Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Web Slinger

My four year old gandson is obsessed with Spiderman, and he spends a lot of time flinging imaginary webs at all of us. He's not here today, but he would be delighted with the silk hankie I've been spinning- it's perfect Spiderman-material.

I got these 2 hand-dyed silk hankies in a trade for some ginned cotton that I had on hand (my friend Ann sent me about 15lbs worth- I like spinning cotton, but it would take years to spin all of that, so I used some to trade for other fibers). I'm using the little laceweight millefiori spindle that I got from Butterflygirl Designs (link in Stash Enhancers on the right side of the page). It's a perfect weight for the threadweight silk single that I am spinning.

Spinning silk hankies (like spinning silk bells) is fairly easy- you pull a layer of silk off the surface of the hankie, stretch it out, and then spin it. It's easier than spinning silk top, though the yarn is never totally even (there are lumps and slubs, albeit teeny lumps and slubs). The biggest problem is that the silk fibers will hang up on microscopic snags on your skin and clothing, much like real spider webs. But the resultant yarn is gorgeous.

A silk hankie weighs about 7gr, and I have spun 3gr of the green one already. I have no idea how much yardage I'll get from these 2 hankies, but I'll bet the farm that it'll be more than 100yds per oz (this single is very fine), even after plying. I have some undyed silk bells on hand (same principle, different shape)- I think I'll ply these hankies with white silk from the bells.

Here's a tutorial on making silk hankies: (this is not something I'm tempted to try myself, but it's fascinating).
Here's an article on spinning silk hankies by Amy Singer (and she's right about them being very easy to spin): .
And here's a tutorial on spinning silk bells, which reminded me that you can knit unspun silk just as easily as the spun stuff:

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