I get a lot of questions about the yarn blends I sell, in particular about my Seacell yarn. Here on the blog I want to share with you exactly what Seacell is and why I have chosen it in a blend with Silk, to make the most amazing luxury yarn for your knitting and crochet.
What exactly is seacell yarn and how is it made?
Seacell as a fibre is universally used as a blend with something like Silk for knitting or crochet, to make a beautiful non-wool yarn.
The Seacell itself is derived from seaweed, but you won’t smell the sea when you use it!
Producers harvest a seaweed species called Knotted Wrack, which is a brown seaweed notably found around rocks and rock pools, along the shoreline. It is commonly found around the Great British and Irish isles, but is also found in other areas of the North Atlantic Ocean, like the Icelandic Fjords.
The manufacturing process creates filament fibres through a solvent spinning process, just like Lyocell, where dissolved cellulose (wood pulp) is introduced to strengthen and complete the filament fibres for spinning.
The resultant fibre is both breathable and lightweight when spun into yarn and the fabric you knit or crochet is soft and reportedly moisturizing against the skin (where the properties of seaweed remain).
These fibres are then spun with any additions, such as Silk to create the final luxury yarn that I dye onto. The finished hand-dyed yarn gives you a non-wool option, with no lanolin. If you suffer from allergies to wool yarns, this could be a great choice for you!
Why I picked a blend of Seacell with Silk
Seacell on it’s own can be quite slippery to knit or crochet with. As a filament fibre it has no scales (as you would get on animal hairs, or natural plant fibres) to create grip against your needles. This is why you will often see this plant based fibre blended with something like Silk.
Silk is quite often referred to as the most similar natural fibre to Seacell. Whilst there are differences, once spun into a blended yarn, they both play a crucial role in the look, feel and workmanship of the yarn in your projects. Seacell is breathable and lightweight, and the addition of Silk adds more weight, a little more grip and outstanding lustre.
I first saw a Seacell blended yarn at a knitting show at the NEC in Birmingham, before I started dyeing yarns. I was enthralled with the softness, drape and sheen, and vibrancy of the final dyed colours. When I found a supplier of the undyed yarn I had to give it a go. It’s the most expensive yarn I stock per skein, but so worth it.
I find the combination of Seacell and Silk works well in a 4ply yarn particularly. It is great for shawl knitting where the evenness of the yarn allows for complex stitch work and occasional unpicking!
Silk and Seacell yarn hand-dyed colourways
The SIlk and Seacell blend yarns take dye colour well. I dye them, along with all other animal fibre yarns, with acid dyes. These are powdered dyes that require acidity and heat to fix the colour onto the yarns. For the acidity, I use food grade white vinegar. The combination of the acidity of the vinegar with the yarns being heated in the dye solutions sets the colour into the yarns. This means that the finished dyed yarns can be gently handwashed without losing their colours.
You can see what’s in stock today in my online shop.
You have a project in mind that requires multiple yarn skeins in co-ordinating shades. I sometimes hand-dye co-ordinating semi-solid sets, such as as this Cool Waters set. These tend to be exclusive non-repeatable sets.
If you have a particular colour combination in mind, drop me a message and I’ll be happy to discuss your requirements and dye it for you!
How a Seacell and Silk blended yarn knits and crochets
Combined with lustrous Silk in our 4ply, this Seacell and Silk yarn is incredibly soft and smooth. It has amazing sheen and fabulous depth of gleaming colour. It’s the perfect choice for that stunning unique lace scarf to drape around your shoulders on a summer evening.
It is incredibly drapey, so it gives a slinky finish to your accessories. You can wear it to dress up an outfit that might not look so special with a standard wool yarn.
Yorkshire-based knitwear designer Sandra Nesbitt designed the Flower Crescent Shawlette specifically to showcase a single skein of this fabulous yarn.
The knit kit includes a printed copy of the intermediate lace pattern plus one skein of Seacell Silk yarn in your choice of colour.
The pattern includes both written instructions and charts, so you can use whichever you prefer.
It’s a fabulous choice if you enjoy more intricate stitchwork and luxury yarn!
For an easy project to knit in front of the TV, use one 100gram skein of our Silk Seacell yarn to knit the Waterlap Shawl, designed by myself.
The knit kit includes a printed copy of the easy pattern plus one skein of Seacell Silk yarn in your choice of hand-dyed colourway.
The pattern includes both written instructions and a simple chart, so you can use whichever you prefer.
It’s a fabulous choice if you like a luxurious drapey scarf to wear as a little treat.
Tips on how to find the perfect pattern for your Silk and Seacell Yarn
There are a few things you will need to bear in mind when working with Seacell and Silk blends in your knitting and crochet.
Don’t expect a structured finish
Due to the draping nature of this yarn, it is unlikely that a full garment knit will work. The weight of the yarn and the stretch could make a simple shape look like it sags.
Instead concentrate on shawls and cowls, which will show off the lustre, colour and softness of this amazing yarn. Treat yourself to our Flower Row Crescent Shawlette or Waterlap Shawl knit kit to get a feel for the finish.
Consider your stitchwork
Whilst the yarn itself does have good memory and will tolerate more complex stitchwork, or lace stitches, if you are more of a beginner then I would suggest picking a pattern that isn’t too complicated.
Those more advanced will be more used to working with different yarns and so complicated stitches with slippery yarn will feel easier to cope with.
Choose the right needles
Selecting the best needles to work your yarn can be as important as selecting the right yarn for your pattern.
Bamboo or wooden needles give you a little extra grip as you knit or crochet, and would certainly help handle a more slippery yarn like our Seacell and Silk blend. I have a selection in my online shop if you need them.
A few pattern ideas
The shawl kits mentioned above are a great place to start your love of Silk Seacell yarns. Here are a few other project suggestions that will work equally well with this gorgeous yarn:
- Tehidy Shawl crochet design
- Sea Silk Stole knitted design by Bronagh Miskelly – 2 skeins
- In The Kelp Garden knitted design by Bronagh Miskelly – 2 skeins, knit kit coming soon
- ‘Close To You’ shawl, a free knitting pattern by Justyna Lorkowska on Ravelry – 1 skein
- ‘Bias’ shawl, a knitting pattern by Helena Bristow available to purchase on Ravelry – 1 or 2 skeins
I hope this has inspired your to try Seacell yarn. If you have any other queries about it, just drop me a message.