Yarn Profile: SMC Select Silk Wool
SMC Select is one of the company's newest yarn lines. It takes the best of Gedifra as its springboard. The company's marketing materials are very heavy on words like "European fashion trends" and "natural fiber-rich" and "global premium yarn." Even the yarn itself is described as an "elegant, exclusive fashion yarn with high-quality silk for delightful knits, both classic and trendy..."
But none of that came to mind when I first spotted this yarn. Quite honestly, I thought, "Hey, this is nice." Which it is.
From a knitting perspective, the opennness of tube yarns can sometimes cause snagging problems. I began with some dull-tipped bamboo needles, which worked like a charm. No snagging, no struggling, just a quick and steady stockinette. Then I switched to a sharper pair of Sam Bolton's sublime Montana Mountain needles—again, no snagging. Even then I was quickly able to knit by touch alone, making this a perfect yarn for bedtime knitting.
The next morning I decided to test the über-pointy Knitter's Pride needles, and that's when the yarn finally began to complain. Not only did the sharp tips frequently snag the yarn, but the high varnish on these needles made the silk squeak a little as it passed along the needle surface. I actually like it when my yarn talks to me, but not everybody will.
In terms of stitch definition, Silk Wool has a lot of it. The roundedness of the I-cord construction results in fully detailed three-dimensional stitches. Stockinette, ribbing, seed stitch, cables, they all looked gorgeous.
Blocking / Washing
My swatch didn't seem to be shrinking back to its original size. While I waited for it to dry, I studied the wash water left behind and marveled at its distinctly blue color. Not dark or disturbingly intense, but blue nonetheless.
Ultimately there was no change in gauge or color saturation with washing.
You'll immediately recognize the dry, somewhat powdery feel of the silk in this yarn. It also shows up as a glossy sheen in sunlight, made even glossier by the fact that it doesn't appear to have taken any of the dye of the wool. As for the Polyamid, it not only helps keep the price low, but it also adds some welcome strength to the mix.
Gauge can impact durability, and here I do have an observation. The yarn's gauge is listed at 4 stitches per inch. At that gauge, however, the fabric felt quite uneasy in its loose openness and lack of structure. It was springy, yes—but loose in a way that made me worry about abrasion.
I bumped down my needle size to a US 9 and then a US 8. Not until I got down to 5 stitches per inch (on US 8 needles) did the fabric begin to come together and feel more cohesive. I definitely recommend that you swatch and see for yourself which gauge feels more sturdy to you.
For some things, such as blankets or scarves, an open fabric is fine. For anything that will have more weight—the shoulders of a full-sized sweater, for example—I would consider a slightly tighter gauge. Otherwise, be sure and wear a nice shirt underneath the sweater because people are going to see it through those stitches.
By default, this yarn has less strength and structure than would the same fibers spun in a traditional way. By virtue of working their way in and out of each stitch as they wander up the tube, the fibers in Silk Wool span a shorter distance within the actual yarn. The shorter distance the fibers span, the greater their vulnerability to abrasion. Again, that's where the Polyamid comes in handy.
16 stitches and 22 rows per 4 inch (10cm) square
Average retail price
Where to buy online
Weight/yardage per skein
50g / 131 yards (120m)
Country of origin
The label indicates that this yarn was made in Italy
Manufacturer's suggested wash method
Hand wash only, do not bleach, do not tumble dry. Do not iron or steam iron, dry clean, dry flat.
Color used in review
Deep brown (#7112)
In U.S. Westminster Fibers
Source of review yarn