Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pushing the Lace Envelope

Anyone who knows my knitting reasonably well or has read much of this blog has probably heard of my love affair with the 2/56 NM Gossamer CashSilk from Heirloom Knitting in the UK, which I have used for three of Sharon Miller's designs so far (the Wedding Ring Shawl, the Princess Shawl, and the Unst Stole). Well, I recently acquired two new fine-gauge yarns from the same source: 2/32 NM Gossamer Silk and 2/90 NM Gossamer Cashmere.

The Gossamer Silk comes wound on cones of 100g (= 3500 yards). It used to be available only in white or ivory, but they have recently added royal blue, coral pink, and silver to their inventory. I had been promising myself for a while to order a single cone after the start of the new year, probably in white, so that I could experiment with some of Herbert Niebling's lace designs, which have been on my growing "To Do list" ever since the first book of patterns arrived here over the summer, courtesy of Lacis. One look at the shimmery silver silk was enough to convince me that the time had arrived to make the much-anticipated purchase. So here it is. Click on the thumbnail to see a larger .

I don't know how long it will be before I actually embark upon my first Niebling project, but it feels good to have the yarn on hand, because now I can act immediately whenever the inspiration hits. My oh-so-talented knitting pal Anita (a.k.a. The Fiber Artist) ordered a similar cone for herself at the same time too, so maybe we will eventually do our own little Niebling KAL. At any rate, click on the thumbnail (upper left) o get a closer look at this gorgeous fiber, which has all the delicious sheen one would expect from 100% silk. In some ways it looks even more like actual mithril than the platinum CashSilk that I am using for my Unst Stole, despite what I said at the time when I first launched that project.

The Gossamer Cashmere, meanwhile, is a brand new addition to the Heirloom Knitting line, available only in a creamy soft white color (see right). On the web-site Sharon Miller bills it as "almost certainly the finest natural yarn available for lace knitters today," and I knew right away when I saw the write-up that I simply HAD to experience this stuff in person. *WOW*!!! It is truly a remarkable thing to encounter a knitting yarn so unbelievably fine-gauged and yet obviously so strong as well, with all the dreamy softness and bloom of 100% cashmere. The mind truly boggles...

I ordered only a single skein to start, on the assumption that I will have to spend a good bit of time with practice swatches before committing myself to a full-scale project. Besides, the neat little 25g skein contains a staggering 1230 yards!! That should be plenty to be getting on with, as the saying goes. I honestly don't know what to expect about needle sizes, since I already use 1.5 mm (US size 000) needles (i.e. the smallest Addi Turbos available) to work with the CashSilk, which is 2/56 NM, almost *twice* as thick as this new material. Just take a good look at this picture with the dime and click for a closer view: you might not believe your eyes. Clearly there are some FUN TIMES ahead as my lace-knitting adventure continues...


  1. I can't entirely tell from the photo with the dime, but it looks like the Gossamer Cashmere might be as fine or finer than the threads in the fabric beneath it! What do you think?

  2. You're right, Barbie. I remember thinking the same thing when I took those pictures! Of course, the fabric is a fairly course weave, but still, we are talking about some *SERIOUSLY* itty bitty yarn. :-)