I do not waste my time on yarn I do not love. I might make it into pompoms, gift it to someone who does not care, or return it to the manufacturer with a handwritten note explaining my decision. Unloved yarn, like letters from ex-boyfriends, have no place in my home and are not worthy of my time.
Linen used to be one of those fibers I simply could not stand to even look at until someone gifted me some and said to try it. Free or not, it was still not even remotely fun to work with. It tore up my fingernails, dried out my skin and looked like a mess. So, rather than throw it into the compost bin after my first skein of disappointment, I decided to give it one more try because it was from a good friend and I did not want to insult him.
As I was removing the label from the second skein of “Hell in a hank” as I thought of it after two days of disappointing swatches, I noticed there was no stated water temperature above below or near the care label symbol for machine washability. So before I wound the second skein from hank to cake, after removing the paper label, I added a few more pieces of superwash wool to hold the hank in place and decided to test how well it washed. You know those annoying little pieces of yarn that are added to a hank to keep the “0” shape from morphing into yarn barf? Yes, those 3” or so long pieces that are tied around the hank, I added one ever few inches, put the assembly in a delicates’ bag and threw it in the wash, on hot, with a load of towels. Those 12 little pieces of superwash wool saved the day and completely changed my feeling about the linen.
When I removed the hank from the bag after the first wash and dry cycles, it was a little softer so I did it again a few days later with the next load of towels. Three wash and dry cycles after removing the label, a fiber miracle happened – it got softer, like a natural cotton. I was intrigued. The hand did lose some weight in the wash, it was 3% lighter when it came out, so there might have been some shrinkage, I am not sure. The purpose of my test was to save and use the yarn rather than admit defeat and return it to my friend.
The next day it snowed, perfect day to do some Summer swatching, right? As it turned out, yes, it was! The linen was a dream with which to work. I used a Clover Soft Touch hook rather than my beloved Furls and put it through some serious swatching. The results were positive and I have created several different designs using linen since then. So the moral of the story is, sometimes you have to give the yarn a second or eleventh chance, before giving up on it.