My New Love – Yak/Silk Blend

Yak/Silk blend - Alfalfa Green

Yak/Silk blend – Alfalfa Green

After yarn-bombing, and after the Starry Night silk, I have turned my attention to a new exotic fiber blend – Yak and Silk. At SAFF last year, I bought the most gorgeous green 50%-50% yak/silk fiber. I already had some undyed yak/silk that I had bought the year before and never touched.

Yak Silk Blend Fiber, undyed

Yak Silk Blend Fiber, undyed

For practice, I spun a little sample of the undyed fiber. It is a lovely silvery taupe color, with a silky feel and drape. It was a bit challenging to spin because of the slipperiness of the fiber in “top” form, definitely not for beginners. But I *love* the way it came out. As I was looking at it, I realized that it will make the perfect cuff for the fingerless gloves I’m planning with the possum yarn my friend brought me from NZ. I blogged about that a while back. MUCH nicer than the alpaca blends I was playing with! So I swatched it with some of the possum fiber to see how they go together and, well, see for yourself. So then I weighed out and spun enough for that project.

Swatch with possum yarn and yak/silk blend handspun

Swatch with possum yarn and yak/silk blend handspun

Now, the lovely green. Play time!! I got the inspiration to try a gradient blend of the undyed and the dyed just to see how that works out. To get a good even blend, you have to use hand cards, so I made 5 rolags – pure green, green with a little undyed, about half and half, undyed with a little green, and pure undyed. I carded the pure ones as well as the color blends so that they would all spin the same. Fiber prep matters in the finished yarn! First thing I noticed when spinning is that the carded fiber is MUCH easier to spin than the uncarded top. Yay! That’s because the fibers are no longer all lined up the same way and the slipperiness is way less of a challenge. I was also able to spin it thinner. This is good because I used Navajo plying to make a three-ply yarn without mixing up the colors. This way my three-ply came out close to the diameter I want, as a light worsted (DK or sport). I promise I will post pictures of it once it dries.

Gradient Rolags with dyed and undyed yak/silk blend

Gradient Rolags with dyed and undyed yak/silk blend

You’ll notice in the picture of the rolags that they look unfocused – if you click on it you’ll see the full-sized version, which is quite sharp. That’s just how soft the carded fibers look.

I am in love with this fiber. I will definitely look for more at SAFF again this year!

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