Updated February 13, 2021.
Straw Silk is a new 100% silk thread from Silk Road Fibers. It comes in 10-meter packages for needlework. Currently, it is available in 25 colors. All of these threads are hand-dyed.
The thread is a flat thread between 1/16″ and 1/8″ wide, It really does have the texture of straw so you can use it for areas such as witch’s brooms or manger straw where finding the right texture might have been a problem. In early 2021 it comes in 102 colors.
I had heard many things about this thread so I was excited to try it. I tested it in several different ways on two Kelly Clark mittens, one on 13-mesh and one on 18. In the process, I noted several things that will affect how you’ll use this thread.
Color: This thread is hand-dyed and while the colors are variations of a single color, there are clear changes, so you cannot use this for Basketweave without diagonal lines. The colors are a mix of a few bright colors, many natural colors, and some muted shades. The colors are lovely but one color, white is not currently available.
Tent Stitch: I tried Straw Silk on both mesh sizes with Continental Stitch. The stitch covered without distortion on both sizes. I also found on 13-mesh that the coverage was good enough to cover white canvas. I find that color variations were obvious when I changed threads (look at the cuff).
On 18-mesh Tent was a bit harder to stitch but the thread did not distort the canvas.
Textured Stitch: I loved how textured stitches looked on 13-mesh. The stitch, Giant Cashmere, was flat. The longer stitches did a good job of showing off the thread. Because it is flat, the threads can twist. I found this easy to fix using my fingers and being careful, but you may want to use a laying tool. Because of the almost-matte texture of the thread, twists can be less noticeable in Straw Silk.
For textured stitches on 18-mesh, did not like the look of the full strands for Criss-cross Hungarian. It looked heavy, had poor detail, and felt crowded. I had better success when I split strands (see below) and found that this stitch looked great in a more complex textured stitch. A more open stitch, T Stitch, worked fine on 18-mesh with full strands.
Splitting Threads: I had heard that this thread could be split. While it can be I found it difficult to separate individual strands. I still don’t know if it has 6 or 8 strands in it, I could not separate them all. I could, with some difficulty, split the strands in half, but to split the entire length of thread you must peel the two parts away from each other (move your hands apart), and not pulling straight as you would with floss. Pulling will not separate this thread.
Once I figured out where to split on each length, the process went quickly enough, but if you guess wrong, it can be difficult to get additional strands out.
I used the split strands and T Stitch to stitch the main part of the mitten. To spread the color changes out, I stitched in diagonal rows, doing all the stitches in one direction first, then all the stitches in the other direction.
Because Criss-cross Hungarian is done in straight rows, I just stitched as I normally would and got excellent coverage.
Conclusions: Straw Silk is an outstanding thread.
- To replicate straw it will work well of mesh sizes from 13 to 18.
- You can use it as is for any type of stitch on the larger mesh sizes.
- When stitching Tent use Continental, not Basketweave because of color variations.
- Using a laying tool may help with longer stitches.
- On smaller meshes you may need to split the threads for good results.
Straw Silk is a lovely thread, easier to use than many other flat or silk threads. It has outstanding results on 13-mesh and good results on 18-mesh. The hand-dyed colors and interesting texture make it excellent for backgrounds and areas outside the focal point.