Linen yarn is a type of yarn spun from the fibers of the flax plant. Garments and accessories made of pure linen yarn are often sturdy, machine-washable, absorbent, cool to the touch, and naturally pill-resistant because the flax fibers are very smooth. However, linen is stiff and sometimes scratchy to the touch, so flax fibers are often blended with other fibers such as cotton, rayon, or wool, although yarns made purely from linen are also available. Linen's strength and durability make this type of yarn a good choice for making housewares or bags, while its cool feel and high absorption rate lend themselves well to crafting garments and accessories meant for warm weather wear.
A common first project for an individual who is just beginning to knit is a hand-knit dishcloth, hand towel, or facecloth. These items are small, making them quick to complete, and square, meaning they don't require any advanced shaping techniques. Linen's high absorption rate and great strength when wet both make it a good choice for crafting a small cloth meant for household use. For the same reasons, linen yarn may be used to crochet decorative and functional beverage coasters that will quickly absorb condensation. Traditionally, the term "linens" specifically refers to textiles that are used around the household, such as bed covers or tablecloths, and linen yarn may also be used to knit or crochet these larger household items.
The durability of linen yarn makes it a very popular choice for making knit or crocheted bags. In particular, knitted or crocheted market bags made from linen will stand up to being filled with many types of grocery items. Often, the stretchy properties of knitted fabric can cause knitted bags made from any type of yarn to develop holes over time, so a bag made from linen yarn may need to be lined with a woven fabric to enhance its sturdiness.
Garments made from linen yarn are often lightweight and cool. Their absorbent properties allow them to wick perspiration away from the skin of the wearer. Therefore, linen yarn is an excellent choice for making knit or crocheted tank tops, tee shirts, and other garments meant for wear during the summer months. Lacy, lightweight shawls, dresses, and skirts may also be crafted from this type of yarn. Often, linen is initially stiff and a bit scratchy to the touch, but repeated washing of a garment made from linen will help the fabric to soften.
Linen yarns are often machine washable and require little in the way of special care. Like most yarns spun from plant fibers, they do not absorb dye as fully as yarns made from animal fibers do, so they are often available in a soft color palette. Both of these properties make linen yarns good choices for making baby clothes, as many mothers prefer to clothe their babies in easy care garments in pastel hues.