Our Journey from Eri Silk Fibre to Eri Silk Plied Knitting Yarn

Did you know that Muezart now brings you a special yarn – a knitting yarn made of silk – the Eri silk knitting yarn? 

Silk knitting yarn | Muezart

For all knitting lovers this must be great news – an all-weather yarn that will feel soft enough to knit with, any time of the year, and will keep you warm in winter and can be used in summers too.

Eri Silk Knitting Yarn – from Meghalaya

You would have heard of Eri silk yarn being used to weave Eri silk fabric. But did you know it can be used for knitting too?

For the first time, Muezart offers Eri silk knitting yarn – a fingering yarn you can knit with. We think we are the first to offer Eri silk knitting yarn in India.  Correct us if we are wrong.

How did this knitting yarn come to be? The story has a lot to do with the knitting community. Makers like you asking us for a thicker yarn.

There is a story behind Muezart’s journey – from Eri silk fibre to Eri silk plied knitting yarn.

Before we start with the story, we need to build the context.

Muezart too is a Business that Believes in Profit With a Purpose

Muezart is a unit of Chillibreeze Solutions  which believes in the immense potential of the land and the people of Meghalaya, a bio-diversity rich state in the Northeast of India. We are a business with purpose.

The Purpose of Chillibreeze goes beyond being a profitable company.
Through the diligent work of a healthy company, we are creating wealth, providing purpose and releasing the potential of customers, employees, families and community. As a role model, Chillibreeze' s influence spreads throughout Northeast India and beyond.

All the units of Chillibreeze share the same vision and work to spot and unleash the potential of this state – be it of the people, or in the diverse agricultural produce including many medicinal herbs and spices, or the rich knowledge passed down generations like- Eri silk weaving, black pottery etc.

Muezart came to be when team Zizira (a sister unit) a group of villagers who were Eri silkworm rearer’s and Eri silk spinners and weavers.

These villagers were following an age-old technique of Eri silkworm rearing and Eri silk weaving. It was a connection meant to be when team Zizira realized the regenerative potential of the sustainable Eri silk eco-system.

Team Zizira quickly learned their problem too: The weavers had no steady market for their products. This was a Eureka moment!

Where others saw a problem of no market, we saw an opportunity – here was a potential waiting to be unleashed. The potential of Eri silk fits into our company’s vision - to solve a problem with a successful business. Thus, was born Muezart, in the year 2019.

Muezart Learns as it Goes

We will be dishonest if we say that Muezart knew everything about Eri silk when we started. No. All we knew was that Eri Silkworm rearing is an industry waiting to be regenerated and doing so would make a difference to the villagers of Meghalaya. And, that it could be done as a profitable business.

We learnt all that was there to learn through our meetings with villagers who knew the art of Eri silkworm rearing and spinning.

Started with Eri Silk Fibre

We started by sourcing Eri silk fibre and then yarn that the spinners created. For centuries a thin single, hand-spun yarn has been spun by village women of Meghalaya. Our motivation for sourcing was to create a market for the industrious women.

We were amazed that humans could spin such thin, fine yarn – the type you can create lace with. We gave designs and got the spinners to create shawls and stoles. What you see below are three of our popular scarves – one of our first products.

Silk scarves India | Muezart India

We dyed them using plant-based dyes – again an age-old technique. These products started to get noticed and we got traction on our eStore.

Demand For Thicker DK Yarn Seen

Muezart started to create a market for Eri silk fibre and yarn – and made an interesting discovery. In India they seemed to weave with thin yarn. But Muezart.com was targeted at the west and most of our potential customers wanted thicker yarn to spin with! Hmm... This got the team on a new discovery path.  

Muezart decided to find out more about thicker Eri silk yarn - first step towards innovation and a new product line.  

Muezart invited an expert Eri silk weaver from a village to come to the Muezart studio and coach us. Rida, a Muezart maker, learnt spinning and weaving from her. She caught on super-fast and was soon ready to experiment further.

She upscaled waste Eri silk . And she learnt to spin thicker, DK yarn. There was much excitement when Muezart became capable of creating Dk yarn to knit with. Muezart took this learning to the community and coached them on how to create DK yarn. It was not easy for them – some persevered and are now benefitting by the better price they get for the thicker yarn they spin.

