Thursday, March 29, 2007

Spinning Silk Hankies

My spinning wheel, Annabel Lee, lives on our unheated closed-in back porch. She has been lonely for most of the winter--but this week's gorgeously warm afternoons have me dreaming of unspun fibers.

Today I pulled out a beautifully-dyed silk hankie that Son helped pick out at Rhinebeck.



Then I quickly looked up the very helpful directions I remembered reading on Knitty about how to spin silk hankies.

First, peel off just one thin layer of the hankie. This is one cocoon which has been stretched out to dry on a frame.





Put your fingers through the center, pulling outward to a hold is formed in the middle and the surrounding fibers begin to draft. You can draft so the roving is thick or really quite thin.



Break it apart in one spot and roll the remaining fibers very loosely to store until you spin it up.




My hankie was made up of roughly 10 layers.

Although the Knitty article suggests that this fiber is perfect for spindles, I used my wheel and got just a bit of yarn on the bobbin.



Shall I purchase another few hankies at MD Sheep and Wool to ply this with? Or knit a bit of trim onto something? Or ply with Cormo or BFL or something? I'd love some ideas!

P.S. Some of these photos were taken with sunlight and some with flash. Neither is at all color-accurate. Imagine something in between.

1 comment:

beadlizard said...

DD and I take silk hankies with us on plane and car rides and sit contentedly pre-drafting.

I like to ply the silk with a smooth silk singles in a close or the same colourway.

Nancy Finn at Chasing Rainbows dyes lovely silk caps (and tussah and and and...)

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