A friend from my knitting group happened upon a small display of recycled silk yarn at a bead store and bought some. It was so different and weird that I went the next day and bought some for myself. It had a funny smell, almost like a barnyard only it was not offensive but rather pleasing in small doses. I tried right away to knit a row or two, just to see how it would work up, and I was disappointed beyond measure.
It was almost impossible to work with. It has no stretch or give at all. Every stitch or so the skein had to be maneuvered to let out some of the torque. I gave up, and wasn’t happy I had bought $48 of what now appeared to be worthless silk yarn.
But the more I thought about it the more I realized that it was the tightness of the spin, not the silk itself, that made it so unworkable. (Is there a name for this?) I took the skein, draped it over the back of a chair, and started a small ball from one round. I wrapped a rubber band around the ball and held the trailing yarn at about three feet to let it hang loosely and free-spin to release some of the torque. And believe me when I say that the ball started to spin wildly. I had to stop it when I thought it was loose enough or it might have spun itself completely undone. I repeated the process after wrapping the newly loosened yarn onto the ball and reapplying the rubber band to hold it all in place again.
This was a long process; about an hour for one skein. But the results were worth it. I saved the yarn because now it is smooth and workable. In loosening the fibers, it’s now a wearable yarn, not so prickly and stiff. This scarf was completed in about two hours. I knitted it loosely because the silk is quite heavy and hangs well. It’s an ornamental scarf, or course, but something quite different than I’ve seen – at least in Florida.
I have two more skeins, and I might save them for decoration on other items, or as my friend Maria did, crochet a handbag. The colors are exquisite and bright. The smell went right away once I knitted it up, and it seems to get softer each time I touch it. Perhaps it’s unraveling itself! Next time I won’t be so greedy, and instead try out a yarn before I spend so much.
If anyone knows of a place to find unusual yarns (yarns spun from unusual fibers), please let me know. The last time I was in England I found some yarn shops with fiber combinations, weaves, and colors I’ve never seen here in America. If only shipping wasn’t so expensive between our two countries!!!