Sunday, 30 October 2011

I am knitting a blue silk

hat. I have finished the vests and the shawl and I am still considering what to do with the skein of milk. The blue silk has been staring at me for a while and saying, "Use me" rather in the way that Alice looked at that liquid which said "Drink me". I just did not know what would happen if I tried.
It was given to me by the friend I will be helping next week. "Try it," she told me, "See what you can do with it." That was two years ago. I have not been inspired by it.
Silk comes in many different ways. It can be fine and smooth and soft. It can be rough and hairy. It can be limp or springy. This is called "straw" and it is more like raffia than silk. It is fine and smooth but it has no elasticity - although it is springy. It actually seems to bounce around. It also has a tendency to split.
All that said I have to confess that the resultant fabric is much pleasanter than I thought it would be. I can understand the attraction of silk, especially given its capacity to take on colours. This blue has a wonderful sheen to it. I remember there were other brilliant colours in the collection too, reds, oranges, golds, greens and a rich, royal purple.
I wound the skein around a small polystyrene ball - my trick for winding yarn that will collapse in on itself into a tangled mess. I am not into the business of those neat "centre-pull" balls that people seem to do so neatly. They do not work for this sort of yarn. It has a tendency to unwind from both ends and I do not want the sort of mess that would be bound to result if I tried.
Even as I was winding it I was still not sure what I would do with it. It did not feel flexible or soft enough for a scarf - and I was not sure there was enough of it. A small pochette of some sort? But who would use such a thing. It might make a "something blue" for a bride but I thought of all the other colours and it still seemed too limited. Fingerless mitts? Totally impractical. I like to think that knitting can be used.
So, I decided on the hat. I do not know how well it will work. I have knitted similar hats before. The first such hat was more of an accident than a design. I had a ball of cotton and I had four needles and I was a long way from any other knitting having just finished some socks. The hat just happened. I blocked it over a pudding bowl using starch. That I managed to do this at all was because my paternal grandmother taught me how to starch a detachable collar on a man's shirt.
I do not think you can starch silk. The brim will be floppy rather than stiff. I am not sure whether this will matter or not. There is always, I suppose, the possibility of undoing the whole thing and making something else. I rather hope I do not feel the need to do that but at least, unlike most of life, I can start again.


widdershins said...

Perhaps knitting something stiffer or starchable in with it as you do the brim?

Old Kitty said...

Now this is exactly why I wish I have the patience to learn how to knit! Silk!! Silk hats that you can undo at a whim - wow! Take care