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A Sensational Introduction to Silk

Though we love wool, there’s another fiber that you may love knitting with—silk.

Tiffany Warble Nov 22, 2023 - 4 min read

A Sensational Introduction to Silk Primary Image

Beautiful silk yarn skeins show off this fiber's luster and beauty even before becoming knitted or woven fabric. Photo by Coleen Nimetz

Muga, eri, and bombyx: these are words that recently joined my knitting vocabulary. They are all types of silk that I’ve started to consider for my knitting projects. Silk has an incredible hand and luster that are hard for other fibers to compete with. But for me, the drape of a silk scarf sold me on venturing into the world of this opulent fiber.

Often called “the queen of fiber,” silk has captivated us for millennia with its luxurious hand and willingness to accept vibrant dyes and hold them fast. Makers around the globe—past and present—return to silk time and again to add crisp color to a handwoven wrap, drape to a scarf, or shimmer to an embroidery project. Lucky for us, we can try them all with this new collection from Long Thread Media.

When we researched options for this collection, we wanted to transport you around the world, immerse you in the incredible stories of silk through history and time, and share a few treasured projects.

Clockwise from Top Left: Workers at a silk farm in northern Laos. Cocoons from Spanish silkworms and hybrid silkworm varieties. A handmade three-ply embroidery thread. A Bombyx mori silkmoth. Silk scarves from Oaxaca using centuries-old spinning and weaving methods. Photos by Coleen Nimetz, Eric Mindling, Michael Cook, and Joe Coca.

You’ll begin your silk adventure in Mexico, where you’ll take a trip from the 1500s to the present. In the 1500s, Indigenous villages in a region of Oaxaca state produced an astonishing 20,000 pounds of raw silk annually. Though that trade was devastated by the early 1600s, silk experienced a revival in several remote villages where families passed the knowledge of silk rearing from one generation to the next. Amazingly, over four hundred years later, the silk workers still use the original Spanish-Indigenous tradition of sericulture.

Next, go across the world to visit a silk farm in Laos. Follow the daily tasks of skilled farm workers raising the world’s only truly domesticated insect dependent on humans—the Bombyx mori silkworm. Once you’ve completed your travels, enjoy exploring some of our most treasured projects using silk yarn.

A delightful silk beret and cowl set from the Sensational Silk eBook. Photo by Joe Coca

There are textured scarves to weave, a special set of silk napkins, an inkle-woven eye pillow, and much more. But I am first headed straight to the silk beret and cowl pattern. The muga yarn used for the hat and cowl has a luxurious feel, and because silk takes dyes so well, you can go right to that vibrant color you’ve always wanted.

You can get it all as a current Farm and Fiber Knits subscriber. Download the eBook below or visit the library to learn more.

Happy knitting!

Sensational Silk eBook Download

Explore articles on silk from Mexico to Laos, then choose your next project from nine knitting, embroidery, crochet, and weaving patterns. Download your eBook here or from the button below, and enjoy the wonders of silk!

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