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What is silk noil?

Lovely texture from the waste product of combed silk
by Jackie E-S

Q: I have a question about some lace weight silk noil I am currently knitting with. I am making a lovely but very simple lace shawl that is very open and using size 7 needles. What exactly is silk noil?

A: Silk noil is the short bits of waste silk left after preparing combed silk (think of combing your hair and taking out the snarls). Silk noil makes lovely textured yarns. For example, I like to blend in dyed silk noil with other fibers when I am spinning yarns to get subtle novelty, yet classic look. Quite some time ago, the online Knitted Lace list group did a knit-a-long of the Cocoon pattern in Gathering of Lace (published by XRX). For mine I had used a handspun wool yarn with variegated dyed silk noil. Here are links to photos if you'd like to take a peak –

Knitted cocoon in handspun silk noil

Knitted cocoon detail

Q: Does it block in the same way as other lace weight yarns?

A: Since the fiber length of silk noil is usually quite non-uniform and short, yarn spun from silk noil by itself is usually not very strong. (you didn't say if the silk noil you are using was a blend with something else, so I am assuming not). I'd suggest doing a test on a sample first if you are planning to block under tension. If you are just finger blocking, you should be ok. But still, I'd suggest testing on a sample first. By taking a bit of time to do sample testing, it makes knitting life so much more stress-free – then you know for sure without wondering throughout the entire project if things will work out.

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Thank you for interest. I am here to serve you and help keep your knitting a pleasurable experience. If you have questions or need assistance with purchasing or knitting my HeartStrings patterns, let me know. Sincerely, Jackie E-S

Email address: jackie@heartstringsfiberarts.com
Phone: 678-262-6338 or 877-764-2747 (toll-free in US)
Postal address: HeartStrings, Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer, 53 Parlange Drive, Destrehan LA 70047-2133 USA

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Last revised Tuesday, 05-Mar-2013 21:45:04 CST