Thursday, 15 May 2014

Yarn Review: Artesano Linen Silk DK




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 Artesano Linen Silk DK: 40% wool, 35% silk, 25% linen

In the skein, there’s a lot to notice about this yarn. There’s the strong colours, thanks to the silk, the slightly hairy appearance, thanks to the extra long linen fibres, and the way this yarn drapes, even in the skein. It also has a lustrous sheen to it and reflects light wonderfully. It comes in 16 variegated shades, and I'm using shade 38 Lichen.

Interestingly, it doesn’t feel as dry or “stringy” as linen yarns sometimes can. Artesano have clearly chosen their fibre combination carefully, blending the linen with silk to add smoothness and wool to lend elasticity. It feels cool to the touch, yet still soft, and has no hint of roughness or scratchiness. It has slightly more give than pure silk or linen but is still not particularly stretchy, especially compared to a pure wool.

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Knitted on my pair of fairly blunt but smooth 4mm bamboo needles, Linen Silk felt smooth, soft, and even. The longer linen fibres were not often noticeable, though occasionally I did come across the odd one that wanted to be pulled out. It didn’t snag on my needles and had been tightly enough spun that there was no risk of stabbing my needles through the yarn or splitting the plies. The subtle colour changes are also very pretty to watch as they knit up.

The fabric of my swatch has really good stitch definition, both the stocking stitch and moss stitch are clear. Light bounces off it in a way that really shows off the different green tones, and the drape is just lovely. This would be a great yarn for loose fitting garments or accessories, but might be so suited to items with a lot of ribbing or cables, due to the inelasticity of the silk and linen. 

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"Like a landscape painting"

When washed, there was a very slight colour bleed into water but, when dry, the swatch was identical in colour to its appearance before washing. Blocking produced no dramatic change in character, there was no real stretching and my gauge was very similar. While the fabric did soften slightly, the clear stitch definition was retained.

When I showed her my swatch, Linda said it looked “like a landscape painting” and I think that’s a good way of conveying the subtle shifts in tone and colour that you only really get in a hand painted yarn like Linen Silk. And, as I mentioned before, it really does drapes beautifully. While it might not be suited to projects with a strong emphasis on ribbing, due to the inelasticity of the linen and silk, this yarn would be a great yarn for loose fitting garments or accessories. Any plain or uncomplicated stitch pattern would be an excellent match for this yarn, where the colours can shine out and be the focus of your knitting.