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Knitting with Silk

Quick tips for handling silk on and off the knitting needles

If someone asked, chances are someone else has the same question. Keith asked …

Do you have any tips on knitting lace with 100% silk? I've found a lovely laceweight 100% silk from Schaefer yarns called Andrea. It's the colorway called Clara Barton, in blues and greens, just beautiful. I'd love to knit a lacy scarf or shawl. I've done only a little lace knitting and no knitting or lace knitting with silk. Do you have any tips for patterns and handling, such as how to treat it, wash it after knitting? I guess I wouldn't block. Thanks very much for any help.

Hi Keith, I knit with silk a LOT. In fact, I happen to have a shawl I recently knitted using Schaefer Andrea. It is the beautiful Bobble Lace Flowers. If you look around my online design gallery, you'll also see that there are lot of items that I knitted in silk.

Bobble Lace Flowers Triangle Shawl
Bobble Lace Flowers

Silk is a slippery fiber. For slippery fibers, some knitters prefer using less-slippery needles such as wood, bamboo, plastic/teflon-coated metal needles, etc. I personally use metal needles most of the time, just because that is what I am used to (and I like my stitches to move along the needles easily without the drag of wood, etc.) So test out a sample with various types of needles if you have them and see what you are most comfortable with.

Silk is an inelastic fiber, so if you are used to knitting with a stretchy wool, you'll want to knit on the looser side so that you can get your needle point easily into the stitches. If you are already a loose knitter, you shouldn't have any problem with this. If you are a tight knitter, be sure that you are forming the new stitches around the fullest part of your needles (i.e. rather than around the tip of the needle and then pushing them back to the fullest part).

Cat's Cradle Lace Scarf
Cat's Cradle Lace Scarf

Silk blocks beautifully! I block my knitted lace made in silk just like I do any other knitted lace. There is some information on blocking and some other short articles about silk in the Articles & Tips section of the Resource area of the HeartStrings website.The Cat's Cradle Lace Scarf pattern also includes a mini-tutorial on blocking lace.

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Thank you for stopping by. I am here to serve you. Can I help you further? For your convenience, you may contact me by any of these means. Kind regards, Jackie E-S

Email address: jackie@heartstringsfiberarts.com
Phone/fax: 985-764-8094 or 877-764-2747 (toll-free in US) fax/888-467-7840
Postal address: HeartStrings, Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer, 53 Parlange Drive, Destrehan LA 70047-2133 USA

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Last revised Tuesday, 05-Mar-2013 21:33:17 CST