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Reader Advisory: we didn’t put Wendy Johnson up to this. We’ve been following her blog, Wendy Knits, for donkey’s years, and we know that Wendy is a knitter who knows her own mind. Of course we were intrigued when she ordered up 30 mini-skeins of Euroflax Sport Weight Linen, but we didn’t hold our breath. Maybe she was just looking at it—we’ve certainly been known to do that when we’ve got some pretty skeins to pet. We were delighted, then, and surprised, to learn that Wendy had an immediate plan for her minis. We asked her to tell the tale. It’s a two-parter. Enjoy. 

—Ann and Kay

I love linen. I love linen clothing, linen towels, and linen bedding. I estimate that at least 50 percent of my work wardrobe is linen. I have 100-year-old antique hand-embroidered French linen sheets and pillowcases on my bed. Yet I had never knit with linen yarn.

Until this past summer.

A few months ago, I discovered here on Modern Daily Knitting the Euroflax Super Mega Bundle: a set of 30 mini-skeins of sport weight linen yarn. I am a sucker for mini-skeins and I am a sucker for linen, so of course I had to have it. I ordered the set, my mini-skeins arrived, and I spent some time blissfully arranging and rearranging them, all the while thinking “What shall I knit?”

I am a yarn collector. I have a number of sets of mini-skeins that I cannot bring myself to knit up because they look so darn pretty in the skein. But given my love for linen, I really wanted to finally knit with linen yarn. Louet Euroflax Sport Weight has been around forever, and I actually have over 2,000 yards of the “Olive” shade in deep stash. I have no recollection of how long it has been marinating there, but it had not yet floated to the top of my “must knit” list. I think I must have purchased it on sale and squirreled it away for future reference.

I did not want my shiny new set of linen mini-skeins to end up the same way, so I set to winding each skein into a ball. (All by hand, because these little suckers are slippery!)

Because I had so many glorious colors, I wanted to use them all, in something stripy. I ordered four full-sized skeins of Euroflax in black to use as my background color, still with no firm idea of what I was going to knit. But I started with a wee swatch.

With Ravelry as my guide, a U.S. size 4 needle seemed like a good starting point. Soon I had a stockinette swatch with 2-row stripes of color.

I am a process knitter, always drawn to yarn with a delightful hand feel, so the stiff, twine-like feel of linen was a bit of a shock. Quite a departure from the soft merino and sproingy Cormo that I love.

I tossed my swatch in the washer and dryer with a load of laundry and was very pleasantly surprised at the transformation the little square went through. So soft! So drapey!

My first thought for a pattern was a shawl or wrap, but I tend only to want to wear shawls and wraps in the winter and then of course I want them to be wooly and warm. A sweater or jacket seemed far more practical.

As is often the case, when I visualize the project I want my yarn to become, a pattern that matches my visualization does not exist. I decided I wanted a loose-fitting kimono-style jacket done in alternating stripes of color and black, with front bands and edgings done in black. That’s easy enough: a rectangle for the back, two rectangles for the two side fronts, with a bit of shaping at the top of each to shape the neckline, and a rectangle for each sleeve. I’d join the fronts to the back via a three-needle bind-off, then pick up stitches along each outer edge and knit the sleeves down from the top. Then pick up and knit front bands and a neckband.

So . . . a striping pattern. I wanted something a little more interesting than just two-row stripes, alternating with black. Then it hit me: a mitered square! Make the back a mitered square, the front half squares that mirror each other. I’d keep the sleeves just plain back-and-forth stripes.

Now I just have to knit the thing. The mini-skeins are calling to me!

Is the suspense killing you? We’ll let you in on a secret: the kimono is finished, and it’s spectacular. Stay tuned for Part II!

