earliest trace of flax culture in the Swedish county Hälsingland is dated to circa 200 AD. Evidence from the Viking age indicates that women wore linen chemises under their woolen skirts. Flax has been grown for domestic use throughout Sweden. In medieval times there was a surplus of flax in Hälsingland and linen became an item of trade. In fact, linen rather than money was used to pay taxes and fines.

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Heres a little bit about how linen fibre is made from one of our earlier Fibre Fridays posts. ‘Linen comes from a plant called flax. Unlike cotton, where the fibre comes from a pod that the plant produces, linen is made from the inner stalk. This type of fibre is called a bast fibre. Other bast fibres include nettle, hemp and rattan. The plant is grown to a height of about 4 feet. When it is ready, the plants are pulled up from the roots and left to decompose in a process called retting. This unbinds the unwanted outer bark from the inner bark that makes the fibre. The two types of bark are separated by big metal rollers in a process called scutching. The fibre lengths are combed to find the longest fibres which are then spun into thread or yarn.’

Linen is a tough fibre that may feel stiff an unyielding at first, but the more you work it the more it softens. It is recommended winding linen by hand, as this begins the softening process, which continues the more you work with it.

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What Throwback Thursday would be complete without a look at projects past. Do you remember Maya’s Selja she knit last year? Selja by Jonna Hietala is knit top down holding two strands together on 5.5mm needles. A super speedy knit for a quick summer project. Maya chose the Umbra colour. To read more about Selja read Maya’s – What Maya Knits Blog Post.

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And a couple of summers back Natalie launched her design The Mirabeau Top! The Mirabeau is an attractive striped summer top with a fetching lace panel. Idea for summer holidays and evenings dining al fresco. Light and cool, with fun Breton stripes, allowing you an opportunity to play with colour.

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I also knit with linen earlier this year when I finished my Parachutey by Stephen West. It came very handy in the hot halls of the Edinburgh Yarn Festival where I wore it over a shirt and kept perfectly cool. I knit this one in Moss Green, Olive Green, Graphite and Lime.

So go grab your needles while the sun is still shining.

Yarn of the Week: Hokkaido and Shikoku

We have just had the Great London Yarn Crawl through our doors on the weekend, and what a success! It is always one of the most fun days of the year, and really feels like it kicks off the London knitting season. Last year we released the Spitalfields Shawl for the crawl, so this year we are celebrating its first birthday! To help the celebrations we are making the Hokkaido and Shikoku used for the shawl as our Yarn of the Week.

The yarns are by the Danish company Designette and are in fact the same base, however the Hokkaido is solid and the Shikoku is variegated. It is a 4ply raw silk with a nubbly texture that looks best in simple textures such as garter stitch and stocking stitch. The raw silk can be used for anything where drape is a consideration, and perfect for things such as shawls and summer tops.

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Spitalfields uses 2 balls of the solid Hokkaido and 1 ball of the variegated Shikoku, but that could be reversed as well to have the main sections of the shawl variegated instead of solid. Spitalfields Shawl

Designette is a company that is focused on sustainability with their yarn production, and ensures that their yarns in countries with strict and enforced labour laws.

Use the code DESIGN15 online to get 15% off Designette yarns and the Spitalfields kit until Sunday September 18th, while supplies last. Mention the sale in-store to receive the same offer.

Yarn of the Week: Excelana 4ply and DK

This week’s yarn of the week comes to you a day late due to the bank holiday weekend, we hope you all had a lovely time in the sunshine if you had the day off! The weather has had a little freshness to it here in London, and it has us turning our minds to jumpers and cardigans for cooler days ahead. What better yarn to feature than Susan Crawford’s Excelana. It is available in a 4ply and DK weight in 50g balls, perfect for colourwork pieces.

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Susan designed this yarn with a colour palette in mind for her books A Stitch in Time vol. 1 and 2. The muted tones work perfectly together for the vintage style patterns requiring more than one colour. The blend is a 100% British Exmoor Blueface, and it is spun and dyed in Devon by John Arbon Textiles, making this a truly British yarn from start to finish. We are also excited for the possible uses of this yarn in Susan’s upcoming book, The Vintage Shetland Project.

