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Focus on Fiber: Silk
Pilling and loose shaping on my silk jumper
Years ago, I chose some 100% silk as the yarn for the first garment that I'd ever designed myself. It had a soft sheen and was smooth to the touch and I had in mind a long-sleeved top, fitted at the waist and body hugging.
I found out too late that there's a reason '100% silk' and 'body-hugging' aren't often used together in the same sentence.
The finished fabric stretched, both sideways and lengthways, and there was no elasticity to pick up any of the slack. My imagined figure-hugging top hung from my body, while the waist-shaping flaired out unattractively somewhere around the mid-hip level!
How did it go so wrong? Silk fibers are long, smooth and there's no crimp in the fibers to give spring or elasticity. And, unlike wool, there no scales even to provide friction against their neighboring fibers. When you knit with silk you have to take into account that it will drape and stretch with gravity, and stay stretched.
I had also hoped that it would be a garment that I could wear regularly, but I didn't know that although silk is strong - in that you can't easily break it - it is not very durable, in that it can snag and pill easily (take a look at the picture).
It was an expensive way to learn that I had to know my fiber to know how best to design with it.
New Yarn Review: Artesano Yarns Alpaca Silk 4-ply
Artesano Alpaca Silk 4-ply
Artesano Yarns Alpaca Silk has an attractive sheen and its soft feel doesn't disappoint either. The knitted fabric is fine and drapey, while the alpaca/silk combination produces a warm, insulating fabric. Simple cables look elegant, lace patterns show off the delicate haze, but knit and purl texture patterns are lost as the purl stitches relax back into the fabric, due to the lack of elasticity and bounce in the alpaca and silk fibers.
The yarn is soft and not prickly against the skin and would make a graceful shawl or cardigan to layer on as the colder weather arrives.
November's New and Discontinued Yarns
Kimera - 100% Cotton - Sportweight
Bergère de France
Miroir - 41% Acrylic, 41% Superwash Wool, 18% Polyester - Worsted - Sequinned
Coraline - 100% Corriedale Wool - Bulky/Chunky
Main Line - 75% Cotton, 25% Merino Wool - Aran weight
KFI Indulgence Cashmere - 70% Merino, 25% Nylon, 5% Cashmere - Sportweight
Ice Cream - 100% Acrylic - Sportweight
Phil Nounours - 100% Nylon - Super bulky/Super chunky - Faux fur
Brimfield - 70% Merino Wool, 30% Silk - Worsted
Mosaic - 100% Acrylic - Aran
Arenas - 53% Superwash Wool, 47% Acrylic - Super Bulky/Super Chunky - Thick and Thin
Astrakan - 46% Superwash Wool, 54% Acrylic - Super Bulky/Super Chunky - Fuzzy
Kaya - 67% Merino Superwash Wool, 33% Alpaca - Aran
Taiyo Lace - 50% Cotton, 17% Wool, 17% Nylon, 16% Silk - Laceweight - Single ply
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