Lovely Linen Stitch

The Rock Quarry Stole

Some knitting stitches are so easy to work that you can just merrily go along your way, not thinking too much, and sometimes not even looking.

Some stitches are one step up from that, easy once you get into the rhythm, and you have to pay a teeny bit of attention to what you’re doing.

Then there are the stitches that take concentration and effort—like intricate lace or cable patterns—but even those stitches can become easier as the work progresses.

Linen stitch is one of my favorite stitches, and it falls in the second category for me; I need to get into the rhythm of the stitch before I can start knitting while watching TV or talking with my friends at knit night.

The linen stitch is a combination of knits, purls, and slipped stitches. The resulting fabric looks like, you guessed it—the weave that’s unique to linen. The key to this is how the yarn is held when stitches are slipped. On the knit side, you hold the yarn in the back when you slip the stitch, and on the purl side, you hold the yarn in front when you slip the stitch.

This stitch is reversible, too, even though the front and back sides look completely different. The front, or knit, side looks like linen, and the back, or purl, side looks like seed stitch. Linen stitch lays flat, so there’s no curling to deal with, like there is in sockinette stitch. The stitch is also really dense, so it’s perfect for wraps, scarves, or other forms of outerwear. It’s also great for placemats and washcloths, since it’s flat and sturdy.

The Rock Quarry Stole, featuring the linen stitch, is one of those pieces that you’ll want to wear all winter. It’s warm, beautiful, and, once you get going, an easy knit.

Edging detail, Rock Quarry Stole

The stole is knit in linen stitch with a lacy edging that’s highlighted with bobbles.

Teresa Gregorio was inspired by the site of her upcoming wedding: “This design was inspired by the historic home where I will be getting married this October. It’s a neoclassical nineteenth-century mansion, set in the middle of a fifteen-hundred-acre piece of land that hugs a river and is covered with swaths of Carolinian forest and tall, stately pine trees.”

Here’s how to work the linen stitch:

Linen Stitch: (odd number of sts)

Row 1 (RS) *P1, sl1 wyb (with yarn in back); rep from * to last st, p1.
Row 2 K1, *k1, sl1 wyf (with yarn in front); rep from * to last 2 sts, k2.
Rep Rows 1 and 2 for patt.

I love how linen stitch looks, but I have to make a few adjustments when I do the stitch because I tend to knit it too tight. You can see what I mean in the photo at left. My swatch is pretty tight!

And can you spot the mistake where the arrow is? I accidentally purled instead of slipping. This is something that I have to be aware of when knitting linen stitch. When working on the right side, you knit one, slip one with yarn in front. This movement is just like k1, p1 ribbing, or seed stitch. The muscle memory in my hands really wants to purl the stitch instead of slipping it! So I have to be careful at first; I got into the slip stitch rhythm within a few rows, though.

Start your linen stitch adventure with our Rock Quarry Stole Kit! You’ll get three skeins of Imperial Yarn Erin in beautiful pearl gray, plus a copy of Interweave Knits Fall 2014, in which the pattern appears.

Get your Rock Quarry Stole Kit today!


P.S. What linen stitch projects have you knitted? Tell us about them in the comments.





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