I'm always intrigued by interesting fiber combinations. But most often, there's a reason why linen and wool aren't usually found in the same yarn. See my version of the Shalom cardigan in The Fibre Company's Savannah.
Habu Textiles is known for its innovative yarns. Paper yarn? Hemp bark fiber? They've got it. I was particularly drawn to their stainless steel yarn so when I saw this cool pattern on The Purl Bee, I knew I had to try it.
Pattern: Kusha Kusha Scarf
- available as a freebie courtesy of the Purl Bee
Yarns: Habu A-20B Silk Stainless Steel
(69% silk, 31% stainless steel)
1 cone in colorway 16 (155 yards)
Habu A-33 Fine Merino
(100% merino laceweight)
1/2 cone in colorway 4 (373 yards)
Needles: US 8 and US 2.5
The silk/steel yarn is worked throughout the scarf while the merino is only in half the scarf. This gives it a dual-texture - the lighter portion is soft due to the wool while the darker lavender part is all stainless steel and somewhat hard. The silk stainless resembles very fine wire which allows for manual manipulation of the knitted fabric.
The pattern instructions suggest felting the scarf so that the wool portion becomes more matted and loses a little of the stitch definition. But I didn't. Mostly because I kept forgetting to throw it into the wash. In the end I decided I rather liked it the way it is. Maybe some day I'll try felting it but for now I'll keep it as is.
So is it wearable? Most definitely. The merino is very soft as one would expect and the silk/stainless is so fine and smooth that there's no barbs at all to irritate the skin. That being said, it's a very thin lightweight scarf and doesn't impart much protection against the elements. But that's not really the point, is it. Lovely and ethereal yet made of the same stuff you find in skyscraper I-beams, it's a sculpture masquerading as outerwear.