What is Silk Yarn? A Complete Guide
Lately it seems that hobbies, once closely associated with our grandmothers, are now sought-after pursuits for the masses. Knitting, weaving, and crocheting, for better or for worse, are in fashion. In every project, starting with the end in mind is key and that is exactly where yarn comes into play. For many, silk yarns for knitting and weaving have become the most popular choice for creative expeditions. But why is that the case? We think that the allure of silk yarn lies entirely within its mystery. Which is why, today, we will let you in on all its little secrets.
What is Silk yarn?
Essentially, yarn can be found in one of three forms: animal-based, plant-based, or synthetic. 100 % Silk yarns fall into the animal-based category and are made from the cocoons woven by silkworms. The thread that the silkworm meticulously makes are carefully unraveled in factories by dedicated machinery. Each cocoon ends up amounting to only one strand of silk thread. These individual strands are then attached to each other in order to reach the desired length of fiber. Finally, collective strands in varying thicknesses are interwoven to make the unique triad of yarn thread we all know too well. Lastly, undyed silk yarn is dyed to desired coloring and bleached to become the silk yarn for weaving we see today.
What are its benefits?
Silk textile has remained an unmatched natural fiber, even today. The manufacturing process behind it dates back centuries, effectively allowing textile manufacturers enough experience to perfect it. And if you are wondering if silk thread is strong, it is, and more.
Made from the cocoons of silkworms, silk is meant to withstand the unpredictability of mother nature. It is no surprise then that silk yarn manages to retain its durability, effectively making your product a longtime investment.
The derivation of 100% silk yarn from natural sources, without any synthetic additions, makes it incredibly soft to touch. The protein origins within the thread contribute heavily to make this an effectively light, wearable, and smooth fabric.
During manufacturing, industries take special care in retaining the natural sheen within the silk. Using this silk yarn for weaving results in soft reflections and shine within the final product. This helps add an exceptional luxurious feel to each design.
The lack of synthetic sources within wild silk yarn makes this a hypoallergenic product. For exceptionally sensitive skin, silk yarn attire and beddings are worth looking into.
This type of yarn may feel slippery when first used, but over time it becomes easier. Its texture allows it to be a great starting point for weaving intermediaries. Conquering this type of yarn is a true feat for any knitting or weaving enthusiast.
What are the different types of silk yarn and what are they used for?
Typically, these yarns differ only in their production processes. Depending on the company, all these types can be used to make yarns for knitting or weaving. However, their inherent uses are much different. In order of highest to lowest quality silk yarns, this is what you should consider:
Reeled Silk Yarn
- Highest quality of lightweight silk yarn.
- Purest form of silk yarn, also known as filament yarn.
- Composed of very long filaments that make it incredibly strong.
- Popularly used for: fine and luxury apparel, like sari silk yarn.
Spun Silk Yarn
- Most common type of yarn, medium quality.
- Manufactured from the waste of the reeling process.
- Cotton and wool additives are twisted in to keep it together.
- Popularly used for: dress linings, sewing silk, insulative materials.
Raw silk yarn
- Made from the waste of the waste.
- Unstructured cotton like material which is twisted into thick threads.
- Becomes the yarn balls we see today.
- Can have synthetic additions for stability.
- Popularly used for: knitting, weaving, crocheting.
What is the best weather to knit, weave, or crochet?
Honestly, we think that you should be able to knit, weave, or crochet whenever you feel like it. All three of these options only differ in the style in which they make a piece of apparel or throw. Moreover, what one is choosing to knit, weave, or crotchet will dictate what kind of weather is best suitable.
When it comes to knitting, we feel it is best to knit closer to the fall and during the winter. Knitting is a pastime usually adopted for making apparel so end of the year months are ideal. You can even push it till spring, but the general idea is to use silks like Eri or Merino silk yarn to make warmer attire. Silk lace yarn also tends to trap heat easily, which is why it may not be too ideal past spring. Be it gloves, beanies, sweaters, or socks, it really depends on what you want to make of it.
The unique techniques involved in crocheting and weaving make their uses a little open-ended. People tend to use these techniques for throws, pillow covers, light scarves, or even table mats. Since these products are not meant to provide warmth or coolness, they can be made whenever you feel like decorating your room. Decorative carpets are also a popular choice within this initiative.
Silk yarn crochet patterns I can try!
If you’re thinking of starting a recycled silk yarn project with your new crochet tools, then you are in for a treat. The art of crochet involves one single tool, one strand of yarn, and the ability to loop it all together. Three of our favorite beginner and intermediate patterns to choose from include:
The Single Stitch Pattern
This is often considered the foundation stitch of crochet patterns and is a basic everyone should be familiar with. Switching up thinner yarns with thicker ones after every row can make this more exciting.
This is a great beginner option since it only requires the knowledge and skill of interlacing 2 crochet stitches: the chain and the single. The use of basic stitches to come up with a unique pattern for beanies, gloves, or scarves is the biggest plus point.
The V stitch Pattern
This specific pattern is a blend of the double stitch and the chain stitch. A repetitive sequence of these stitches results in a design with a lot of porosity. This is ideal for runners, mats, or stoles.
Tips for choosing, handling, and maintaining Silk Yarn
Now, since you are familiar with the basics of cotton and silk yarns, it is time to apply this knowledge.
- Decide beforehand what you would like to make.
- Keep a budget in mind before going shopping.
- For smaller projects consider spending more on higher quality silk yarns.
- Raw silks are more organic and cheaper for beginner projects but are equally soft.
- Thanks to their overall sheen, these yarns tend to be quite slippery.
- Plastic or wood needles can help in keeping the stitches in place.
- Make sure to keep your stitches taught while knitting, weaving, or crocheting because you don’t want them to loosen over time.
- Take breaks to prevent your hands from cramping.
- Carefully read the instructions on the label as each type of yarn is different.
- It is recommended to wash your yarns before using, since they lose their strength when damp.
- When not in use, store your yarns in a canvas bag to prevent their fibers from fraying.
- Wash your creations in cold water by hand.
- Try not to use harsh detergents as they can damage the overall texture.
What dupes are in the market today?
Every yarn is unique but certain properties can make them incredibly similar. If you are on a budget and looking to get the same finish as silk, consider the following choices:
- Cheaper than silk or wool.
- Soft, easy to use, and to maintain.
- Comes in many grades, silky is most similar.
- Cellulose and polymer combination.
- Drapes just like silk would.
- Very similar sheen to silk.
- Blend of cotton and silk.
- Very vibrant colors.
Where can I find silk yarn on sale?
If you ask us, online shopping is the way to go. Websites like Fillory Yarn actually have a vast database filled with many different yarn brands to choose from, for example:
- Shibui Knits
- Whimsical Colors Island Wools
- Knit One Crochet Two
- Silk Cloud
Pro tip: on sale, you can find these exclusive brands on much cheaper prices.
Final verdict: Sign us up!
Whether it’s the onslaught of fall or the perpetual quarantine we are in, it seems that knitting is here to stay. We think it is time for us to embrace this trend with open arms and unleash our hidden talents out into the world. We wish you much luck on your knitting, crocheting, and weaving ventures. No matter what you make, if it's made with love, that is all that matters.