The ATX Linen Tote & Louet’s Euroflax Sport

I have a habit of saving my favorite things and not using them. My husband actually had to have a small intervention with me because he would buy my favorite foods and I would save them until they expired. The same is sometimes true of yarn and although I’ve gotten much better about knitting and spinning my favorites first, old habits die hard.

I’ve long admired Louet’s Euroflax Sport. When I first started knitting I was totally smitten with this yarn, but in my newbie knitter mind it was on a pedestal — very fancy and something to look forward to using when I was more skilled. I would go into shops and touch this gorgeous wet spun linen and I would longingly think, “Someday.” At long last, that day finally came at the end of May when along with the June Spinzilla Pack (if you haven’t yet, you can read my review of the pack here) I received a couple skeins of Euroflax Sport and a new exclusive pattern from the awesome folks at Louet. Finally, this yarn was in my hands and I had to knit it right away. No excuses!

The ATX Linen Tote by Staci Perry of   v e r y p i n k  is as complete as they come when it comes to patterns. Clearly written and with a five-part video tutorial, this pattern is very accessible to knitters of almost any skill level. I found it a fun and easy summer knit and did the bulk of this project in the car to and from our exciting family vacation to Minnesota.

As you can see, car knitting…

IMG_9730And I finished up while relaxing at home…

IMG_9737As I said, the perfect summer knitting. Simple, but fun. Stripes are always fun, aren’t they? Especially when they are as cool as this!

I loved working with the Euroflax Sport. I’d say it was worth the wait, but really the sentiment I wish to convey is that I shouldn’t have waited this long to knit with it. It’s a very high quality linen and knits up like one. There was no splitting, even with the lace tips I used which  is pretty awesome. The most spectacular thing about this yarn, however, is when you wash it. I machine washed the bag on gentle and even ran it through the dryer on low or air fluff which in and of itself is wonderful in its magnificent low-maintence way. When it came out of the wash, though, oh my! How soft! It washes up beautifully — I am so impressed!

My bag was knit using the Burgundy and Sunset colorways, the latter being a new color this year.

ATXtoteReally, could it be any more summery?

atx detaThe stripes were SO fun — I love the progression from dark to light.

atx fullI shortened the strap just a bit because I plan to carry it over the shoulder instead of cross-body as the pattern shows. I also did a single crochet edge as suggested in the pattern notes. It gives the linen a very nice finished edge and I’d highly recommend that finishing touch. You can see my pattern notes on Ravelry here for the details.

All in all, I’m of the opinion that this ATX Tote is pretty much the ultimate in cute, grab a book and some knitting park/beach bag. If you’re dying to cast on, this pattern is currently only available with the purchase of the yarn. The great news is that with the purchase of 2 skeins of Euroflax Sport online from Louet you can just use the coupon code VPEUROFLAX when you checkout and you’ll get the pattern… for free! The pattern is also available from preferred Louet dealers listed on the pattern’s Ravelry page.

If this bag isn’t your cup of tea, I’d still like to suggest that you don’t wait too long to try out this fabulous linen. It would make a fantastic garment or shawl — in fact, Louet came out with a lovely collection this spring which is full of great ways to use this awesome yarn. Whatever you do, don’t put off trying Euroflax Sport too long. Trust me, you’ll regret it!

Tipping Point

I proved something to myself this week. The tipping point from feeling stalled to really starting to cruise on a sweater is not inconsequential. Two weeks ago I was starting over on my Kit Camisole thanks to sizing and gauge issues. Eight or nine days ago I had barely gotten beyond the linen stitch edge at the bottom and the ‘What was I thinking when I started this project?‘ internal interrogations began. Six days ago I literally thought I might not survive this project. Last night I joined what might be my final skein and started in on the linen stitch at the bust.20130608-081515.jpgI kind of can’t believe it.

So how did this happen? A large part was the playdate/sit & knit I went on with my daughter on Monday. It got me through the hardest middle part of this project &  f i n a l l y  let me hit my stride. Another key, is that with my kids’ school year ending I have had to switch my exercise routine from midday to evening. Now instead of winding down when I tuck my little ones in for the night, I have just gotten home from a workout and am completely wired. I end up awake for hours, clicking away late into the night. This last part is great for knitting progress, not so awesome when I have to wake up in the morning. I am hopeful my body will settle on a slightly earlier bedtime sooner than later, but for the time being I am pretty excited to have made such good progress on this project. I no longer have nightmares of finishing this beautiful linen camisole just in time for the first frost of fall. No, I will get some good wear out of it this summer. The fact that I can barely wait to do so further drives progress. What a great cycle to be stuck in!

I have opted to knit my Kit Camisole at a slightly tighter gauge, so I have had to make a couple minor modifications. Namely I had to add some length to the main body. I didn’t overthink this too much as the fit is meant to be quite loose. Once I completed the decreases I used the schematic to calculate how short I was on the overall body length. Knowing the linen stitch at the bust was to start 1.5″ short of the 17.5″ of total body length I was supposed to have, I just knit even until I was at about 16″ — in my case that was an extra 12rounds. I may throw in a little extra on the 1.5″ of linen stitch for good measure, but we’ll see what it looks like when I get there. I like longer, tunic-length shirts, so I would rather go a bit long than a bit short.

I have indeed been using my Heidi & Lana stitch markers.

20130608-090317.jpgI came across Heidi & Lana stitch markers last year while holiday shopping & along with giving them as gifts I have managed to get myself completely hooked on them. Not literally, because they are really & truly 100% snag-free, but… well, you know what I mean. They are pretty without getting in the way while I knit and come in perfect size ranges and they’re snag-free. I can’t really ask for anything else in a stitch marker!

I checked in at the Heidi & Lana Etsy Shop and there wasn’t a ton up there. I know the owner Margaret recently opened up a brick & mortar shop, so I’m not sure if she intends to keep up with the Etsy one or can still do custom orders — I sent an email asking, but it was pretty short notice for this post, so I’ll let you know when I hear back. In the meantime, if you find yourself in the Sebring, Ohio area go visit Heidi & Lana — it looks like a super cute shop & there are always lovely ideas posted up on their Facebook page. I wish I could visit!

Unfortunately the 9hour drive to Heidi & Lana is not on my agenda for this weekend, but attempting to finish up my Kit Camisole is. Did I mention I’ve already cast-on another project? Yeah, that happened in one of the darker moments of Kit knitting. It is the Midnight Shrug by Carol Feller & I am knitting it in Sweet Georgia Superwash DK in the Riptide colorway.

20130602-162025.jpgAfter a few bumps in the road to start (I’ll explain more later…), it is coming along just swimmingly. The yarn is absolutely dreamy & the pattern is turning out quite nicely. I was strong though and put it on hold now that I am moving forward so well on Kit. Sometimes it is so hard to be me, having to choose between two such lovely projects… It’s one burden I hope to bear for many years to come.