Group Order of Sanjo Silk

Group Order of Sanjo Silk

The January Meeting of our local Weavers and Spinners guild had a Zoom presentation on silk from the owners of Sanjo Silk (B.C. Canada). They talked about the different types of silk, about some of their acquisition trips to buy silk and showed us some of what they had in their store.  It was all quite inspiring with the silk giving lots of ideas for future spinning or projects.

1 web page of Sanjo silk showing some of the silk they offer (Fiber, Yarn and cool odd stuff)

After the meeting, there was an inquiry if there would be interest in a group purchase to reduce the cost of shipping. Their website offered free shipping over $200.00 Canadian (before taxes). There was another discount if we had a higher number too, but we doubted we could spend that much.  We had a small number of enthusiastic shoppers express interest and our new Yarn Convener set out to organize our shopping.

We perused the website  and selected our drool-able lists. We then added the costs up and each sent our list to Deborah. She collected our payments, tallied the master list and sent out the order. She organized it all through E-Transfers, (I had never sent money by an E-Transfer, it was all very exciting!) She even organized E-refunds when we had collective spend enough for a further price reduction!!

Deborah had some cool stats that may interest you.

After not very long a LARGE box arrived! Deborah did a sort of the loot into each of our lists then dispersed it among the group.

2 the box arrives!!

3 our combined loot out of the box

I had a specific interest in my acquisitions; I was interested mainly in some of the colours that silk comes in besides white. I chose 3 options for further investigation. (Tussah, Muga and Eri)

4-5 Mr. Mer helps me set up for the fibre photoshoot

The Peduncle tussah silk was a silvery brown. This is fibre from the pediculus (foot) of the cocoon.  On their website, it is described as Pewter in fibre form, with a stunning lustre of Brownish-grey. It was the least expensive of the three coloured silks I selected at $11.25 for 50g. I am sorry I did not get more it would be exquisitely blended with fine dark wool.

6-7 Peduncle tussah silk

The Golden Muga silk was a blond colour. This one was described as “liquid gold”. They did warn that there is a lot of natural variation between batches they receive. The differences are caused by variations in diet and environment for the silkworms. They suggest you get enough for an entire project at once so you don’t have variations within the colour range by getting different batches. This one was $16.90 for 50g. I think I would like to see what variation is available so may order again and hope to get it from another batch.

8-9 Golden Muga silk

The Red Eri Silk was a Fox colour orange/gold.  Their website described it as a deep Orange-butterscotch, soft Luxuriously lustrous and long staple-length fibre, prepared in a thick roving. I am wondering if Mrs. Mer would like some of this blended with another fibre for her hair and possibly some fishy body highlight.  This was $18.80 for 50g.

10-11 Red Eri Silk

While browsing I spotted the oddest looking “cocoons” I have ever seen, full of little holes and in a golden colour. I had to add them to the list! They were listed as Gold Cricula Cocoons (wild) from Indonesia. They further explain that this is the outer part that attaches to the tree branch. The strong gold colour is from the Sericin, if it is removed the silk will be a pale yellow. It was suggested that you can “soak your cricula cocoons in water (with a dash of pH-neutral soap); reshape them, enhancing their dome shape with your fingers; let them dry. Or iron them flat for use in 2D projects”.  My brain immediately started thinking about a top for Mrs. Mer!! I am sure that you will think of much more exciting things to try with this cool cocoon attachment! A bag of 5g (a large handful) was $7.00.

12-13 Gold Cricula Cocoons (wild) from Indonesia

The next two selections were similar to each other.  The first was 100% Silk Carrier Rods (7 casings for $6.00.) the description was that “they’re actually part of the silk-reeling process. These carrier rods are stiff, strong, and smooth. Some are straight, some curved – they’re very sculptural. And they dye beautifully. (Also see our Silk Casings, which are thinner and finer.)”

14-15 Silk Carrier Rods 

Yes, I got the bag of the 100% Silk Casings too, they were priced at $6.00 for 14gr. Their description was; “Although these curious items look a bit “insectoid”, they aren’t. They are bi-products of the silk spinning industry. Each one is unique. They’re similar to the Carrier Rods we also carry, but they’re thinner, finer, and more pliable. Some are ridgey and corrugated, some are not. Each package is a variety of shapes and configurations. Use them for jewelry, to embellish art pieces, or just enjoy their stunning good looks.