Silk India | Muezart India
                                    Rida giving training to the Farm girls on Eri Silk Spinning

Within days of bringing DK Eri silk yarn to the market Muezart had an enquiry from a New York designer who went on to buy the yarn, and she created an outfit which was showcased in her show.

Here is the full story of how Muezart’ s DK Eri silk yarn reached a New York Fashion house.

Eri Silk Fashion | Muezart Silk

 

What Muezart had supplied to Mimi Prober was hand-made DK yarn.

Plied Yarn – A Favorite of Knitters

Muezart still had more to learn. All of our thicker fingering and DK hand spun yarn were singles! A little more research into knitting yarn made it clear that we needed to create plied yarn as most knitting yarns are plied.

What is plying?

In very simple terms – two or more single yarn twisted together to form a single yarn.

Muezart believes in building capacities in-house and then coaching villagers and building skills in them. So, Muezart invested in a plying machine – a hand operated one and Rida learnt the technique of plying – and soon mastered it!

Here is Rida plying

It was fascinating to see how soft and pliable the yarn became once it was plied. Is that why the process is called plying?!

Muezart was now ready to supply plied yarn to the knitting community! By this time Muezart had launched a website targeted at knitters and craft makers in India – Muezart.in.  

Here is a visual snapshot of our ‘Knowledge Upgrade Timeline’

As you can see, we started by catering to the community of weavers in countries outside India and now we are catering to the knitting community all over the world – with the biggest engagement happening within India.

How Does Eri Silk Knitting Yarn Add Value to Knitters?

Most knitters take a break during summers – as knitting wool is hard to handle during hot days. Eri silk knitting yarn is a boon for them. It feels soft and is non-itchy. We have a nickname, ‘a wooly yarn with no itch’. With Muezart’s yarn you can work on your knitting project throughout the year.

Eri silk knitting yarn is a new type of yarn in the market. Something special. So, whatever you knit with it could become a topic of conversation among your friends. 😊

Of course, the other valuable points to note are that Muezart uses only plant based colors. And, the production of Eri Silk, also called Peace Silk (as some of the silkworms are not killed to get silk) is totally sustainable and does not hurt the environment in any way.

We feel good that we created something totally new for the knitting community – a range of Eri silk Knitting Yarn.  

Muezart Creating a Market for Eri Silk Spinners Who Deliver Quality

Our network of spinners and weavers is increasing – there are some who had never worked with Eri silk before but are now learning the art – so they can add to their monthly income. They know that they have a buyer in Muezart! But Muezart is strict about quality – we buy all that someone has to offer, as long as the quality meets our requirements.

We look for:

1) Quality of the cocoons: Good cocoons are whiter, no debris or dirt and soft and has a slight sheen

2) Consistency of the hand spun yarn

3) Twist free yarn

4) Soft yarn

5) Damage free yarn: Moth free, mould, mildew and musty free

Here is a sample of a yarn we approved and bought.

Good quality yarn | Muezart silk

Here is a sample of a reject.

Damaged yarn | Muezart Silk

We see the villagers who are into Eri silk emerging as entrepreneurs! Some of them work as a collective and supply to Muezart. Very heartening to see that happening. Why? Because when we started, we did so to create a market for Eri silk yarn from Meghalaya in such a way that this heritage industry grows in a sustainable way creating opportunities for villagers. And it seems to be happening. 🤞

A Village in Meghalaya Named the ‘Eri Silk Village’

We work with villagers from Umden in Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya. In February 2020 Umden village was named as the Eri silk village by the Govt. of Meghalaya.

Eri Silk Village | Muezart Silk         
Source of image

Muezart cannot take credit for it but, we sincerely feel that our efforts through Muezart to bring Eri silk of Meghalaya and its weavers to the limelight would have nudged this to happen! Muezart’ s only focus is Eri silk, its spinners and weavers.

This is why we do what we do:

Muezart Exists To...

Regenerate a little-known silk and the women who make it.

We continue to stand by this commitment.

We have shared with you the story of our journey from Eri Silk Fibre to Eri Silk Knitting Yarn. Hope you found it useful.

We are constantly looking to understand the needs of our customers like you and add value. Subscribe to our newsletter to get updates from the world of Eri silk from Meghalaya. 

Are you a knitter? Do not miss trying this very new knitting yarn in the market – Muezart’ s Eri silk knitting yarn.

You have a question? Reach out to us through the comment box below.


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