“…silken lines, and silver hooks…”

Silk is just so rewarding to dye. It sucks up the colour, giving you beautiful clear tones and when it’s rinsed, dried and skeined, it looks a million dollars. Here are three silk skeins that I dyed yesterday and at least the first two are options for the Halloween knit-a-long I’ll be working on.

First up is a gorgeous teal-blue on a mulberry silk laceweight base:

Mulberry silk in teal

Mulberry silk has a sleekness that the Tussah does not, and the glossy strands appear to sit more tightly in the skein. The Tussah’s softness seems to bloom in the skein making it squishy and plump. This skein was dyed with a mixture of teal, emerald and blue dyes and the subtle variegation is down to the hand-painting technique.

The dyes were set very carefully in the microwave – some sources suggest that silk can lose its lustre when overheated (around 85°C), but if you are watchful and let the yarn rest in between blasts of cooking, it seems to be fine. The speed of the microwave option is definitely attractive with two young children on the go in Fleece Cottage.

I’m not a great photographer but I find mulberry silk very forgiving as it always seems to come out fairly true to life with lovely shading.

Next is a darker, more variegated blue on Tussah silk laceweight:

Tussah Silk in variegated blue

The colours on Tussah glow rather than gleam (as with the mulberry). This colourway was built up in hand-painted layers of blues, greens, black and silvery-grey. What I had in mind for this one was moonlight over a dark sea and I’m really pleased with how close it has come to my initial inspiration.

And now for something completely different…


Tussah silk in burnt orange

This burnt orange on Tussah is not at all how I pictured it when I started painting. I had originally thought that it would be more variegated with redder sections. I’ve heard that it can be hard to achieve a ‘true’ red with Ashford dyes and the red here didn’t really stand up to the orange and rust tones. So I probably need to play around with red dye a bit more to see how it works. But I love the result and think it’s a really elegant orange (if there is such a thing!). I think it is destined for sale or trade though as I’m too pale to wear this colour. Still, it looks great against the blues and would make a fabulous Halloween knit-a-long colour!

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