The glories of silk

When I was first learning to spin, I had a couple of different kinds of wool, both dyed and natural, and I struggled with them. Drafting seemed sticky and I was incredibly slow with it. My spindle would slow and start to spin the other direction before I got very much done.

And then I bought some silk roving. It was an experiment, you see. Just to try new fibers.

That’s when it all clicked together for me. Spinning became a natural motion. And when I got my wheel, the first thing I spun on it was silk.

That was actually perfect because I treadle like mad — I spin laceweight on a regular-sized whorl because I treadle so darn fast even when I don’t have to. I think maybe I’m high-strung. *grin*

Eunny is talking about her experience spinning silk. (And about her gorgeous new Fair Isle sweater — I’m looking forward to seeing the whole thing, even though the pattern probably won’t be sized large enough for me. Interweave is not my favorite magazine, in part because of the sizing issue and while I gladly purchased one of Eunny’s sock patterns, her sweater vest isn’t sized for my impressive rack.) That’s what made me think about how much I love the process of it. I the feel of it through my fingers. Laceweight silk…. I’ve sold a bunch of wool yarns, especially the ever-popular thick-and-thin, but the laceweight silk sits in my yarn stash, waiting for me to make SOMETHING. I have no idea what, but when the idea finally comes to me, I’ll have the yarn, that’s for sure.

Most often, I wind up using it for plying. I can usually dye it to match whatever wool I’ve been working with, and it adds a wonderful strength and sheen to everything.

I prefer working with tussah — the warm honey color seems to glow, even when you dye over it.

This month’s offering from the Spunky Eclectic Fiber Club (which I really love, by the way) is two ounces of hand-dyed silk roving. I’ll post pictures later. Two ounces doesn’t sound like a lot, not when I’m used to buying wool by the pound. But when you’re spinning it cobweb-fine with the intention of plying it back on itself…. Two ounches goes further than you think!

Last night I spun for about 45 minutes. That 45 minutes netted me three small bumps on my bobbin. Barely anything. But the colors are gorgeous and the shine of the silk makes those three little bumps my favorite of anything I’ve spun recently.

I’m looking forward to going home and spinning more.

That sweater? The Tilli Thomas yarn for it would cost me $300. I’m…. There’s no way. But the more I think about it, the more I think I ought to just spin the yarn myself. I love silk. I love dyeing. I love that sweater.

So, that sweater made from silk I’ve spun and dyed myself? That sounds like a winner to me.


2 Responses to “The glories of silk”

  1. Monica Says:

    I love that sweater, thanks for pointing me to it! I think spinning your own silk yarn is a fabulous project. I look forward to seeing your progress.

  2. fiberfetish Says:

    Thanks, Monica!

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