In the mean time I made a baby blanket! I found some beautiful linen yarn in an Etsy shop called Linen Spirit, in Lithuania. Alla kindly put together a special listing for me, with the right ply and the right colours and the right quantity that I was after.
As soon as it arrived I was in (linen-yarny-goodness) heaven. Instead of crocheting the 4ply yarn with a small hook, I decided to crochet two balls together and use my 4mm Susan Bates crochet hook. I picked a retro-circles crochet pattern and added a couple of extra 'rounds' to make the squares bigger.
I knew before I started that linen shrinks quite a lot when it's first washed, so I made the edge wider and measured the finished blanket before I washed it, just to see how much it was going to shrink.
Before washing: 75 x 90cm. After washing (and drying in the dryer to make it really-really shrink): 63 x 82(ish)cm. Wowzers. More than I was expecting, but very good to know!
The photo above is a close-up of it before it was washed. It didn't lay flat, every. single. circle. stuck up like a boob. If it were a woven fabric, I'd call it an open-weave and a little stiff, like a heavy drill. I was a little worried it was going to stay like that.
But. Oh, but. A man at Harald's Fabric Shop in Christchurch once told me that the more you wash linen, the softer it gets.
He was right.
Post-washing: All of the circles laid flat - without ironing or blocking. It was no longer an open-weave, all the crocheting was settled and snug with the next loop. It had such beautiful drape to it, like a soft and heavy fabric. The green was still a lush vibrant green, the colours didn't bleed or soak into anything else that went through the wash.
I decided that I absolutely love linen yarn and the way it just 'is'.
The peach linen yarn I used on the back of my hoodie is from the same shop, Linen Spirit, and came in the same package.
As soon as it was done, I packaged this 'baby-blanket-made-with-love' up and sent it through to the UK, where it was warmly received not even a week later.