Monday, February 27, 2006

how to spin a silk hankie

Dawn, from Not all those who wander are lost, has asked for an explanation of a silk bell or silk hankie. A silk hankie is made from a cocoon that has been stretched over a bamboo frame. It is made up of several layers, with each layer being made up of one cocoon. Image hosting by Photobucket This hankie has be dyed already, so all I have to do is separate the layers. I needed to prepare (exfoliate) my hands first because the thin layers of silk threads will stick to your hands if they are not, smooth as silk. I read about a mixture of sugar and olive oil to rub into your hands first. It worked quite well. Image hosting by Photobucket The next step is to push your fingers through the center of the thin hankie... Image hosting by Photobucket then you keep pulling (in an outward fashion) until you get a big circle...this is a method of pre-drafting the silk...and you can continue doing this until you have the desired thickness/ or thin-ness required for your project. There are some people who go ahead and knit or crochet with the silk as it is in this stage..but I wanted to spin it first. Image hosting by Photobucket My single hankie did not spin very much in the way of yardage. I spun a thin single, which I plan to string some beads on, and then perhaps ply it with something else. Image hosting by Photobucket I really just enjoyed the process of this type of spinning/drafting. It was different than anything else I have done with silk to date. The colors and the shine and the tiny thin threads all sparkling, were a delight for my eyes to gaze upon (at the end of Feb. with the dull gray and white frosted landscape outside my window). I should have brought several hankies.


Leslie Shelor said...

Great explanation! I haven't done hankies, but I can usually get a good bit of yardage out of a bell. Love taking them apart. Yours has spun up lovely!

Spinner Gal said...

That spun up beautifully! Love the Great Wheel in the back!

cyndy said...


I have never done a bell, in fact, I have never seen one in person. I wonder if they have more layers than a hankie?


Judith said...

I would think that takes talent & I see you have it. When my son was in first grade he had permission to take home the classroom silkworm for the summer because we had a Mulberry tree in the backyard. What an appetite that silkworm had! It was a memorable experience, living w/a silkworm.

Dawn said...

Thanks so much for the lovely explanation! and also the pictures! I am more of a visual student in these things myself. It looks very nice, and lots of fun too!

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