Friday, 9 November 2007


I have started Aria and am at the end of the first ball of yarn. It's Rowan Natural Silk Aran, which is viscose, silk and linen.

I think describing viscose as 'natural' is a bit controversial: it's produced from natural materials, wood or cotton, but the method is very industrial. I can remember it being called rayon, and before that 'art silk', which was short for 'artificial silk'. These names reflect changing fashions in how the fabrics have been sold to us - which of course is influenced by how we want to see ourselves - artificial silk was an attractive idea in the 1920s but artifice then became unfashionable; space-age names ending in '-on' were glamorous in the '50s and then became tacky, and now we're back with it being desirable to be natural, or at least appearing to be.

Speaking of space-age names, does anyone else remember Orlon? I thought it had vanished altogether but I've just checked and it's an acrylic fibre which apparently is still in use for clothing, amongst other things. I certainly haven't seen the word on a label for a very long time, so maybe it's just included under the general term, acrylic fibre.

Anyhow, back to Aria. I think the yarn works perfectly with the pattern. The linen in the yarn makes it look very crisp, but the silk makes it very soft, so it folds flat. It can be folded double, so that there are two rows of frills.

The colours you see here aren't good, although the second one catches the sheen better: the light is so bad just now, it's like photographing mud. The shade is 461, Flax, a very pretty pale blue with silvery and gold lights, and it drapes beautifully. If you've ever done short rows, the pattern is easy peasy; I had it memorized after one repeat. I find metal needles too slippery for this yarn, so I'm using Scottish Fibres' lovely rosewood dpns, the 5mm size.

At the end of the first 50g ball, it measures 9 inches, although I think it'll stretch in wear. I have 6 balls but I don't know whether I'll use them all. There's only 71 yards in a ball and I don't suppose that's enough for a hat, even for a person with a smaller head than mine, which is most people.


Jean from Cornwall said...

Oh yes I remember Orlon - that was what the simple little grey top I had to go with my Interview Suit was made of. Except that it grew so that it wouldn't fit under the jacket - every wash made it grow so that what had started out as a size 12 became at least a 24 within the space of a year. It was seriously wierd.

Spinningfishwife said...

I loved the Natural Silk Aran when I saw it in Jenners but couldn't think of what I'd use it for, so there it stayed. Naturally, I regret this.

Scottish Fibres rosewood needles, on the other hand? Love them. Only wooden needles I actually like.