• Ellen Kardell

Vintage summer yarn review

Katia Linea

Katia has been producing beautiful, fashion-forward, high quality yarns since 1951, when the company opened in Barcelona. Their yarns encompass a full range of fibers, from alpaca to linen, seacell, hemp, wool, viscose and more. They are sold all over the world in fine yarn shops. This yarn was produced around 2010, but appears to not have been widely distributed, given the relatively small number of projects and stashes on Ravelry.

The project

Sample for summer shawl

This is a swatch for a summer wrap (designed, not yet published—coming late June 2020) that I envision being something you'd wear at a nice outdoor beach restaurant in the evening, sipping margaritas while the sun goes down (ahhhh).

Okay, so I live in Missouri, that's not going to happen anytime soon for me, but you can live my dream! The swatch is just 39 stitches wide and about 70 rows long. It measures 21 cm (8.25") wide by 28 cm (11") long and weighs 34 grams (about 70% of one ball). Extrapolate that out to ten balls for a shawl/poncho 15" wide x 55" long, (large size) if my math is right. The pattern will include a smaller size too. It's meant to wrap around the shoulders and button along a few inches of one edge. Picture it with some great shell buttons for a one-of-a-kind summer wrap.

The backstory

When I closed my yarn shop in Berkeley Springs, I held onto this for personal projects. However, the reality is that I have SABLE (Stash Accumulation Beyond Life Expectancy), and I need to let it out into the wide world to be actually used.

Which is why I'm not going to knit my sample garment in this yarn, even though it was inspired by and designed for Liana. I want to make all of the limited amount that I have available to you guys! I'm making my sample in Lion Brand 24/7 Cotton (the swatch is gorgeous, and it's a wonderful alternative yarn). I'm also making one in Euroflax, but with more repeats, and knit on 3.75mm (US5) needles, it's going to take a lot longer.

Find it here, here, and here. I have a few other colors which I'll add to the site this week. Discontinued, so when it's gone, it's gone. If you are looking for something to pair with it, in, for instance, a color-blocked top, Katia's Polynesia would be a good fit. Much more texture, but the same general concept.

What I love about it

  • Gauge: Linea is listed as a dk weight, I have swatched and knit with it using needle sizes from 4mm (US 6) to 5mm (US 8). Depending on your use, I think it works up best on a 4.5mm (US7) needle for the best drape/stitch definition tradeoff.

  • Texture: it's got a great, rustic visual texture that combines matte and shine, and is just slightly thick and thin; the feel is very soft, with incredible drape.

  • Color: the yarn came in a range of natural colors that strongly evoke "beach" to me: dark grey/brown sand, lighter sand, light grey, pale blue and ecru. A few bright colors were produced.

  • Blend: 46% cotton, 32% linen, 22% rayon. The yarn is made up of four strands, each consisting of a rayon strand plied with a thicker cotton/linen strand, resulting in tiny areas of shiny rayon contrasting with thicker matte cotton/linen.

  • Uses: I pulled this out of my inventory because I thought it would be great for the new design I'm working on, a summer wrap in a lace pattern for large needles. I swatched it using 4.5mm and 5.0mm needles, and preferred the drape for the project using the smaller needles. Small is relative though! The finished swatch feels chunky, worked up very quickly, and has a rustic/boho look, yet it has a marvelous, flattering drape due to the weight of the linen. I personally feel that knitted lace is the best use for Liana, and would probably not use it for crochet, unless I was making a basket or bowl and wanted something really sturdy.

Knitting it up

Liana is not difficult to handle, though given the bast/cellulose blend it may be a little harder on your hands than knitting with a stretchy wool. The most important thing—this is a yarn you can not judge until it is blocked; it needs that wet blocking to really show it's stuff. Freshly knit, it looks like funky string, but knit a swatch and block it to see that excellent drape emerge.

What I'm not as crazy about

Ball size: this yarn was put up in 50 gram balls with 87 yards. That means more ends to weave in, more work in finishing. For cotton and linen blends, I like to leave 8" tails and split the ply—at least in half—before weaving the ends back in. In my opinion, a much preferred length would have been 100 grams and 174 yards.

Ravelry yarn page here.

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