Linen seems an appropriate fiber to knit with during the current heatwave we’re experiencing here in Colorado. The swatches below are of the ShiBui Linen that I purchased from The Loopy Ewe a few week ago. From top to bottom: stockinette on size U.S. 4 (3.5 mm) needles; a textured rib pattern also on U.S. size 4 needles; stockinette on size U.S. 5 (3.75 mm) needles. The swatches are stiff and rough, which is typical for 100% linen, but not what I want in a knitted top.
Although the ball band says to hand wash and lay flat to dry, I know that linen gets infinitely softer with machine washing, so I threw these swatches in with a normal load of laundry (color water wash and rinse). I also took a deep breath and put them in the dryer with towels. Ooh, what a difference it made! The stitches tightened up so that I prefer the swatch knitted with size U.S. 5 (3.75 mm) needles.
The next step is to sketch a silhouette and determine the number of stitches and rows necessary to obtain that shape.