16 Silk Casings

From the meeting, I remember they described both as waste products of the silk reeling industry. It is good to have what was considered waste be available to us, I am sure we will find a use for it! I had considered from the web picture possibilities for horns but I don’t think I have enough of the ribbed shape to do that. It is still weird and will likely percolate many odd ideas in the future. In the meantime, I will just enjoy their oddness and may add a few to my demo stuff. Oh, note that they have been cut off so the length of the fibre if separated would be short.

Lastly, I did get a white silk blend with Linin, I think this was a mill end, 97% Eri Silk and 3% Linen (trace amounts). The mill that made this has some debate as to exactly how much linen is included but it will be 3% or less. I seem to have a section where I can’t feel or see anything that looks like Linin. Oh well, it is still gorgeous! The Erin is a shot-stale fibre because the silkworm is not killed but allowed to break and leave its cocoon,( aka; Peace Silk). This fibre has been prepared using a woollen prep. It is described as having a soft and lofty character. It is also described as similar to cotton sliver fibre prep. 100g bag (about 3.5 oz.) was $15.60

17-18  97% Eri Silk and 3% Linen

If we order again, I may try a similar option of 65% Bombay Silk 35% Linen (flax) Spinning Fibre, it was slightly more expensive but had more Flax fibre content. That one is 100g for $19.00.

It is nice to have a selection of fibres to inspire you, or have just the right option available as you are in the middle of a project and just need a bit of something. Being part of a guild and thus easier to organize a group order (we saved a lot on shipping and got a bit of a discount too!) was a great help. Deborah did a fantastic job getting us all organized. I hope we did not overwhelm her and we can try this again!  I would like to be able to shop locally (we should be out of partial shutdown by the time I post this, I hope!) but in the meantime, let’s enjoy the bits of fibre shopping we are able to do and live vicariously through looking at each other’s acquisitions.

Did you have a flash of inspiration looking at casings, cocoons or rods? Are you thinking about foxes after looking at the photos of Red Eri Silk?

Now a word about felting

Remember if you are wanting to felt with silk it is not as narcissistic as wool, so it won’t want to stick to itself the way that wool does. Using a tiny wisp of wool over the silk to help lock it in place or blending it with wool as you are preparing your fibres will help it stick. Silk can be used to add a lustre or pop of colour amongst the wool.  Ann has applied it on the outer surface of vessels then used a razor to save back the wool and expose more of the silk to great effect. I have used silk fibres mixed with other fibres like alpaca or Icelandic tog as part of the outer coat of some of my animal sculptures to keep the hair/pelt from felting or matting to the body.

If you are going to be working with silk it’s a good idea to start moisturizing your hands a few days before you start. I also use extra-fine files for my nails. Silk, even though it is reluctant to felt when you want it to, will cling to your fingers and anything else you didn’t want it to stick to.  Bernadette, who also posts blogs here, has done a lot of spinning with silk and silk blends she may have some good suggestions for you about keeping it under control!

Have fun and keep felting!

27 thoughts on “Group Order of Sanjo Silk

  1. Will Mr Mer let you have the loot? He looks as if he’s thinking of swimming away with it.

    It all looks so beautiful and we’d like to see what you do with it. We can never get our hands smooth enough for silk and it’s the most frustrating thing to lay it in place then see it lift off as we move our hands away!

    1. Although Mr Mer did seem rather inthusiastic about helping, i was able to perswade him to give it back!

      silk can be quite timmid and clingy! i have a smooth Mettle chopstick that i can use to try and hold the silk down as i extract my hand. my hands this winter had been doing vary well, nice and smooth, but i hadnt been out of the house for a month ether….then i went outside to work on the guild library 2 days in a row. dry books, very cold air, lots of vary strong soap to go with handwashing there. now my hands could be use as graders (cheeze or wood graders)! it will take me a bit to get my hands back to silk working condidions. i gess i will have to use the mettle chopsticks again!

  2. OMG – what a wonderful haul. I particularly love the cricula cocoons – goodness they are like lace. I shall be interested to see them in use (just wish I could have been part of your group purchasing!)

