Friday, July 19, 2013

What to Make With Silk Yarn!

A comment on my last blog post suggested that I post some patterns using silk.  This is such a wonderful idea that I can't let it go by without doing so!  So here are a few patterns that I think would look great in some of our silk and silk blend yarns.

Let's start with patterns for our 100% silk yarns!

Debbie Bliss Luxury Silk DK (solids) and Silk Print (variegated) are 100% bombyx silk spun into two soft, thick plies.  The softly spun and plied construction of this yarn gives it a truly luxurious feel, like warm butter!


As a quick aside, many people ask me what DK means, it stands for double knit.  On the thickness scale it is a #3, just a bit thinner than worsted (#4) yarn.  I always think of it as about 5 stitches to the inch on a US #6 needle.  The range is more like 5 to 5.5 stitches per inch on a US #5 - #7 needle.

Use this yarn when you want soft drape, higher sheen, and traditional knitted or crocheted look.  This yarn will give soft to medium stitch definition in cables and some elasticity to ribbing.

Debbie Bliss has a book devoted to patterns for this particular yarn, Luxury Silk DK.  We've put together a few kits on our website from this book, you can see them here through our Debbie Bliss Luxury Silk search.

In addition to these kits I we have several individual patterns that would work wonderfully with this yarn.  Knitting Pure & Simple Top Down V Neck Pullover #1303, Neckdown scoop Neck T-Shirt #283, and Basic Shell #997 are all great, simple knits that would let the yarn really shine but are also simple enough that an adventurous knitter could add the lace and/or a cable pattern of their own.
Knitting Pure & Simple #1303

Artyarns also makes a 100% silk yarn called Regal Silk.  This is also a DK weight spun up into a single ply. We have put together a kit for this one too Regal Silk Jewel Kit.  Use this yarn for similar effects as the Luxury Silk but it will have less elasticity and may pill some due to being a single strand, there is less twist to hold the fibers in place.  On the other hand it will block beautifully, maintaining an open work lace pattern.
lovely single strand yarn then hand dyed in one of the gorgeous colorways that Artyarns is so well known for creating. Wendy Bernard designed a fun and easy sleeveless top in Regal Silk that was published in her awesome book, Custom Knits.

Shibui Heichi is probably my favorite of our pure silk yarns.  I tend to like an odd combination of rustic and delicate, the raw silk and silk noil tweed of Heichi fits the bill nicely.  In fact the word heichi we're told means "juxtaposition" in Japanese. This yarn has a rougher texture than Luxury Silk or Regal Silk and a drape more like linen. These two facts allows Heichi to be substituted in many patterns written for worsted weight linen, rayon or some of the cottons that have more drape.

Heichi lends itself to being knit up loosely as a sheer over-top or at a more conventional stitch gauge for sweaters and tops.  Cocoknits pattern Anna was written for Heichi.  This one is near the top of my knitting queue.  It's a sideways, seamless knit with an asymmetrical hemline. Beyond basic knitting skills you only need to know a provisional cast on and how to kitchener.  This would be a fabulous quick summer knit!


Shibui has patterns that use Heichi held double with Shibui Silk Cloud to give the projects a nice soft halo and to add shine.  Shibui Mix 1 is an elegant classic, wide, crew neck pullover and Shibui Mix 5 is a seamless, lightweight cardigan with 3/4 sleeves, done in garter stitch with some short row shaping.  Both are excellent summer projects that can be worn from spring through fall.

And to not leave crocheters out of the picture, you can follow the same guidelines for substituting yarns.  When you want more drape and less spring silk is a perfect choice. For softer textures use the Luxury Silk or Regal Silk.  For firmer textures and better structure choose Heichi. There are many great patterns available!  Ravelry.com is a great place to find them.  Here is a search I did for you Crochet Sweater & Tops in silk, linen or rayon - dk & worsted weight.  If you've never used Ravelry before, please check it out.  I can't recommend it highly enough as a pattern resource!

I hope this has given you some ideas, if you need more ideas or help please don't hesitate to contact us! Call us on our toll free number 877- 529-5648 or email your questions to us at info (at) jimmybeanswool (dot) com or askTerry (at) jimmybeanswool (dot) com.

Terry

2 comments:

  1. Thanks so much! All knowledgeable advice, concerning the best use of the fibers and yarns available to us when planning a knitting project, is greatly appreciated. After all, when one spends $$$ and time, one wants the FO to look great and wear well!

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  2. You're most welcome sophy! Thank you for the great idea! :)

    Terry

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