Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Silk Tops

After spinning my own dyed silk bricks for several years I have become dissatisfied with the lengths of the fibres in the brick. It seemed to me that there were/are more batches of shorter and varied length fibres that were making the dyeing process difficult, caused by wastage because fibres along the length of the brick were breaking away, making it look very untidy and fibre loss.
At first, because I had spun little silk over the winter, I wondered if it was my technique at fault. Then I had reason to spin a brick that I had dyed some years ago. I found the fibre to be of a more consistent length and could control the style of yarn more easily. So, I hadn't imagined the change.
After trying two or three bricks I ordered silk tops. I spun a sample un-dyed and found the fibres to be more consistent and it was much easier to control the style/smoothness of yarn. Maybe I had hit on the solution to being disheartened about spinning my favourite fibre. Then came the test dyeing the tops.
I wound the very long length, 100g, of fibre on my niddy noddy just as I do with woollen yarn, put 4 figure of eight ties in the skein, soaked and dyed it.
It took less time to soak than a brick of 125g. First plus point. There was less fibre disturbance through the processes of dying rinsing and drying - second plus. It dried quicker because I was able to hang the length of tops across my dryer- third plus. Spinning was much more satisfying because I could spin a smoother,finer yarn without having to deal with batches of short fibres - plus four.
I have spun 100g of the 200g dyed and I am vey pleased that I can now resume a relaxing, satisfying process that I had enjoyed for so long.

I have woven several silk items since my last post and I am waiting for a bright, dry day to take photos. As soon as I have managed this I'll be posting again.