Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Spinning Silk Hankies

I bought these 25g packs of silk hankies as a spinning experiment :)

I laid out a few bits of gladwrap, and pulled apart the hankies into 12 stacks. (There were 3-5 hankies in each stack, but super-thin). I painted these with a mix of dye, vinegar and detergent.

Used yellow, teal and green from my dye kit. The hankies were light and clingy, and difficult to deal with. I later discovered that it's easier to dye the stack and then separate them! Next time...

I rolled up the gladwrap, and microwaved them, then hung them on a makeshift line to dry.

They came out a bit, crunchy, but I couldn't think how to rinse them. As for spinning, it was difficult to pull the fibres apart, to stretch them out for spinning. My hands hurt from the effort after a few hankies. Then I thought to Google for instructions, and found some good advice in Knitty.

The singles were very nubbley (from the thicker edges, perhaps) and thick and thin. But this silk has an amazing strength! You can stretch it until it looks like a dozen cobwebs, let a bit of twist up your fibre to give it strength, and it doesn't hardly ever break! My 25g of silk spun 414m of singles. I navajo-plied it, which is 3ply, but if I had 2plied it (as is usual for laceweight) it would have *been laceweight*, which is my record thinnest, I think.

So silk hankies are not my favorite thing. I didn't like the slubby, uneven finished product, the singles were undertwisted, and my hands can still remember the ache. But it is only my first attempt. I'll be trying this again one day.


kelgell said...

They look like sushi rolls in the dye bake stage. Pictures don't do justice. Wish I could feel it and see the texture properly. Interesting though.

Lynne said...

I have some silk hankies to knit up. Apparently you don't need to spin it, just draft it then knit with it! But I'm not a spinner so I've probably got that not quite right!

Locations of visitors to this page