Fiber choices

by Karen

My sister is slightly allergic to wool. I was hoping to make her a silk scarf or a blend - silk with alpaca and / or other fibers (I heard that alpaca is less likely to cause the same allergic reaction that wool does.)

Can you tell me the benefits/ disadvantages of using 100% silk versus a silk blend?

Karen NJ


Hi Karen

I have never knitted with a pure silk yarn, but I have knitted with blends, some that contain alpaca, some wool, a cashmere silk blend and one that was silk blended with bamboo.

All of them are a pleasure to work with.

The cashmere/silk blend was to die for, it was soft and smooth, easy to work with and the end result was magnificent.

The bamboo/silk blend was the next softest, was also very nice to work with and had a beautiful sheen to the yarn which added to the look of the finished article.

The alpaca/silk blend was also very good to work with and the finished project was lighter and warmer than most would expect.

That would be because the alpaca fibres are hollow and as the fleece does not have any natural lanolin (which is the component in wool that most people are allergic to) the yarn produced from an alpaca is considered to be hypoallergenic.

But really, once you get past the allergy thing the choice between pure silk and a blend will depend on personal preferences. My advice would be to go to a physical store and handle the merchandise.

Go an pick up a ball or two of the options you are considering and see what the yarn feels like. Then pick the one that feels the nicest to you.

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