Every year as we head into the warmer months, the same question comes up for knitters everywhere: what do I knit in the summer? Even if we knit heavy sweaters year-round (guilty!), another question arises: what do I knit with so I can wear my handknits in the summer?
One answer we have at The Woolly Thistle to both of those questions is Blacker Lyonesse. Blacker Lyonesse is a blend of 50% Falklands wool and 50% linen that comes in both 4-ply (fingering) and DK weights. What you get in the blend is the best of both fibers. The wool adds flexibility, bounce, body, and (some) warmth. The linen adds shine, strength, and coolness.
I swatched with the Blacker Lyonesse 4-ply (190 yards per 50g) in color Quartz. The color is a light tan with a grey heathered fiber. The yarn feels a little grassy and fibrous from the linen, but the wool gives the yarn more give than a 100% linen. It is a 2-ply construction, with a moderate twist, and a surprising roundness given the two plies.
In stockinette, the yarn is smooth and even with strong stitch definition. I got a gauge of 25 stitches and 36 rows per 4 inches on a US 3 (3.25mm), when the ball band recommends 28 stitches and 30 rows for the same needle size. Because it is less fuzzy than a 100% wool, the little gaps between stitches did not fill in much with blocking.
In lace, it is crisp with little to no halo and holds lacework open well without having to block it aggressively. You could push this yarn to a very open lace pattern and still have a sturdy-feeling fabric with little collapsing on itself.
On one half of my texture swatch, the woven stitch (made with slipping stitches with yarn in front), the pattern is very visible and the fabric has little stretch. On the other half, the two braided cables are relatively low relief, but still appear clearly in the fabric. The effect of cables will be more subtle than some wool yarns, but I was actually surprised at how prominent they were, even after wet-blocking.
Blacker Lyonesse has more flexibility of use than some summer yarns that are 100% plant fibers. It maintains some characteristics of the wool while utilizing the best aspects of linen: strength and coolness. I would love to knit a lace shawl in this yarn, but I’d also use it for a summer-weight cardigan, especially in a slip-stitch texture or mosaic colorwork. I’d also love to see how it knit in a spring/fall cabled hat!
|Blacker Lyonesse 4ply Linen/Wool Blend Yarn||Blacker Lyonesse DK Linen/Wool Blend Yarn|
|Buy here||Buy here|
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Kelsey Peterson is a knitter, eager student of yarn construction and sheep breeds, and employee of TWT. She is on Instagram as @kcrp.making and on Ravelry as yellowpaperfish.