Focus on Fiber: SilkBy Caissa "Cami" McClinton – 6 Comments
Silk is a warm and luxurious fiber. It’s fabulous for making crocheted garments and accessories. Undyed silk ranges in color from a bright white to a honey brown color. Because it takes dye well, silk can be found for sale in many bold and vibrant colors. It’s possible to crochet in pure silk, but perhaps more common to find yarns for purchase that are a silk blend. I love silk’s softness and shine. It’s a bonus that silk is also a very strong fiber.
Silk fiber is animal-based, and like many fibers used for crocheting, it can be harvested humanely. The main source of silk fiber is the silkworm’s cocoon. The fiber the silkworm creates to form its cocoon is made of one continuous and smooth thread called a filament. If the pupa inside is not allowed to escape during the harvesting of the silkworm’s cocoon, the pupa inside dies. Sometimes harvesters kill the pupa in order to preserve the continuity of the valuable filament. Typically, however, this continuous filament is woven into fabric. Crocheters would use spun silk, which is made of shorter fibers that need not be continuous.
Crocheting with slippery silk can be a worthy challenge. Although it has some stretch, it’s not a springy yarn, so opt for silk blends if you need something with more bounce. If you choose to crochet with it, you’ll notice silk’s fabulous drape and beautiful shine, but it can have a tendency to snag, so be careful. Using a bamboo or wooden hook might help reduce the slipping. Paying close attention while inserting and pulling through loops might help the splitting.
One interesting source of silk yarn is the Indian sari. Saris are beautiful and often brightly colored garments worn by women on the Indian subcontinent. Sari silk has been reclaimed and spun into yarn or wound into balls for fiber crafting. If you’re lucky enough to find a skein of recycled sari silk, grab it for a beautiful and fun fiber experience. Soon I’ll blog about my own experience crocheting with sari silk!
Have you ever crocheted with silk? Would you like to crochet with silk? Please share your experiences, questions, and musings in the comments below! I love hearing from you!
Reference: The Knitter’s Book of Yarn by Clara Parkes