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Linen Stitch Love Affair

There. I said it! I DO love me some linen stitch!

Last time I shared a video tutorial and written instructions for how to crochet the linen stitch, but let's chat a bit more about it.

What can you do with it? (What CAN'T you do with it!?) How do you do it? Best/worst yarn choices? (Um, all/none.) Do you have patterns that use it? (Of course!)

Was that a TL/DR? Maybe a bit.

Let's dig in.

The linen stitch is comprised of simple single crochets and chain-1 spaces that alternate each row, creating stitches that nestle in together in alternation with one another. If you need a crash course in the linen stitch, be sure to check out my last post!

But now that we know the basics, what can you do with the linen stitch? *rubs hands eagerly together* Lots of things! It's great for variegated yarns, handspun yarn, stashbusting, planned color pooling, big yarns, little yarns, marling (multiple yarn strands), MIXING yarns - you can work it flat in a rectangle, in a triangle, in the round ... the possibilities are endless!

Let's have some examples, shall we?

Planned Color Pooling

Happy Argyle Scarf, Planned Color Pooling

Isn't it amazing!? It's SUCH a cool technique! It does take patience, and you do have to have the right type of yarn, but it's definitely a neat skill to learn. You can read more about how I made this scarf here and if you'd like to make your own, be sure to look for a yarn that is dyed with even lengths of color repeats. It's easiest to find and see this in hand-dyed yarn that is sold in a hank (a big loop). This yarn is Alumco by Araucania, and I've also used Malabrigo Silky Merino, but I'm not sure they still dye the colorways that can be used for planned color pooling. It turned out beautifully, but it was EXTRA hard because some of the color segments were super short. It did turn out gorgeous, though! You can read about it here. I've also used striped sock yarn and THAT turned out super cool (read more here):

Planned color pooling with self-striping sock yarn.

There are actually a whole lot more yarn options for this technique than there used to be, because the technique has become more well known and widely taught. You can find lots of videos and resources online now as well as entire lists of yarns that can be used!

But I'm in danger of falling down the color pooling rabbit hole here, so... next!

Triangle Shapes

Now, what if you have a variegated yarn that is NOT dyed with a consistent repeating color sequence? Or what if you hate color pooling and want to break it up? Then it's time for triangles! Or any asymmetric shape, really. Here we have my Sweet Carolina Shawl (it uses the linen stitch AND marling!), which is worked from the bottom up in an even sided triangle shape:

Sweet Carolina Shawl, Linen Stitch + Marling

Now this is using speckled yarns, so you wouldn't see a great deal of color pooling with this yarn anyway, but choosing a shape that is not worked with the exact same number of stitches in each row (like a rectangle) will help to break up and spread apart the sections of the yarn that are most likely to pool. You may still get some small clumping together of colors, but it should be more evenly dispersed.

Linen Stitch in the Round

Now THIS is one of my very favorite designs because it's so great for minis or leftover bits and bobs! I originally designed the Specklewerk Cowl using a set of speckled minis, but I've also made it (in varying sizes) with my own handspun yarn as well as leftovers from other projects.

Specklewerk Cowl, Linen Stitch in the Round

You can take a look at some of my other versions of this, as well as see what others have made, in the project gallery on Ravelry!

Stashbusting with the Linen Stitch

Now this is a fun thing to do, and I'm actually working on a blanket right now that will eventually become a pattern I can release, but it's a BLANKET and I'm soooo slow with blankets! I get distracted too easily by other shiny yarns and ideas...

The great thing about stashbusting with this stitch is that you can mix and match your yarn sizes and really play around with texture because it has an almost woven quality to the fabric that allows the stitches to flex and fill in spaces and settle into each other in a really beautiful organic way. I've made several blankets (and started but not yet finished several others) and even a few scarves like this. You can hold two (or more) strands of yarn of different sizes together for a little marling. You can use up leftover amounts of yarn in slightly varying sizes using the three color change technique (I should probably do a post about that, eh?). Or you can take all of your leftover sock/worsted/whatever yarn and make a project out of that! Only have 100 grams? Make a small cowl. 400 grams or so? Scarf! Endless drawer or closetfulls? Blanket!

Here's a scarf I made using the leftovers from my James River Wrap, which was worked lengthwise for nice long stripes!

James River Scrappy Scarf, Linen Stitch + 3 color change method

And here's one of those blankets I started ages ago and still haven't finished yet, but it's using all sorts of different yarns marled together with the linen stitch, including boucle!

Scrapbusting with the Linen Stitch and Marling

Look at all those different yarns! I should really get back to that. I do love using up some of my old stash yarns! But I also kind of hate working with boucle yarns... It's a dilemma.

So. I know I've thrown a bunch of different ideas at you, and really, there are so many more! I haven't designed a top using the linen stitch yet, but it's coming! Eventually. I have a sketch and notes for one stashed away ... somewhere. Maybe in my notebook that's supposed to hold such ideas? If you're not overwhelmed, though, and are excited to try some linen stitch but you're not ready to dive into a project without a plan, here's a gallery of my designs that feature the linen stitch!

Some of these you've already seen here in the lists above, some of them only include the linen stitch for part of the design, and some of them are available for free right here on my website. All links in the gallery go to Ravelry, though, so you can take a look at those project galleries!

Hmm, there's even more proof here of my love affair with the linen stitch than I realized there would be. Well, at least the evidence supports my claim! I hope you're half as inspired by the linen stitch as I clearly am. What's the first thing you're going to go make??

OH! I KNEW I was forgetting something! You can ALSO use your glorious handspun and make a tapestry!! Like this one I made for a dear friend that was also featured in the Summer 2021 issue of Spin Off magazine. Huzzah! So in love with the linen stitch. Here's the link.

Now. Go have fun with the linen stitch!


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