Silk, Interweave Knits and the humble Kitchener Stitch

I have overcome my fear of spinning silk! Tis a Great Moment for me. Talking to the Queen of Everything Silk, Priscilla Lowry, at the Creative Fibre Red Hill Spin In on Saturday, I was so inspired by her love and passion for silk that I resolved to stop mucking around and just give it a go. After all, what’s the worst thing that could happen? It gets continually ripped out of my hands? I spin bobbly, corkscrewed crap?

The result? After having it ripped out of my hands, then creating bobbly, corkscrewed crap, I figured out I needed to loosen off the tension completely and spin very slowly. Well, slowly for me. I started off with undyed Tussah silk, and will leave the Bombyx till I’ve gathered experience and confidence spinning this slick flyaway stuff. Honestly, it feels like you’re spinning nothing at all. I managed to create some fingering weight singles in my first effort. Ultimately not the desired result, but that will come in time. I really have to watch my tension and treadling speed as the wheel tears it out of your hands so easily. Unlike animal fibre, silk fibres are so smooth that they don’t grip each other, which is why they’ll so easily pull apart if a) your tension’s too high or b) you don’t put enough twist in. I’m enjoying the challenge of it though. Plus, I just looooooove the sheen. There’s something quite enchanting about Tussah silk too, more so than the pure whiteness of Bombyx Mori.

This morning, the Spring edition of Interweave Knits arrived in my mailbox – before I left for work (go Mr Postie!), so that was my lunchtime reading taken care of. The first thing I opened it to was this little gem:

British Army general Lord Kitchener was concerned that sock seams maimed the toes of his soldiers. A smooth grafting technique solved the problem. Today, Kitchener stitch (also called “weaving” and “grafting”) has risen far above its utilitarian sock-toe origins to become a star technique of mainstream knitting.

And now you know the origins of the wonderfully clever Kitchener stitch. I found their written instructions on how to do it horribly confusing, so will just stick with the Knit Witch’s video tutorial, which I’ve had 100% success with.

Speaking of clever techniques: the Moebius Scarf. At the abovementioned Spin In, I learned how to cast on for the Moebius Scarf. It took a while, but eventually I managed to do it, then off I went knitting in the round. It’s so clever I can’t hardly believe it! Whoever thought this up is a genius! Click here to see Cat Bordhi’s video on how to do it. And go here to see Sunnyside Ellen’s tutorial, following Cat’s video.

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Once again, I now have too many projects to play with, and none of them are getting a decent start. Must try harder…

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