Last March, I was lucky enough to attend the Edinburgh yarn festival with my husband and some of his family. While at the EYF market, I purchased only one batch of yarn for a garment, as my stash has been piling up of late. I had heard lots of wonderful reviews of Blacker yarns and the company founder, Myra, helped me pick out my yarn at her stall —what fun! I have always adored this mint green color for spring/summer, and I have been trying to knit more in warm-weather-friendly fibers since California has become so hot. So I chose this 50% wool 50% linen blend in dk weight to take home with me. It is called Lyonesse, and also has a 4ply weight.
The yarn is not particularly soft to the touch because of the linen content, but it is not harsh either. This is very important for me, as I find I cannot stand to knit 100% linen yarns. I used a square wood needle, the Knitter’s Pride cubix, and this helped me knit the yarn pretty comfortably. It got easier after a few days of knitting and after that it felt fine on the hands. The biggest advantage of a yarn with this much linen content is the way it shows off lace work. I chose the Vogue Lace Hem Top, and boy did the leaf pattern show up distinctly in this yarn!
Unfortunately, the short rows I knitted for my bust darts in front also show up pretty clearly. I will avoid knitting short rows in this yarn in a prominent place in future. Can you see the oblong of back and forth rows right over the bust? Because I knitted the short rows back and forth instead of in the round, they had a different texture from the rest of my knitting, which was in the round. I am hoping that repeated washings will soften the lines there, but this yarn really shows details like that prominently.
I am glad to say I found Mari Tobita's Lace Hem Top pattern enjoyable to knit. I adapted it by knitting the size small from the top down and adding extra decreases for the waist, then I increased again to the larger size as I was knitting from waist to hips to keep the intended A-line shape of the pattern. I altered the top because I find that baggy knits do not look good on my figure unless the yarn I’m using has a lot of drape, and that is not the greatest strength of the Lyonesse yarn, although it has some drape due to the linen content.
The greatest plus for me about this yarn is that it was comfortable for me to wear in August and September when it is particularly hot in California, but it was more comfortable on the hands when knitting than a pure cotton yarn. I will definitely make summer tops with this yarn again if I am ever lucky enough to travel to the UK and find it!