Tuesday, September 28, 2010


As a reward for making the Ugly Gloves, each day I would spin. I'm working toward a new silk fabric, with a few things in mind: it will have some spindle spun silk, and some wheel spun silk. It will be interesting to me to see if these yarns behave differently in the finished fabric.

You might remember the genesis of this project: some spindle spun silk with too much twist in the ply for knitting. I ran those skeins into a warp chain and overdyed them.

I gathered some previously spun silks, some the right color (Red. Need you ask?), and some of which I dyed.

Then I started spinning, and plying, spinning and plying, spinning and plying more silk, mostly on a wheel, but some additional on spindles while traveling this summer, all with the goal of a 2+/- yard piece of fabric in mind. Not a shawl per se, but shawl length. If the fabric is interesting it might become a shawl, if it is curious, it might become a curiosity (always good for instructional purposes). If it's really beautiful beyond words, it might become some other garment.

Nevertheless: I needed about 20-22 inches in width, and at 48 epi that's over 1000 ends, at at least 2 yards long, we'll say three for argument. That's a bit of spinning:

handspun silk warp Sept 2010

While spinning, I was imagining a ""red" look to the fabric. While dyeing, I can get carried away from any pre-set goal, mostly with golds and yellows (dyeing is fun! Oooh look! Nice color!). Gold and yellow are two very nice accent colors, but too much of a good thing is not a good thing in this case. Over-dyeing to the rescue:

silk warps dyed

The multi-colored warps are the wheel spun yarns. They are painted, then steamed to set the dye. To overdye, I used a crockpot with a very low depth of shade to correct, not cover up the color. You can see how light the color of the dyebath was, these ends were white:

silk ends

I always de-gum silk, yarns or fiber, before I dye, using a small amount of soda ash, detergent and hot water (I use the crockpot for this too). Silk varies in the amount of sericin left in the fiber, I always consider it partially de-gummed, through sad experience (sericin will take dye, being a protein substance, making the fiber look brilliant. But then sericin washes away, taking it's dye with it, making the silk less brilliant). This is the gunk that comes off the silk:


It will take me a week or so to get this on the loom, not that it will take that long to actually thread, but because I am away from home again, rewarding myself with a visit to this pumpkin:

marin Tuesday

And Patricia? Give my best to Tuck.


Blogger Unknown said...

Allow me to be the first.

Wonderful reward. Enjoy yourself.

Spinning? Silk? Red? I love red but the Pumpkin is cute!

9:44 PM  
Blogger sarah said...

You are ebil. Your colours are like broccoli or any other disliked food: regular exposure leads to loving them. I love your colours :-)

2:11 AM  
Blogger Patricia said...

Will do. And thank you!

7:58 AM  
Blogger Loree Jackson said...

Oh my gosh! What a beautiful pumpkin :)

11:49 AM  
Blogger Charlene said...

I'm feeling baby-deprived (but I don't want one of my own, or of my daughter's own just yet), so I think we should do a kitten-baby swap to feed our deprivations.

Today's Word Verification: Prednera: Very expensive drug meant to reduce inflammation the way prednisone does, but which in fact has only prednisone's side effects, such as moon-face (I got this once. Took ages to unswell).

9:43 AM  

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