Thursday, July 23, 2009


So while the babies slept yesterday I decided to pull my silk back out and give it a go again. Silk is kinda a pain in the butt to work with since it catches on everything. I thought I'd try a new way to wrangle it this time to see if it did me any good.
So here is my process:
1. This is a silk is made up of layers of individual whole silk cacoons that have been stretched one by one over a frame. Because it is the whole cacoon there will be both long and short fibers so don't expect a perfectly smooth yarn.2. Isolate ande peel off one layer.
3. Poke a hole in the middle.
4. Stretch.5. Keep stretching until it's fairly close to the diameter you want your single to be. In this case I am spinning it very fine so I went a long way with the stretching. With silk you want to keep your hands fairly far apart...8-12 inches I'd say, moving closer as neccesary. Also, the more you predraft the more luster your yarn will have. Oh and don't forget to soften up your hands with some lotion first or you'll think you'd just coated your hands in glue with the way silk clings.
6. Break the ring at some point. You can do this anywhere you want, if you have hankies that are dyed multiple colors, you may choose to always break at the same point in the colors to keep your pattern the same.7. Spin. I wrapped my silk around my papertowel holder. I thought it would be smooth enough to allow the silk to come away freely but it did snag quite a bit. Next time I think I will just pile it into a bowl and see how that works. Oh and because the staple length is so long you don't need a ton of twist it holds together really well.Here it is spun up on the spindle - There are about 4 cacoons already spun on there.I must say you do get a lot of bang for your buck with silk hankies. Plus you can get them cheaper if you buy them undyed and you can use kool-aid to dye them too.
Anyway, there you go, a mini tutorial on spinning silk hankies.


Alexis AKA MOM said...

Wow my dear that is really cool, I love to see all the steps! That purple is so pretty!

Don't worry lot's of pictures and bragging to get him on board to go :). Maybe we can talk Great Wolf into another mommy blogger adventure :)

L J said...

LOL... you do get bang for your buck with silk.

I have to "soften" my hands for a week or so prior to playing with silk. I haven't ever tried winding mine around "something" other than around my left wrist. In an anti-clockwise way.

Snakes will be on a plane in September. :-)

jeanius said...

If you go the undyed route, steam set the dye instead of microwaving or kettle dyeing. It helps keep your silk shiny.

Pretty spinning!