One of my favourite summer yarns to work with is the gorgeous and rather unique Lincot, from Apple Oak Fibre Works. As the name suggests, Lincot is a blend of linen and cotton - which makes it a durable and delightfully cooling yarn for summer. But aside from this, it has several special features.
Lincot is 'rustically spun' - meaning that the yarn is thick-and-thin, presenting like an old fashioned handspun. It takes colour beautifully, with lots of subtle, rich variations in tone. And when knitted up, it gives the resulting fabric a captivatingly textured look and feel.
The uneven texture of Lincot also has interesting implications for gauge. In meterage, this yarn is a spot-on DK weight, measuring 220m per 100g. However, when it comes to gauge it 'behaves' like a much thicker yarn, and seems to work best in garments when knitted at an aran-weight gauge (of around 17 stitches per 10cm). This makes Lincot an extremely economical yarn! Meaning, you need far less of it than you would an ordinary DK weight yarn. For example: Normally, I need 500g of DK weight yarn to knit a sweater in my size. When using Lincot, I need only 400g.
In my book, all this makes Lincot ideal for basic summer garments. The yarn itself is already interesting, so it works best with simple stockinette designs. It knits up quickly, as you are technically working it above gauge. It feels wonderfully breezy and cooling against the skin. And it is very strong, resulting in durable garments in which you can be free and active.
With all that in mind, I was inspired to design a few simple garments in Lincot for summer. And that was how Rusticana came about. A simple, relaxed sheath dress with a flattering V neckline, I envisioned Rusticana as the sort of garment you might want to live in all season long. And for me, it certainly quickly became a summer uniform. It's a versatile, must-have garment, if I don't say so myself!
But here is the thing, and I am going to be very honest here, which I hope will not be to my detriment: Creating a design and a producing a wearable piece of knitting, are separate processes from publishing a pattern. And while I've been doing the first two for a while, I am still very new to the latter and have a lot to learn about things like timing, effective promotion, and other logistical issues. All that is to say, that I was hoping to publish Rusticana much earlier in the summer, but ran into glitches. Basically: Due to the unusual nature of the yarn, combined with the fact that the design is a dress (and therefore is perceived as a big project) I had a difficult time organising 'pre-knitters' for this pattern. Folks weren't sure about how to handle yarn substitutions, and between trying to address this and dealing with the health setbacks I've had over the past 2 months... well, it is now August! So at this stage I had a choice of putting the pattern on hold until next year, or releasing it. And I've decided to release it. Because really, it's a fun pattern, and would be quick to knit with plenty of time to still wear it in summer weather. To be clear, the pattern is tech edited, and tested in several sizes. There just aren't any examples of 'pre-knitter' projects up on the page.
If you are interested in trying Rusticana, I am making it available for free, for TODAY only (2nd August 2018)! You can download it here and use the code [Edited: thank you everyone; the promotion has now ended] .
Now as far as yarn, and yarn substitutions: Well firstly, the ideal yarn for this pattern is of course Apple Oak Fibre Works Lincot, and I hope you consider supporting this wonderful, talented dyer.
But of course yarn substitutions are also possible, and in fact are pretty straightforward. You can knit Rusticana with either DK or Aran weight yarn. If choosing DK, just be aware the fabric will be quite drapey, as you will be knitting above gauge. If choosing Aran, you will get a typical aran-weight fabric at the stated gauge, but note that you will need more yarn than stated in pattern (I would say 1 extra skein should suffice for most sizes). And of course, if substituting yarn, you do not need to choose plant fibres. You can knit Rusticana as a cold-weather dress in either DK or aran-weight wool.
If you have any questions about yarn substitutions, gauge, and sizing, please feel free to get in touch and I am happy to help.