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One of our favourite sweaters is Susan’s Bowland, which uses 6 colours of Excelana 4ply. The original shown was knit in Sweet Chestnut, Nile Green, Alabaster, Damson Wine, Land Army Green and Dark Mandarin, but the colour combinations are endless for more modern or traditional twists.

Use the code EXCEL15 online to get 15% off Excelana 4ply and/or DK until Sunday September 4th, while supplies last. Mention the sale in-store to receive the same offer.

 

 

Yarn of the Week: Lyonesse 4ply

This week’s yarn is Lyonesse 4ply from Blacker Yarns. Perfect for transitional seasons, it is a blend of Linen and Corriedale/Merino wool. This combination creates a subtle flecked fabric where the two fibres blend together. The yarn can have a very rustic appearance in the ball, but linen softens dramatically with knitting and washing, so don’t let that dissuade you from how fantastic this can feel worn right next to the skin. The linen also helps keep the finished garments from being too warm, making them perfect for the in-between months or cooler summer evenings.

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The Drift Raglan Increase Shawl is a free pattern from Blacker, designed by Sonja Bargielowska to use Lyonesse. The simple lace panels with stocking stitch look meditative to knit, and so cozy to wear! You can get the pattern on Ravelry.

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Blacker Yarns is the yarn business of The Natural Fibre Company, a mill based in Cornwall. As a mill they process yarns for small farms and other yarn businesses, while producing their own yarn as Blacker. Their mill is committed to using 100% British yarns and working with local farms to promote industry and growth, which has also meant championing rare sheep breeds and ethical farming practices. This translates into care for their production methods and reducing waste as much as possible in a responsible way.

Use the code LYON15 online to get 15% off Lyonesse 4ply until Sunday August 28th, while supplies last. Mention the sale in-store to receive the same offer.

Yarn of the Week: Tokonatsu

This week our highlight yarn is Tokonatsu by Noro. This DK weight yarn comes in a range of 8 muted jewel tones. It is a blend of cotton, silk and viscose, making it a wonderful yarn for summer and warmer weather garments. The yarn has a slubby blend, giving the finished fabric a slightly tweedy texture. This effect makes a wonderful canvas for stocking stitch, simple textures and stripes.

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For patterns, our favourite is Peridot, from the Noro Jewels collection booklet (available in-store only). The dolman sleeve design has a simple eyelet feature in a chevron for the front, which shows off the texture of the yarn beautifully.

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Noro has been making yarns in Japan under the guidance of its founder, Eisaku Noro, for over 40 years. All their fibre is sourced from certified organic farms which the company is actively involved in sourcing. They maintain strict standards to ensure a low environmental impact, from dye exhaust to machinery.

Use the code NORO15 online to get 15% off Tokonatsu until Sunday August 21st, while supplies last. Mention the sale in-store to receive the same offer.

Yarn of the Week: Serena

We would like to reintroduce an old favourite of ours, Yarn of the Week! We will highlight one yarn from the shop every week, with an offer and inspiration for projects.

Our first yarn is Serena, from Manos del Uruguay. This yarn is a 4ply/fingering weight blend of alpaca and cotton. It makes for a lightweight yarn with plenty of drape and movement, perfect for summer tops as well as shawls and accessories. It is kettle dyed for subtle semi-solids and carefully chosen variegated colour combinations with a stonewash finish.

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For patterns, we love this sweet summer top, Melo by Miriam L. Felton, available on Ravelry. It uses Serena as the main yarn, and then a worsted single such as Terra for the stripes. What a great combo!

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Melo by Miriam L. Felton. Image copyright Fairmount Fibers.

Manos del Uruguay is a registered Fair Trade yarn company from Uruguay, focusing on generating work for rural craftswomen. All of its yarns are manufactured according to Fair Trade regulations, generating fair and meaningful work for its employees.

Use the code SERENA15 online to get 15% off Serena until Sunday August 14th, while supplies last. Mention the sale in-store to receive the same offer.