Merino Silk Sport is one of our longest running bases, and was one of the first yarns ordered when I started Skein almost 8 years ago! It's proved to be an extremely popular yarn, for there's a ton of patterns that use this base and we've had a lot of positive feedback from knitters who have enjoyed knitting and wearing it. So, this week let's shine the spotlight on Merino Silk Sport and explore this yarn a little further.
Merino Silk Sport contains 50% extra fine merino (19.5um) and 50% tussah silk, which have been blended together and spun into a 4 ply yarn with a firm twist. The combination of silk and extra fine merino creates a super soft and drapey yarn, while the 4 ply structure (along with the firm twist) ensures that it will be strong and durable.
Due to the high silk content of this yarn, Merino Silk Sport dyes up in softer shades compared to our other bases. Silk takes a lot longer to absorb the dye than wool, meaning the dyes tend to mix more in the pot, therefore dulling the colours a little. In saying that, the silk adds a wonderful lustre to the yarn which makes colours look bright and shiny.
This yarn knits up to produce a very soft and drapey fabric. Usually yarn that has high silk content can be hard on the hands and a little bit stiff when working with it. Not so with this yarn! It is super soft and an absolute joy to knit with. As mentioned, it has been spun with a firm twist which means it shows off stitches beautifully. Cables, textured stitch patterns and lace all look amazing knit with this yarn, as does a simple stockinette or garter stitch. The picture above shows Merino Silk Spot knit up into a Havana Swing Cardigan (designed by Jess Gagnon); you can see how great the cables look!
Silk is nature's nylon; it's very strong and durable. Because this yarn has 50% silk, you know that it's going to last. If you've ever tried to break a strand of this yarn with your hands, you'll know how strong it is! As the yarn has been spun with a firm twist, it wears well and is less likely to pill.
Merino Silk Sport has not been superwash treated, so you do need to be careful when washing projects made with it. We recommend a gentle hand wash with warm water (add a dash of wool wash or shampoo to the water if you like), then gently squeeze out excess water and pop it in the washing machine on a gentle spin cycle to remove the rest of the water. Dry flat.
There are so many projects that would suit this yarn. Cardigans, shawls, cowls, hats, jumpers - you name it! It is such a soft and luxurious base that you really want to be able to wear it next to your skin. This yarn knits up into a fabric that has a lot of drape, so shawls are perfect as well as most cardigans and pullovers.
This yarn is not really suited for colourwork. Colourwork usually requires a fluffy, single-ply yarn to look good. Any patterns that call for structure also wouldn't suit this yarn. These designs are usually better suited to cotton or linen yarns. Because this yarn is not superwash treated, it would be best avoided when knitting for people who do not know how to care for hand-knits.
You can see all the designs over on Ravelry, but here are a few of our favourites:
Shift Of Focus by Veera Valimaki (colourway Lush)
Morgan Shawl by Jessica Gore (colourway Sterling)
Toujours by Joji Locatelli (colourway Static)
Charm by Juju Vail
Snowdrops by Danni Sunshine
There are so many patterns that would look fabulous knit out of Merino Silk Sport. Check out our Pinterest board that showcases our picks for Merino Silk Sport!