Monday, March 10, 2008


I am not the greatest silk spinner in the world, although thanks to a few ace tutors, I am better than I was.

Most everywhere, these days, it seems that the way to go (and I am in no way arguing with this) is to spin fine and high twist. Because? Accentuates the lustre, and makes it more durable.

However, a few years ago, I heard a talk by Priscilla Lowry on her knitwaer, and how to spin a lofty silk for it. The garments were delightful, and very durable, some had quite a bit of mileage on them. There was food for thought there, but I didn't nibble for a while.

Then, coincidentally and serendipitously, I unearthed a silk scarf that I had made previously, and mislaid. The spinning had been done before having had any tuition, and I appeared to have created a rather thicker and smooshier yarn than I might do now.

bronze silk scarf

So, I started wearing and enjoying it, and likewise thought no more about it for a while. (The stitch, by the way, couldn't be easier - faggotting, K1YO on one row, YOK1 on the way back. Which also coincidentally, shows off the yarn very well.)

So, there I am, considering the plannng of Spin to Knit, and I remember silk, and the scarf. This lightbulb moment sent me to the stash, and I found some glorious silks - oh, and guess what some of my favourite colours are! - which I managed to spend an hour last night working with.


spinning silk

It is quite tricky to spin silk in the way I want, to to try to replicate the scarf. To make it thicker, you need to keep the fibre supply fanned out into a wider drafting triangle with your back hand; to discipline yourself not to draft out the forming yarn as finely as usual; and to take extra care with the drafting as spinning slightly thicker increases the risk of uneveness or slubs; and all the while, treadling fairly slowly, as this isn't meant to be ultra-high twist yarn.

The proof of this particular pudding is going to be in the plying - any major unevenly drafted areas will show up as if in high magnification. Shall I be brave enough to come clean?

What I am meant to be doing of course, is organising the needlefelting workshop for Friday, and I am actually getting down to it, believe it or not. In the process, I have found some more luscious silks! Now, there's a reward.


spinningmaid said...

Those blue and green silks are utterly gorgeous!! I want, want, want...

beadlizard said...

For me, that is the absolute hardest style and grist of silk to spin. Once I get it flowing out of my hand I can fill a bobbin, but I find spinning a high-twist froghair infinitely easier.

I love the way you write about spinning. It clicks.