I have a mild sensitivity to wool. My skin can cope with wool everywhere but my neck and chest: v-neck jumpers not a problem, trousers not a problem. Woollen coat facings against my chest? Nasty redness and itchiness. Woolen scarf around my neck? Ditto. Woolen hat against my forehead, ditto, although I'm not really a hat wearer, so this bothers me less.
All I have to do it hold a ball of yarn up against my neck and I can tell. Superfine merino doesn't work, alpaca doesn't work. Intense moisturisation of my neck and chest doesn't work either.
I really want to knit a scarf. Yes, I could knit one out of polyamide, but the only non-pastel colour I've been able to find is black; I could make one out of fleece, and indeed I already have one. But... I could also knit one out of silk. It has superb insualting properties and isn't made out of plastic. Plus it's luxurious, and isn't that the point of this hand-knitting thing?
I looked at available pure silk. I wanted at least dk weight, because I'm a slow knitter, so my choice was pretty limited. Debbie Bliss Pure Silk? Feels lovely, but the only colour I like is black. I like my colours on the darker side. And it's expensive to buy and subject to my rudimentary dyeing skills, given that I am limited to Kool Aid due to living in a flat with no outdoor area or laundry (the mad british don't seem to understand laundries), so it's the kitchen or nothing.
I thought well, I could buy cheaper white silk and dye my own with Kool Aid. I decided on black cherry and grape, because I'd used them before, and I thought I'd try Texere's wild silk number 8. It's not very expensive.
- finding black cherry and grape in sufficient quantities (1 sachet per 25g yarn = 4 sachets per 100g = 16 sachets per 400g) in this country is not easy. After poring over knitty's colour examples, I decided grape and tropical punch might do and ordered some, along with some orange (that's another story). When it arrived... due to stock levels I got 6 tropical punch, 12 grape and oodles of orange. Plus extra orange because they were sorry that they didn't have the
coloursflavours I wanted.
- yarn arrived. It looks and feels like string. I knit with it a bit. It still looks and feels like string. I returned the remaining 3 cones.
I had been eyeing off the Woolpeddler's recycled silk for some time. I met some recycled silk in the form of scarves at Camden market, and I've been attracted to it ever since but didn't really want to buy it by mailorder because of the colour variations. I may have a mild control issue with colour. Stephanie and her Silk Solids range solved that problem. I've been mooning over it ever since, and after the disaster with the texere silk, decided to order. My sister-in-law gave me a strangely suitable amount of money for my birthday and I hadn't spent it so...
I love the dark red. It's... dark and silky. What did I expect? I don't know, but nothing this divine. I feel perfectly safe putting this on the blog even thought there's a limited supply because a) no-one reads it anyway and b) I went and ordered 6 more skeins of the red alone. I couldn't help it.
Now, what to do with it all? I'm thinking sideways because I like lenthways stripes and I'm way too lazy to do it by intarsia. Knitpicks' Moguls scarf looks like it could work, too, although I do have three colours and the original is knitted in a different yarn weight... My other thought is sideways stocking stitch, changing yarn every row, fringing the end. I am attracted to this due to pure laziness: if I start each row from the same end I can get stocking stitch with nary a purl row. I am not a virtuous knitter.