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Wet Coast Wools Podcast Episode 100!

June 19, 2020

Wet Coast Wools Podcast Episode 100!

Welcome to all our new and returning viewers! We are coming to you via Zoom, from Vancouver and Naramata!

Visit us online at www.wetcoastwools.com! We are WetCoastWools on all the things.
Glenda is glendamcdonald on Instagram, and Glenda on Ravelry
Kelsey is fiddlebach and Kzipknits on both instagram and Ravelry

Time Stamps:
FOs: 00:05:06:05
WIPS: 00:26:39:18
Know Your Wool: 00:48:47:19
Store News: 01:07:31:22

Finished Objects

Glenda:

Kelsey:

Stash Dash Totals:
Glenda - 6,223m
Kelsey - 2,769m

Works in Progress

Glenda:

  • Wooly Cuddle Bomber by Heidi May, knit in Katia Montana, in Brown

  • Cuff down socks in Patons Kroy Sock in Green Striped Ragg. I had most of one sock finished, but it was with 68 stitches, and I decided that was just too big and started over.

Kelsey:

  • Raglan Sweater knit in Katia Merino Aran, I am not using a pattern exactly. I compared three different raglans I already had patterns for and chose numbers based on my gauge and the size of sweater I am hoping to achieve (something that will fit an 8.5 year old and last him a couple winters!).

  • Magpie Tendency by Ellie Alexander Loomis, knit in K-Zip Knits Garibaldi Sock Grimace and a “whoops” set of two skeins for the main body.

Know Your Wool - Linen

Linen comes from the Flax plant - it is the fine fibres just under the outer bark of the stalk. To reach this fibre, you have to rot (and therefore soften) the outer layers - either by water or with the use of the chemicals - and then manually separate the layers of the stalk.

Linen has been used in textiles for centuries - pieces of dyed linen fabric have been found in caves in the Republic of Georgia, dating back to 36,000 years ago. Egyptian mummies were wrapped in Linen fabric; by the Middle Ages, Linen was cultivated and being made into clothing and textiles throughout Europe.

Linen is a very labour-intensive fibre. The plant takes 100 days to grow, and does not do well in hot weather. It then has to be pulled from the ground with the roots attached (as opposed to being cut) so that the sap remains in the plant. To remove the outer bark, the stalks must be rotted - a process called ‘retting’. If this is not done properly (ie: too much or too little retting), the linen fibre can be damaged in the removal process. In modern times, retting is usually done with chemicals; before machinery, the plants were left to rot in a wet field, or they were soaked in ponds or streams for a week or more.

The linen fibres are now separated by machinery, which crush the stalks and separate the linen fibres from the rest of the plant. Before the machines existed, this was all done by hand - there is a whole series of giant combs and boards that you have to pull bundles of flax stalks through, until you can finally separate the higher quality fibres from the remainder of the plant. https://ulsterlinen.com/flax-to-linen/ has a good description of these steps, complete with little drawings of the different tools used.

Once the fibres are separated, they can be spun into yarn and then woven or knit into fabric.

Characteristics of Linen:

  • Flax is a bast species, which means that the fibres are composed of a large number of tiny cells compacted together to form a single fibre. The fibres are from 12 to 24 inches in length, and are cylindrical, smooth, and semi-transparent. They have slight swellings, or ‘nodes’ along their length, which helps them cling together once they are spun together. The smoothness and transparency of the linen fibres give it a subtle lustre, or shine.

  • As a fabric, linen is usually breathable and cool to the touch. The fabric is smooth and lint-free, and softens the more that it is washed. It has poor elasticity, which is why it creases easily.

  • Linen resists heat and sunlight better than cotton because the fibres do not break down with exposure to the sun. This is why linen fabric is popular for curtains and upholstery. Linen is also better at absorbing water (it can absorb 20% of its own weight in water), and then releasing it through evaporation, making it great for things like summer clothing and for bed sheets.

  • When knitting with linen yarns, keep in mind that the lack of elasticity may make your hands hurt if you knit for long periods of time (This can be affected by the type of spin in the yarn you are using). The fabric will shrink initially, so please wash your swatch!! Linen yarns can feel quite stiff in the beginning, but they will soften with washing. You can generally put linen garments in the washer and dryer, but I would suggest cold water and low dryer temperatures. To prevent wrinkles, take the garment out of the dryer while it is still a little damp, and lay it flat to finish drying.

  • You can find pure linen yarns, as well as blends with cotton, wool, and other fibres. Pure linen yarns tend not to stay nicely in their ball - just ask Kelsey!

  • Don’t use it for anything that requires stretch. Linen drapes, and that’s about it.

  • Some people find that bamboo or wood needles are easier to use with linen yarn

  • It can be very hard on your hands to try and knit linen tightly. The lack of elasticity in the fibre means it works better at a slightly loose gauge. But this is totally up to you.

  • Try not to join new balls of yarn mid-row; if you are knitting in the round, knit the new and old strands together for a few stitches, leaving about 4” tails on either side. Then use duplicate stitch to weave in your ends later. If the yarn is plied, I will often separate the plies on the tails and weave each one in individually.

Store News:

Our storefront is open again! We have implemented some new guidelines, which I will be posting on our website. Here are the essentials:

  • Please do not come in if you are sick, even if you do not have Covid. If any of us get sick with anything, we cannot come to work. Please respect our health by not coming in if you are feeling at all unwell.

  • Only 2 people in the shop at one time. As you come in, please check with staff to see if you can come in - or just take a quick look to see if there are other people already there. Please don’t linger if there are other people waiting. You can ‘pre-shop’ on the website to get an idea of what you might be interested in - that way you can be more efficient on the busier shopping days.

  • We are only having 1 staff member at a time, so please be respectful of their time. They can’t offer hands-on help (we cannot touch your yarn or needles) but we can give advice, time permitting. If you need detailed help, please email us

  • Please use hand sanitizer when you come in, and only touch things you might buy

  • From 11am to Noon on weekdays, we are open only to Seniors and those with Health Concerns.

Our online shop is still open for store pick ups; we have shifted our ‘Free Shipping’ minimum to $75 now that the store has reopened. If you want to pick up your order, we will email you when it is ready. Please come between Noon and 5:30pm on weekdays, and by 4:30pm on weekends.

Podiversary Prize Winner:
Our previous winner did not claim her prize by June 10th, so we have picked a new winner! Please contact us to collect your prize.

Thanks to TimberYarns for donating the prize of a Skein of Timber Yarns Twin Sock in Oh Canada! and a matching mini skein!

WCW Bingo-A-Long 2020

Next month is July, which is Finish a Winter Item in July Month!

  • The item can be a decoration or holiday themed item for any December/early January holiday (not Halloween)

  • It can also be a gift for someone, provided you are gifting it for that holiday. December Birthdays don’t count!

  • You have to finish the item in July, but you can have started it whenever (so get started now!) If you are doing multiple bingo boards, you need to finish all your winter items in July!

WCW Virtual Knit Groups

These are being held on Monday Nights from 7:00pm to around 8:00pm, and on Thursday Mornings from 11:30am to about 1:30pm. Look for the Zoom meeting links in our ravelry
group. Everyone is welcome to join!

July is our vacation time, so it may be a while until our next episode. Happy Knitting everyone!