Friday, August 24, 2007

Dating Linen

Yes, "dating" as in "I've been going on a lot of dates with linen."

For years I've bought a ball or ten of every linen yarn I find, especially if it's 100% linen. I've always planned to blog about crocheting with each of them. The first two photos show the tip o' the iceberg of my stash of 100% linen yarns (1) and threads (2). The 3rd photo shows some blends containing a high amount of linen.
I had a crush on linen long before we started dating because....how about a list?

Linen, How Do I Love Thee?
Thou art 1) an amazing fiber resulting from
2) putting a special plant (flax) through a
3) remarkable process.
4) Crocheting thee is a unique experience and
5) creates an heirloom-quality piece. Truly heirloom! Linen is so durable that it beautifies with age and handling. Machine washing and drying improves its softness and sheen.

6) How wondrously ancient thou art, bringing to my crochet an authentic, timeless, organic, and sometimes earthy look and feel. Even in this 21st century I feel a connection with the earliest fiberfolk thanks to linen. Its personality is detectable even when boldly color-saturated, blended, or has fancy finishes.

7) Linen and crochet are soulmates. The stunning virtuosic heights to which crochet stitches can climb are augmented by linen, and linen's exceptional qualities are showcased by crochet. They see eye to eye and they're capable of the same scale of exquisiteness. These two are distinguished peers and best friends.

It's the ultimate love story: two lovers are separated by a powerful upstart competitor (cotton) through a twist of fate (the cotton gin). Linen languishes for over a century, awaiting the return of its true love Crochet to its strong yet lithe, warm yet breathably cool embrace.

Rose-tinted glasses off: not all linen yarns show the above listed traits. Also, even top quality linen is not easy to get to know! Cottons and acrylics have come to dominate a crocheter's experience, and now that linen is marketed as a luxury fiber in competition with silk and cashmere, linen is often the odd man out. So I plan to blog about my experiences with different linen yarns.

If cotton hadn't come to dominate the plant fiber scene, I'm sure linen wouldn't seem like such a tall, dark, mysterious stranger. (Well, it will always be very tall--try comparing the staple lengths of linen vs. cotton!) After a long cotton detour, getting reacquainted with linen takes time and commitment. Or blogging?