80% Milk Protein, 20% Superwash Merino
+/- 500 yd / 457 m
8.5-9 sts / in US #1
Milky Way presents vast possibilities and could easily fulfill many of your yarn needs. Milk protein fiber seems new and cool, so I was surprised to find that it was developed in the early 1930s. Milk protein fiber was extensively used through the 1930s and 1940s, but nearly disappeared in the late 1940s. It continued to be used, but was not part of the consumer conciousness again until the 1990s.
Milk protein is a natural product, and the process for creating fiber from the casein protein derived from milk is a wet spinning and drying process. It is not listed as a manufactured fiber on government and international standards lists. I thought it might be a rayon, but casein is a protein, not a cellulose fiber so it doesn't qualify. I learned quite a bit reading a patent application for a new process of producing milk protein fiber, and from historical information. You can get a nice idea of the state of milk protein fiber here.
If you look at this second post on the Fiber of My Being blog you will get the information that I think as a knitter, you really want! You can see from the photos of the fiber, that it has a distinct luster, and that is what gives Milky Way its soft sheen. It also makes it a little slippery which gives it good drape and allows the stitches to open up. The stickiness she refers to is both a positive and a negative.
I originally selected Milky Way for an update of Belon, a garter lace shawl. A revision of the current pattern, with the sample done in Milky Way, is due out in the fall of 2017. I have personally knit Belon in three different yarn types: 1) pure silk, 2) a cotton-merino-possum blend, and 3) a rayon. The silk and rayon were quite slippery and had lovely drape. The silk was light-as-a-feather, while the rayon was a similar weight to Milky Way, so had more substance. The cotton-merino-possum made a slightly more casual fabric, but it still had great drape.
So Milky Way had to meet some high expectations. What I found was a perfect blending of the characteristics of the three other yarns I had used. I ended up with a lovely shawl (knit by someone else!) with great drape that showed off the stitch pattern to perfection.