    1. Thankyou! yes i love the look of the cocoons too. i will try to soak a cuple when i am working on Mrs. Mer and Teen Mer.(they both need some type of top or maybe i can continue the scales up a bit futher…..) i hope you can find fiber people near to you, it was a lot of fun and it saved quite a bit of mony. if you have a weaveing /spinning guild near by our volintear who organized memebers with group percheses is the “Yarn Convenor”. Deborah was new to the job but did fabulously! we have not overwhelmed her too much and she is considering a diferent supplyer for the next order! IF your not close to an established fiber arts guild, have you considered starting one? on line groups or guilds are great for ideas, information and building connections but it is fun to have a few local people to go shopping with! have fun and keep felting!!

  3. What a wonderful array of silks!! How lucky you all were to be in the right place, at the right time. I particularly love the Red Eri silk, so opulent. Also, those horns!! And those gold Cricula cocoons are gorgeous, almost like looking at pure gold. They look like they would make wonderful earrings. Wow!! Thank you for sharing, this so inspires the imagination and creativity.

    1. i was very lucky!! Deborah wanted to start with a small group for her first time. even with only a few shoppers it was still a prity big order!
      Wate till you see what Ann picked out!! i hope Bernadette will show her loot too!
      the Cocoons are Very light so mite be ideal ear ring components! i was thinking more Mer Braws (i dont want to distract Mr Mer and have swimm into something!)

  4. I see Mr Mer’s got in on the act again, bless him – does he have a low boredom threshold and so needs to keep active?
    I love all silk, even if I don’t very often work with it – I can’t bear to cut up silk fabrics or fibres.
    I have had fun with carrier rods. Although the individual silk fibres are short, you can peel layers off the rod so that you have sort of “ghost” rods. You can lengthen the rods by pulling at each end and they will stretch out – but don’t pull too hard or the rod may come apart. You need to be firm but gentle – like Mr Mer?
    I love the red eri silk, beautiful colour – I’m sure Mrs Mer would love some for her hair – just imagine it floating behind her as she’s swimming. And how about a “helmet” made of a gold cricula cocoon or two. They make me think of some of Ernst Haeckel’s drawings – have a look at the one in the top right corner of this page–sea-life-ernst-haeckel.html though perhaps that might be more Mr Mer’s thing?
    I can’t wait to see what you do with all this treasure.

    1. silly me i left him out of his project bag while i was working on his muscle upgrade, he must have notice me setting up to take photos! i know what you mean about not feeling like you want to cut up silk. i have a number of old silk saris i want to sew with them but i just cant get up the nerve to cut them!!

      thank you for the info on carrier rods i was unsure how to aproch them but was sure that thay could be used in more than just as they are now.

      Mer armor? Hummm….. you have me thinking! the Ernst Haeckel’s drawings are fabulous!! thankyou for pointing them out!

      i will definatly show you what i come up with! in the mean time i will keep drooling at the gorgus silks!!

  5. Jan! Another stellar post 🙂 Thank you! I purchased a sample pack from Sanjo and am looking forward to spinning with it. I like the tip for blending the Penduncle with a fine dark wool. There wasn’t any of it in the sample pack, so once I’m done with this, I want to try it.

    1. Rose, I spun the peduncle from the roving both short forward and long draw after a bit of pre-drafting and it’s a delight to work with. Short forward gives a nice even yarn for plying and the long draw gives a textured woolly look, again great for plying. They are a bit coarse, but just so surprising.

    2. Thank you!
      if you have some of the Penduncle silk it mite be time for another shopping trip to fine the perfect wool to go with it!! (i know i am a bad influence on fiber aquisition!!) Bernadette may be able to give you suggestions on what qualities she was looking for as a blending fiber. i think i will likely keep my eye out for a vary fine shetland in a similer tone. oh no maybe a trip to the wool growers co op in the spring!!
      Have fun with your fiber!!!

  6. Looks like a very successful shopping “expedition”. Good to be part of a group for getting discounts and free shipping. This is the second time today that I read about eri silk. I had never heard of it before. So many different types of silk. The cricula cocoons are really cool, never heard of those either. I do have to say that carrier rods do dye beautifully and are a fun sculptural element. I haven’t used them for a long time though. Have fun with your purchases if you can get them back from Mr. Mer. He looks very possessive in his photo.

