Mulberry silk is some of the finest silk in the world.
It is sometimes referred to as Bombyx silk because it is produced by Bombyx mori silkworms, which feed exclusively on mulberry leaves.
Bombyx silk has a smooth, lustrous surface that readily accepts dye, resulting in rich colors.
Mulberry yarn color #4-Rose.
You can see the beautiful combination of shine and color in Louisa Harding’s Mulberry and Mulberry Hand Beaded yarns.
The original Mulberry yarn has 162 yards per 50 gram hank and has a suggested gauge of 5.5 sts per inch on a US 6 needle. Mulberry Hand Beaded has the same suggested gauge and comes with 71 yards per 50 gram hank.
They compliment each other nicely, with the hand beaded version making great trim.
Both yarns make appearances in a number of pattern books. If you are not familiar with them, allow me to introduce a few of my favorites.
Queen of Hearts
The Queen of Hearts book features designs with an Alice In Wonderland Theme that use a variety of Louisa’s yarns.
Elsie from the Queen of Hearts book.
True to the book name, the heart motif recurs in many of the patterns.
The Elsie cardigan has a dramatic flair to the sleeves and hem, highlighted by contrasting color trim.
I like the balance of the interesting start to keep my knitting attention alert with the autopilot knitting of the smooth stockinette.
Lacie from the Queen of Hearts book.
If you aren’t ready to tackle a silk sweater, the Lacie bag takes just one bag of Mulberry yarn.
While the bag would be a quick knit, there is plenty of interest between the cable and the picot trim. One of these bags would make a lovely gift for a special friend.
You can see more patterns from the Queen of Hearts book here.
Mulberry and Mulberry Hand Beaded are the only two yarns used in the Aster book, which features a variety of garments and accessories.
Myla from the Aster book
Myla from the Aster book.
A feature I like about Louisa’s books is that she often include different version of the pattern. There might be a short and long sleeve version of a sweater, or just the different looks you can achieve by using different colors.
You can see that in the two versions of the Myla top. The lighter shades of blue on in the top version draw your eye to different parts of the sweater.
It’s a good reminder to not be afraid to mix things up!
Lola from the Aster book in a single color.
Lola from the Aster book in two colors.
A more dramatic example is the Lola capelet.
The silver version in the top picture is an elbow length version worked in a single color of Mulberry Hand Beaded.
The bottom version is shorter and features Mulberry as the main yarn and Mulberry Hand Beaded as the trim. I like the dramatic contrast of the two colors in the second version.
What color combination would you use?
See more patterns from the Aster book here.
The Athena book was a summer book that featured a few different yarns.
Silk is a great yarn for summer tops because it feel so wonderful against the skin and has the ability to absorb and release moisture.
Bluesette from the Athena book.
I love the leaf edging on the Bluesett tank top. The ribbing at the waist helps give the top shaping. If sleeveless tops aren’t your thing, the book includes as a version with sleeves.
Whoopee from the Athena book.
The Whoopee top has a fun cable trim around the hem. This would be a quick knit with the added bonus of the boat neck reducing the amount of shaping you have to worry about at the top. Fear not, there is a long sleeve version as well. And you can always make it in a single color if you don’t like stripes.
See more patterns from the Athena book here.
The Belle book features patterns using Mulberry yarn, but as we’ve discussed you can easily substitute the hand beaded version as trim.
Swallow from the Belle book
The Swallow shrug takes three skeins of Mulberry. Wouldn’t it look lovely as a cover up for a sun dress? You could jazz it up by using Mulberry Hand Beaded as a trim.
Shrugs are great projects because they often take a minimum of shaping and finishing before you get to wear them.
Magpie from the Belle book
The Belle book also features two bag patterns that each take just one skein of Mulberry yarn. I think the star pattern on the Magpie bag is fun.
There are great sweaters and scarves in the Belle book, which you can see here.
The projects I’ve highlighted should give you an idea of the potential of these two pretty yarns. For more inspiration, check out Ravlery, but you might want to get something to drink first.
There are 805 projects on Ravelry that were made using Mulberry yarn! This is a lot of lovely stuff to look at.
There are 10 projects listed for Mulberry Hand Beaded, but it’s a newer yarn so there hasn’t been enough time for more to be made.