Become part of the circle sharing inspiration for spinning and other fibre crafting. It is a warm and reassuring place, sort of like a favourite chair near a cosy fireside, where beginners and experts come and go as they please. It's a place to share what we know, learn from each other and display what we've created -- while supporting and inspiring each other on the wonderful journey associated with handspinning and wool-related crafts.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Falling in love with silk

Lots of woolly things happening again here, but what to talk about?

I could tell you the story behind a custom order for a macBook cover, using handspun wool, but it's very similar to things I have said before.
 I could tell you about using up odd bits of handspun wool to make brooches, hair grips and bobbles for a stall the Guild are holding this weekend and Compton Verney, but that too gets a bit repetitive.
 So how about I tell you about a series of talks we've had a Guild recently?  One of our members grows her own silk, and gave us an amazing talk about the history of silk, the different kinds of silk, the different properties of silk, and had samples upon samples of all these different silks, from tussah to mulberry, from cocoons, to hankies.  And it was the silk hankies that really excited me. 

A hankie is a stretched coccoon.  It has to be processed to remove the sericin (the glue the silk worm uses in making the cocoon), but then can be stretched into a square and dried.  This site  http://www.wormspit.com/mawatas.htm shows the process in more detail.
 Once you have these hankies you can seperate them out and then , whilst sticking your thumb through the centre of it, you stretch it.  Keep on stretching and stretching (there is a lot of fibre in these hankies), and yyou end up with a long loop.
 Break the loop, and you have a pure silk yarn.  No spinning required, you can knit or crochet with it as it is. 
Needless to say, I had to buy myself some hankies.  I've had a little play, but would like to dye them first and then have much more of a play. 
This coming month we are learning how to make paper from silk.  I am very much looking forward to learning more about this wonderful silk.