Silk Cowl

Another cowl under my belt...this one Andean Silk - "Merryweather". This was a labor of love and determination. It took me three tries to get the tension and the size correct. It also took me another try to get the feel of the silk yarn. I ended up using size 7 circular needles and keeping the knitting loose and relaxed. I am pleased with the way it turned out and it feels really comfortable.

To my surprise, when I soaked it, as I had done with my wool cowl, it took on a really bad skunk-like smell. I did a bit of research and learned that it would have been better if I had just put the cowl on a towel and spritzed it. I found that the silkworm is the only creature that gives us thread to weave into yarn that also gives up its life to do so. Poor little fellas. I found a site that explained a bit about the smell that is often associated with silk yarn. I am now wondering why people even make it if it's going to smell bad. The site refers to a fishy smell, which is a bit like skunk, isn't it? LOL Having been sprayed once as a young boy by a skunk, it's a smell not soon forgotten, even at age 57! Anyway, here's the site.

This site is referenced in the site above and discusses how to maybe get the smell out of silk. It focuses on raw silk though, something I don't have around the house and am not likely to anytime soon. The process on which they focus is called degumming. Enjoy!

Finally, while working with the yarn, there was no smell. Once it dried, there is no smell. I'm hoping that the sweat from my neck after tramping through a chilly winter's day getting overheated doesn't encourage a smell that may make me irresistible to little lonely skunks in the forest. Even though they do hibernate, I still find that prospect disturbing.

Stay warm if you are in a cold climate. Enjoy the early spring for those in the UK. Enjoy the summer while you have it if you are among our Aussie knitting brethren.


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Mark, another great job! Perfect color on you.



Kerry's picture

Great cowl and colour also. Hopefully we over the worst of a hot spell, 36-37C, in what has been a mild and damp summer here in Sydney. The last nine summers have been blistering.

CLABBERS's picture

Thanks Kerry and Barrington...I enjoy the color as well, it goes nicely with the brown suede of my coat.

Tom Hart's picture

Beautiful job, Mark! It really looks great. And hopefully it smells OK, too. I'd never particularly thought of working with silk before but I think I'll probably avoid it now...

CLABBERS's picture

Hi Tom. Thanks for the kind words. The silk yarn is really quite pleasurable to work with. It does slip and slide around on the nickle-plated needles, but if you go slowly, it stays put nicely. It feels really great when I am wearing it...not even a hint of scratchy like when using wool or acrylic.

Bill's picture

I suspect Tom is worried about the skunk smell ...LOL