About The Author

Wendy Johnson is the beloved author of the blog Wendy Knits, one of the first knitting sites. In a never-ending stream of skill and speed, Wendy dazzles readers with her feats of knitting, start to finish. She is a prolific designer of patterns that play with traditional methods, motifs, and materials. To look at her patterns is to enter a gorgeous world where intricate Fair Isle and elegant lace are everyday fare. She is the author of four books: Socks from the Toe Up: Essential Techniques and Patterns; Toe-Up Socks for Every Body: Adventurous Lace, Cables, and Colorwork; Wendy Knits Lace: Essential Techniques and Patterns for Irresistible Everyday Lace, and Wendy Knits: My Never-Ending Adventures in Yarn. Wendy lives near Washington, DC, where her cat Loki is frankly the star of the show. 


  • “I actually have over 2,000 yards of the “Olive” shade in deep stash.“…LOL, of course it is Olive!! Can’t wait to see the finished kimomo!

  • I’ve been contemplating what to do with my mini skein set so I’m very happy to see this post – and am anxiously awaiting the next one. The teaser photo looks fab.

  • I have never knit with linen either but every summer I think I should. This year I took advantage of an LYS yarn sale and stashed away enough linen for a tank top to start next spring. Color: olive.

  • I’m fascinated to see what pattern Wendy comes up with. I do have a suggestion though, why not swatch with the Olive as the neutral to all the colors? Could be an interesting look and not as “expected” as black, plus it would be a Stash Buster. Nothing wrong with “expected”, colors are always gorgeous with black to offset them, but the mix of colors with Olive has my curiosity going. May have to order up some yarn and try it myself.

    • I agree that this is a great idea! The reason I did not consider using my stash of olive linen was because I have enough for a full sweater and I did not want to dip into it in case I found something I want/need to make that takes the whole 2000 yards. I never said my line of reasoning was logical . . .

      • But it is logical.

    • I love this idea. Olive green is one of my favorite “neutrals.” I think it would look smashing with all these colors mashing up against it.

  • I bought the miniskein set. Spectacular colors. So far I’ve made two striped hand towels, which is hopelessly boring! My mother kept saying “that towel should be a shawl.” But they look great in my kitchen and I don’t care. There are plenty of colors left for another project next summer.

  • Can’t wait for Part II. I love Wendy’s work.

  • I believe I have the perfect pattern for linen, Insouciant by Julie Hoover. I’ve knit this pattern three times using various Habu yarns and other odd bits and I think it would work perfectly with linen. The last version was a two-tone baseball shirt (I lengthened the sleeves). It’s a remarkably versatile pattern and the drape of linen will suit it perfectly. Since the sweater is knit in pieces, it’s easy to stripe.
    Joanna Koss

    • Nice! And I have leftovers from my miniskeins . . . .

    • I hadn’t seen Insouciant! You’re right, it’s great for linen and would look fab in stripes.

      Here’s a link:

      • What container was it that you used for keeping the wound up balls of Euroflax?

        I can hardly wait to see the finished product! I hope part 2 will be tomorrow, and not next Monday…

        • My mini-skein container is an acrylic box divided into 24 sections, overall size approx. 18 x 12″. It is meant to be a container/organizer for craft supplies and I probably purchased it from or someplace like that — I’ve had it a while. The sections are the perfect size for holding the mini-balls!

      • Whoa! I just saw almost the same shirt on a co worker today! She is temporary, covering for someone who is out on leave. She was wearing this wonderful shirt, with the fantastic fit. It turns out her mom, who is in her early 90’s, knit it! She herself knits only squares to donate to Project Linus.

  • I know that I am late thanking you for telling about the epic American sessions but my God they were wonderful. I watched parts one and two with no break and I know I will certainly be watching them again in the future. Once again thanks for sharing this.

  • Can’t wait to see the finished sweater!

  • Part TWO??….This is worse than waiting to see who killed J.R. Chloe

  • Oh wait… there’s a sneak-peek picture up top that shows how awesome this jacket will be….sometimes it takes a while for this old brain to put things together.

  • I love linen also! But can I admit to a serious case of Envy on linen sheets? Not to mention a hundred years old and hand-embroidered? Swoon! I look forward to seeing the kimono one of my very favorite sweaters is hand-knit out of linen. The yarn was gifted to me by a very dear friend. Pure Love! The sweater is wonderful!

  • Miters? You’ve gotten me perked up, they are my fav!

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