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in praise of SilkMo

I love it when a yarn and a project come together in perfect harmony. It’s a little slice of knitter’s heaven. And I found two such combinations recently! Double-dose of heavenly goodness.

May I turn your attention, Fair Knitter, to the fluffy wonder that is SilkMo?

It might not have crossed your radar recently – but let me tell you, it should have. Mohair has a bit of magic to it: the stickiness of the fuzzy ‘halo’ around the core fiber (silk, in this case, just to gild the lily) lets you knit it on bigger needles than you think you ought, for a fabric that is light-as-air and oh-so-warm.

Tina describes SilkMo as “soft, furry, goodness,” and boy is that apt. As you knit with this yarn and the project grows, you find yourself stopping to pet the fabric, like a cat in your lap. The knitting just gets better when you make it mindless – just a bit of stockinette in the round, and round and round, so you can meditate and drift off into your happy place.

IMG_0009So here’s my offering of a perfect marriage of yarn and project: Alexandra’s Airplane Scarf by Churchmouse Yarns & Teas in SilkMo (This is colorway “Heckley Speckley.”) Pattern calls for a bit more than 800 yards – and lo and behold, SilkMo’s generous skein boasts 794! Knits up beautifully (and surprisingly quickly) on US8/5mm needles – and the joy is, once you’ve cast on, it’s just round and round and round you go! Nothing to fuss with, nothing to worry about; just stockinette until you bind off. It was fun for me to see how many places and opportunities I had to pick this up and knit it: after lunch at my mother-in-law’s; watching “Gilmore Girls” with friends; over a glass of wine after dinner … Mindless knitting fits in just about anywhere!

And the result? A light-as-air, warm-as-a-down-comforter scarf that’s wide and long enough to keep you warm in the worst of winters without adding a ton of bulk. The gang at Churchmouse named it ‘Alexandra’s Airplane Scarf’ because the gal who brought them the original idea loved to knit them on cross-country plane flights… and because the fabric is so fluffy and light that it’s the perfect piece to pack to wear on a long trip. It would take up almost no room at all in your suitcase, yet be the perfect thing to throw over a dress or under a coat to keep you warm as you wander back to your hotel from the sidewalk café in your favorite European city.

Want to play with SilkMo in a different way? I’ve got another great project for you: pair SilkMo with IMG_0011Targhee Worsted, and you have a fantastic combination that’s ideal for another Churchmouse pattern: the Picot-Edged Mohair Throw & Afghan. SilkMo held with Targhee Worsted is the ideal gauge for the ‘super-chunky’ option on this pattern, and it works up lickety-split on size US15/10mm needles.

The pattern gives you the option to work picots at the edges or not (my sample, started here in colorway “Motley Hue“, is without picots), and the choice of two sizes: Throw (42″x42″) or Afghan (52″x52”). But I’ll let you in on a little (not-so) secret: since this piece is knitted from one small corner out to the center width and then back down to the opposite corner, you can make it as large or as small as your yardage (or patience) allow!

With 2 skeins of SilkMo and 2 skeins of Targhee Worsted in the same colorway, you can make the Throw size or something a bit larger; the trick is to start the decrease section before you run out of yarn in your first skein of Targhee. If you want the Afghan size, or something large enough to really cuddle several people under, you can get one more skein of Targhee and start the decrease section before your first skein of SilkMo runs out.

Oh, and if you want tassels on all four corners, make them before you begin knitting so you can really maximize your yarn usage: hold a strand of SilkMo and a strand of Targhee together and wrap them around a hardback book of the right size. Wrap and wrap and wrap until you have an ample chunk, then take a separate strand and slide it under the top fold before you cut the bottom fold; take another separate strand to make the ‘neck’ of the tassel, tie that off securely and give it a haircut! Two tassels from one set of skeins and two tassels from the other set of skeins will ensure that you can still knit from one set of skeins to the middle of the project as described above.

Whether ‘Winter is coming’ to where you are, or it’s already arrived, now is the time to try knitting with SilkMo – it’ll warm you twice, once during the knitting, and a second time during the wearing! (Plus, knitting’s a lot easier than cutting firewood.)

 

 

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