For a long time I thought knitting only meant using wool. When I discovered silk, I was completely swept away by its beauty and luster but there was this lingering doubt about how I would knit up such soft and luxurious yarn. I have since learned that you don’t really need any new skills to knit with silk. If you can knit with wool, then you are good to go with silk.
That said, here are a few tips that would help a knitter just starting out to work with silk.
Choosing silk yarn
Silk, just like any other knitting yarn, is available in different weights and yardage – fingering, lace weight, sport or heavy. Make sure you pick the right kind for your project. This will largely determine the drape of your finished object and also how warm or cool you want it to be.
Choosing the needles you want to work with
Silk yarn can be slippery with stitches quite ready to jump off your needles if you aren’t careful. This is why some knitters use wooden, bamboo or coated needles to knit silk yarn. But if you are going to use one of these needles, remember that stitches may not slip off readily even when you want them to and slow you down some. It all boils down to what needles you are used to, really. So the best thing is to try different needles and zero in on what works best for you.
Choosing the pattern
If you’ve picked a pattern that requires you to knit with silk yarn, that’s one thing. But if you bought silk yarn because you fell in love with it and are now trying to find a suitable pattern for it, then be sure to pick one that will bring out your yarn in all its glory!
With silk, remember that you want the sheen of the yarn to show through. Complicated stitches and, sometimes, even lace will not allow this. So make a swatch with the main pattern stitch to get an idea of how it will look made in silk. If you can’t really see your silk shine, add some rows or blocks of plain stockinette or garter stitch.
Make a swatch
The importance of making a swatch, whatever yarn, pattern or needles you may want to use, cannot be emphasized enough. It’s no different with silk yarn. Make a swatch large enough for you to be able to determine the gauge of your knit and get a feel for what the finished object will look like.
Those were some of the things I could think of. Any more tips out there? Do leave a comment to share with us. Happy knitting!