    1. Yes it was a lot of fun to see the photo of the hole groups order and the later postings of what each person selected. we didnt have too many overlaps of buying the same thing ether! i was suprized at a few of the types of silk that were avalible for sale. i had seen the Red Eri silk for sail at Twist fiber festival but it i didnt get it! (and regretted not getting it). lacy cocoons and carior rods were new to me as was the Peduncle tussah silk i wish i had splerged a bit more and got the cocoons too. (i drooled at Ann’s).
      i have prommised Mr Mer and upgrade on muscles so he has reliquished the silk!

  7. Wow what luscious stuff! I can hardly wait to see how you use them on the Mer’s. I like the idea of a helmet for Mr. Mer! You are going to have so much fun with all those fibers!

    1. Thankyou! yes the silk is amazing to look at and even better when you can feel how soft it is. it is giveing me more ideas! i had better finish a few project befor starting more!! i will definatly show you what i get up to.

  8. Wonderful to see this article on a beautifully organized ‘group buy’. I appreciate how well Deborah organized the orders and the stats. The discount is always an extra motivation. I wondered if the group ever considered putting aside the discount (or a portion of fit) to make purchases for the library. For example, the samples cards could come out of future buys … or new books.

    1. I like that idea (but i am one of the Guilds Librarians!) i was vary excited when we got a donation about the history of one of the equipment makers. if any of the places that we order from has something similer that would be a great eddition to the library

      Deborah did get sample cards for the guild and thay will be in the studio soon. she is reorganizing all the sample cards and makeing sure thay are reaonably up to date. (its a big job).

      i am looking forword to her next group perchus! Sanjo silks was a great first try since it had Fiber and yarn which made it vary apealing to a broad section of the guild members.

  9. This was Deborah’s first shot at a Yarn Convenor bulk buy and she did an amazing job! Jan’s post does great service to her wonderful work. The carrier rods are my nemesis though because I probably have ASMR and just get endlessly shivery at the sound of them. But I like it.

    1. Yes Deborah did a fabulous job!!!

      when i first joined the guild in the late 1980’s, yarn converior was an important and vary bissy job. i remember numerous orders of yarn (but dont remember spinning fiber at the time but i mostly weaving then.) as fiber festivals became more accsessible and our local guild sale had more suplyers as booths the yarn convenor job sort of faded to just keeping up the sample cards in the guild studio.

      with the interuption of our lives with covid restrictions reduceing our shopping in person options, we are back to long distance shopping similer to when i started weaving (but with more exciting fibers avalible!!!)
      Yarn Convenor is one of the jobs that will keep the guild going and the sanity of its memberts intackt! Thank you Deborah! i know you will continue to do a faboulous job!!
      PS Bernadette i think you need more silk!!!

  10. A lovely selection. I was very disappointed you did not bring it to Library day for me to ogle and maybe pet. I am looking forward to experimenting with my order of strange silk I picked up from you today. I will do a blog post about them soon. Another shout out to Deborah for the great job organizing the order.

    1. I am SORRY!! i will show you in person next time we can get together. i cant wate for you to show everyone the extreemly intersting aquisitions you chose!! and maybe what you plan to do with them?

  11. Those cocoons look marvellous! I’d love to see what you make with the rods because I’ve some and have yet to dare touch them 🙂 Those coiled casings are also super inspiring.

    You’re lucky you’re so far away or I’d have to find out where you live and convince Mr Mer to give me some of your loot 😉

    1. Dear Leonor! i suspect you could talk him into meeting you in the front garden with a few samples if you make it over to Ottawa!! (i am vary close to where the new light rail train will be going in so i am shure you will find me!)

      i will definatly post if i get up to anything interesting with the fibers (at the moment i am just enjoying them to look at but thay keep giving me ideas when i need to just finish what i was working on so maybe i better put them away soon…..)

      Have fun and we will look forword to seeing you when we loose the snow and can see the garden again!!!

  12. Wow! That is the most yummy selection of silks Jan and fair dues to Deborah for organising the order (zero error too!). The colours are just amazing and I guarantee Mr Mer will fall in love again with Mrs Mer when she is adorned in such finery.

    You post hit a more personal note with me as I called into their shop on Granville Island in 2019! I totally fell in love with it and brought but was so tempted to buy loads more (except that I was travelling around so luggage was limited). It is such a beautiful shop. I will now ogle at their website.

    1. thasnksd Helene! You are so lucky to have visited in person! i dont know how you have the fortatude to not buy and mail home most of there stock! doing a group perchus did help a lot on the shipping cost! i hope you get a chance to revist the shop, may be i will get there too!!

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