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I am captivated by the Fortune Teller Cuff by Olga Buraya-Kefelian.

I’ve always been attracted to Olga’s designs particularly her sculptural ones. Another favorite of mine is the Boko Boko cowl—stiff peaks for the win!

The Fortune Teller Cuff and Boko Boko cowl rise to the occasion, so to speak, by using Chromium yarn carried with a fine tightly plied yarn like Organic Studio Sock. Chromium (69% Silk Noil 31% Stainless Steel) from Neighborhood Fiber Company is a very fine wire plied with silk noil.

The tiny bit of wire and the texture of the silk noil give any yarn it’s paired with a bit of structure allowing knitted fabric to be shaped a bit. Coupled with a yarn that has good stitch definition itself and a stitch pattern that is structural you get shaped knitting that defies gravity, almost like it’s been starched.

I was curious (who me?) about using Chromium in other ways. What happens if, pairing it with the same yarn as for Fortune Teller Cuff—Neighborhood Fiber Company Organic Studio Sock—I just knit regular stockinette with it? Fascinating stuff, is what.

How it looks

Depending on the two colors you choose, the effect of knitting them held together is marled (high contrast) or more subtle like a semi solid (low contrast). I’m working a pink on pink semi solid. The surface of my knitting looks more textured than the Organic Sock on its own—a little something is going on in the fabric, like water right before it hits the boil.

The silk doesn’t completely wrap the wire, so there are little glints of silver peeking though. The wire helps stitches stay open and crisp, even at a larger gauge.

The looser the gauge—and Chromium will help a yarn gauge shift and hold—the more it’s obvious that there are two yarns held together. I found that the larger the needle I used, the easier it was to miss the Chromium strand. Sometimes I fixed it, sometimes I just grabbed the errant strand or loop on the next row, sometimes I just left it loose. Make-it-work is my middle name.

What you don’t get knitting at a looser gauge is consistently sized and shaped stitches. The looser I went the more individual stitches did their own thing. I didn’t mind a little elongation here or a little extra roundness there, it give the knitting a dynamic quality.

What I did get at a looser gauge is the ability to scrunch the fabric and have it stay collapsed. The difference between the swatch knit at Fortune Teller Cuff gauge and one knit on needles three sizes bigger, was pretty dramatic. The tighter gauge holds its shape and the stitches are more consistent, the looser gauge is more organic looking and holds random scrunching for fun.

How it feels

The type of silk the wire is wrapped in is not the smooth shiny silk we frequently find in knitting yarns. Silk noil, also called raw silk, has a textured, matte surface that helps it grab the yarns it’s paired with.

The feel of a Merino yarn and Chromium held together, is a bit like linen or cotton, there is a feeling of grip or drag when you pet it. The little bit of rigidity of the fine wire really changes the hand of knitting. It’s still soft and the wire doesn’t poke through, but it’s definitely firmer than the Studio Sock alone. There is drape, but it’s not the cascading or swingy type of drape that fine Merino yarns have.

How it acts

A wired yarn adds boldness to knitting whether you are knitting structural designs Fortune Teller Cuffs or playing with stitch patterns and gauges. It reinforces stitches allowing any yarn paired with it to shift to a more open gauge. 

I like the look of brioche knitting with these two yarns. The Chromium helps hold the layers of knitting a bit apart and makes the brioche stiches really show even at a looser gauge.

I knit my favorite English Mesh lace pattern at an open gauge, a needle or two bigger than I would have knit it with Studio Sock alone. What’s exciting to me is how the lace pattern shows. The overall pattern is clear and so is the small bud motif. Some of the stitches are charmingly wonky, but I don’t mind it at all. Imagine Chromium held with a fine luxury yarn and knit into open lace earrings.

Hey Hey, Haze

I also paired Chromium with Kid Silk Haze. It’s bliss.

I knit at medium-big gauge and I love the look and feel. The KSH makes it feel silkier than knitting with Merino, but it has some oomph of structure. I especially like it scrunched. I’m sure the scrunching in all of these swatches will hang out over time, but I would happily re-scrunch my scarf, shawl or sweater throughout my day.

Of course, I had to try lace with KSH, so I whipped out a swatch using Ann’s Belinda pattern. 

This would be an amazing project given how Chromium hold stitches open. The pattern utilizes perpendicular layering by knitting two lace pieces and folding them together. It makes a windowpane structure when it’s done.

Wired knitting would make the knitting bolder, and the layering would have extra visual energy, since it wouldn’t necessarily lay flat, some spots could be a bit scrunched and some flat. What could be done with color as well as the structure makes me do a little wiggly dance at my desk, the marls, the contrasts all stacked and blown open with a loose gauge. 

I plan on pairing Chromium with other yarns and fiber blends just to see what happens, there is so much creative possibility with this unique yarn.

About The Author

Jillian Moreno spins, knits and weaves just so she can touch all of the fibers. She wrote the book Yarnitecture: A Knitter’s Guide to Spinning: Building Exactly the Yarn You Want so she could use all of the fiber words. Keep up with her exploits at


  • Jillian,
    For your Belinda swatch did you use two strands of mohair plus the Chromium?

    • One strand of each!

  • This is fascinating, thanks Jillian. I would love to get my hands on your swatches to feel what you showed us. Chromium is definitely a yarn I would like to try soon.

  • I paired chromium w/ a kidsilk haze -type yarn for a simple cowl and agree it’s a fabulous combination. The chromium gives the mohair just a bit of structure so a light, frothy cowl stays where I put it. Love the combination!

    • So interesting!

  • I love how it holds the lace open!

  • Another excellent yarn review – now I want to try some Chromium!

  • Fascinating! I would probably never have tried this on my own, and now I think I could. Thank you!

  • I bought several different colors of Chromium when I visited Neighborhood Fiber a couple of years ago. TOTALLY intrigued with it! I’ve played with it in several patterns, but in each case ripped them out after deciding they weren’t quite right for that very cool yarn. This piece re-inspires me to try some more. Cheers!

  • If the Chromium is scrunched too many times, will that weaken the metal and ultimately cause it to break leaving a sharp end sticking out of the fabric?

  • Sounds like an interesting adventure! Stainless steel yarn will give knitted items more shape.. Cant wait to try it!

  • Heya! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone 3gs! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the fantastic work!

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