Monday, April 27, 2009
The Silk Hankie Saga
Last year I toured a silk factory in China. I tried to buy cocoons, but got a very weird look from the Boss Man. I was supposed to be buying other stuff, like silk-filled, silk-covered quilts and thousand-dollar silk rugs. All I wanted was cocoons.
One of the cool things they showed us in the silk factory was how the silk cocoons were opened and stretched over a frame to make layers and layers of batting (for the expensive silk quilts we were supposed to buy). Little did I know that a year later I'd be wrestling with my own little pile of stretched silk cocoons!
That is what a silk hankie is - a silkworm cocoon that has been stretched. I bought a few ounces of silk hankies, threw on some dye, cooked it in the microwave, and voila. Spinnable Natural Fiber Thingie.
Anyway, I had NO IDEA that this hankie would be such a hassle to spin! The silk fibers are so so so fine that they catch on everything, mainly, my dry hands. So, handling it is tricky, and if you have dry hands it will make you feel old. Second, the hankie has to be completely pulled into a roving, and I mean COMPLETELY, because it is nearly impossible to draft while spinning. I pulled my hankies into wispy, sticky, gorgeous, teeny roving.
BUT IT IS WORTH IT. Wow. I love the results so far. I'm using a Greensleeves Barebones spindle. I'm going to spin up these two hankies and ply it with some lamb/alpaca.