Question: I have struggled with biasing with linen in stocking stitch, and this seems to get worse with repeated washing. Do you have any advice on how to best use this interesting yarn!
Biasing does seem to be an issue with plant fibres so patterns designed with these fibres in mind need to take into account the possibility of biasing. As you said, it particularly shows up with stocking stitch over large areas, especially if knitting in the round. If you're knitting a garment, it's advisable to knit in pieces and sew up afterwards, rather than knit in one piece. Having said that, I have knitted several garments in 100% linen top down in one piece and many of them don't bias, usually because there is some other stitch than stocking stitch which breaks up the tendency to bias, eg lace stitch or slip stitch patterns. Sometimes you only have to have a row or two of garter stitch to stop it wanting to bias. I'm guessing some linen yarns may bias more than others, depending on how it's been spun and plied. We have our yarn plied on a low twist to try and avoid this. Another thing that may add to biasing is how the yarn is wound from a skein. I've read that it is better to wind into a ball than use a ball winder. If you do use a ball-winder, knit from the outside of the cake, rather than the middle. Knitting from a centre pull cake in linen tends to add more twist. I can't claim to have a definitive answer to the issue of biasing, but hope this helps a little. Diane.