“I find it incredibly amazing how at every sunset, the sky is a different shade. No cloud is ever in the same place. Each day is a new masterpiece. A new wonder. A new memory.” –Sanober Khan

The linen stitch wrap is done. Knitted, bound off, unraveled, cut, twisted, blocked, photographed. Finished.

Inspired by the colors of sunset one evening last July, from our camp in Alburgh:

I used seven colors of Koigu Premium Painters Palette Merino, graded and blended. The result is a bit more firey than the original inspiration, but I'll take it.

It's a generous wrap, nearly 6 feet long including fringe, almost 18 inches deep, soft and supple with a lovely drape.

The particulars: Koigu Premium Painters Palette, 100% merino, fingering weight. Colors 1002, P470 in two very different dye lots, 0007 dyed specifically for WEBS, P621, another skein whose label went astray, and finally a bit of a seventh skein, also missing its label. US #8 (5 mm) circular needle.

Cast on 10 stitches, place marker, cast on 350 stitches, place marker, cast on 10 stitches. Join in round. Work the central panel of 20 stitches in stockinette (knit every round), work the other 350 stitches in linen stitch. (For directions on how to work linen stitch in the round, see here.) When you change colors, make the change half way across the stockinette section (10 stitches).

Work each color until about 5 grams of yarn remain, then alternate the old color with the next color two rounds each for several rounds, then work the new color alone. Repeat this process until the wrap is the depth you want, or you have run out of yarn (be sure to reserve enough yarn for the bind-off!).

***For a detailed description, including photos and video, of the bind-off, unraveling, and fringe-twisting, see my blog post ON THE FRINGE.*** 

In short, bind off entire linen stitch section (taking care to keep the bound-off edge neither too loose not too tight but just right; compare it frequently with cast-on edge), but DO NOT bind off stockinette section. Rather, after binding off the linen stitch section, pull the needle out of the live stockinette stitches. Do not worry, this is safe! Knit stitches unravel vertically, not horizontally, so the bound-off section will NOT unravel. Now, let the stockinette stitches drop, all of them, and completely; the wool does not really want to unravel, so you will have to help them along.

Linen stitch section bound off, stockinette section unraveled and ready to cut

HINT: before you remove the circular needle, thread a tapestry needle with some scrap yarn and run it vertically through the first and last columns of stitches at the edges of the linen stitch section. This will define the edges for you when unravelling the stockinette section.

Once all the stockinette stitches are unraveled, stretch them out and cut the strands down the middle, forming a lot of very curly fringe. (You may want to wet down the fringe, pull the strands straight, and let them dry before continuing as the fringe will be much easier to work with if you unkink it first.) Using a handy fringe twister, clamp two strands in each jaw, rotate the twister, then unclamp, knot, and release the fringe. (See here and here for a video demonstration.)

The fringe, cut and curly. I prefer to wet the fringe to relax it so that it is easier to twist.

Soak the wrap in a bowl of cool water with a small bit of wool wash. When the work is thoroughly soaked, gently press out the excess water, bundle the wrap into a large, thirsty towel and squeeze out more water, then carefully lay the wrap out flat on a large surface (a bed mattress works well). NOTE: Always pick up the wet wrap in a ball, never lift from one end only! Gently pat the wrap to shape and leave until completely dry.

Finally, wrap the wrap around yourself and enjoy.