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Silk Thrums – what DO you do with them??

Silk Thrums – what DO you do with them??

Silk thrums are gorgeous, jewel-like bits of temptation, rich in colour, shiny and sparkly, promising all sorts of lovely uses that will amaze everyone. Or not. Silk thrums are one part of the left overs from the sari silk industry. This is what can’t be woven on the loom and has to be cut off. I would like to see how saris are woven to understand the way the wastage is generated, it still puzzles me, but silk thrums are available in vast quantities to crafters all over the world. The problem with sari silk, and its a huge problem, is how the silk is dyed. There do not appear to be industry standards for colour fastness. Silk is a tricky fiber on a good day, so if dyers can’t determine dye acidity, water temperature, water hardness, or can’t properly degum the silk, the dye will run. I decided to try to use this characteristic of sari thrums to an advantage to see if there could be any benefit to be had.

I took a brilliant red thrum, trimmed the ribbon end and trimmed some silk fibers. The ribbon was soaked in hot water to leech out the dye. The colour saturation was evident as soon as the ribbon was in the jar. The water was totally red, but there is no way to do any metrics on this because the original silk was dyed with an unknown quantity of dye. All this is just a “see if this works” experiment. I snipped a tiny quantity of silk fiber, set it aside to mix with the wool roving I had chosen for dying.

I spun the rest of the silk threads into a single ply yarn. I’m taking a liberty in calling this a single ply, it is in fact a multiple thread yarn. The sari silk is made up of extremely fine thread. I respun those into a single thread with added twist. I can’t show them to you because my camera just can’t pickup the delicacy of those threads.

It was difficult to spin at first, because the fibers are nearly 36 inches long and tended to get tangled. I’ll try a different method next time, but it is possible to spin this into a reasonably nice yarn. The single yarn is plied against some of the merino top that is the basis of the dye bath test. I’ll use this later as part of the dye test.

When I plied the single merino wool with the single red silk they worked well together This is the most durable, hard to break fiber I have ever handled. Silk really is amazing.

I presoaked the remaining merino, drained, opened it along a mid-seam, sprinkled the snipped silk threads all along the centre. I then rolled the merino into a tube and wrapped it with the ribbon from the soak jar. This was set in an acid bath and topped up with the dye water from the soak jar. I use an oven to dye my wool. I cooked this for about two hours at 100C/220F. I expected a more vibrant red, not the pale orange, but this is an experiment, so expectations have to go on the back burner.

 

Around the Web

Around the Web

This is post of links to interesting and or useful sites around the web.

http://www.soraiyu.com/work/index.html

https://www.facebook.com/Pulliswoollies

https://www.feltforarchitecture.com/portfolio

 

http://www.sheep101.info/sheepbreedsa-z.html

 

 

Homepage

 

https://www.embroidery.rocksea.org/reference/picture-dictionary/

http://www.pburch.net/dyeing.shtml

 

http://www.martinacelerin.com/

https://www.facebook.com/sarahzonadesigns

 

Spin like your Scottish

spinning on a pendulum wheel

 

https://www.hernmarck.com/about

https://www2.cs.arizona.edu/patterns/weaving/books.html

https://www.carolingianrealm.info/PatternGenerator.php

 

http://www.knittingonthenet.com/stitches.htm

https://www.vam.ac.uk/articles/1940s-knitting-patterns

 

 

 

 

 

A little Social Spinning.

A little Social Spinning.

 

Since we are all sitting at home, and not going out to gatherings,  I did a little spinning with some friends from my weavers and spinners guild on Zoom. A social distancing, social. For our first try, it went very well. We chatted about many things while most of us were spinning,  just like we do when we meet in person.

 

This is part of the batt I used. You can see there are large parts that or very hard to draft along with wool. It is silk fibre, I think.

It was getting close to time to start zoom so I did a few rolags up with my hand carders. Naturally, I didn’t think to take pictures of them until later. Lying in bed I think that’s ok I had 1 or I thought 2 left I will do it tomorrow. But, they disappeared mysteriously. No one took them or moved them. Not even a bit of fluff from them has surfaced so I think perhaps some fairies came in the night and took them off to make soft beds or something.

I do have a picture of the little bit of spinning I did. I will have to make some more rolags and hide them. Although putting stuff in safe places often means I can’t find them either.

This is the P.S. to this part of the post. I made some more rolags after I finished setting the post up. Here they are:

This is some spinning I did earlier in the week form a different batt. This batt is a nice grey and pink. I think I showed it to you before but can’t find where.

I thought I had a picture of it as a single but it’s not on my phone.  This is it plied into a 2 ply yarn and wound into a little center pull ball. It is quite pretty

I hope everyone is keeping well during this stressful time.

A picture in progress

A picture in progress

I have been working on a picture this week I made the “blank” a while ago just a general ground and sky for a starting point.
I wanted to make a rock wall so I added the grey and started adding rock outlines with some nice grey yarn. I nearly forgot to take a picture.

After the wall, I needed to add a gate so the sheep can get in and out but not escape.

I added a little definition to create some depth to the mid-ground. I thought the horizon was not very interesting so I added some tree place markers. they are not the finished trees.

I think at this point I will wet felt it again. I am hoping it will improve the wall by incorporating the rock outlines. I am ok with the way it looks, but think it will be better after wetting and felting. I will then add some green curls to make the trees more dimensional and then some seep too. I think I will use curls for the close sheep and stitching for the ones farther away. I want to put some sort of vegetation/flowers in front. Not sure what though. I will have to search my inspiration file to see what I want to do.

This last weekend one of the local guilds held their annual spin in, in Chesterville.

There were lots of spinners

And lots of Vendors

I buy a few things.

I got a nice ball of Peace Fleece roving. It is roving and not top and it was on destash, so I thought why not give it a try, purple of course. I just missed and interesting green that I would have got as well.

 

I also bought some foot butter. You never know what you will find at one of these events.  but it looks like it will be easy to apply to my poor dry feet.

I bought a little sheep medalion/hangy thing from Isabell Rollin. It is an original design by Isabelle Rollin with copyright pending I just bought the smallest size she had to hang on my basket. . She had bigger medallions and some nametags she would add your name too and some magnetic scissor holders and other stuff. They were just so cute. There were other things like spindles and rug hooking frames too.

 

 

 

Spinning at Can Games

Spinning at Can Games

 

JAN’S BLOG POST; CAN GAMES Spontaneous Demoing 2018

For a number of years I have followed my husband to the local board gaming convention on the May long weekend (Can Games). In exchange for my support of his hobby, I get gardening help from him. I have been attending Can Games for quite a number of years always accompanied by my portable spinning wheel.

   Jan 2Friday spinning upstairs beside the Curling club kitchen. The Road bug spinning wheel fits in the trundle box for travel.

 

I have been there long enough that I am greeted by Gamers I recognized by face if not by name.

jan 03 jan 04

Glen plays various board games (many involving trains and vary complicated rules systems) and I sit with my wheel and spin, sometimes I use my hand carders. There are a lot of guys gaming, most of whom are interested in the way the wheel works. I hear lots of stories about wives and mothers who knit too. While the much younger kids just seem really interested in the turning wheel. I think it was last year that a very fussy baby noticed my wheel spinning and became mesmerized (and quiet).

The last couple years I have asked if they should add a live action RPG game of “Spin the golden fleece” or “Turn straw into gold” (well actually linen but it’s almost as good!). This weekend was the first time one of the volunteers who run the convention has mentioned that I should present a game description for play testing at next year’s convention.

He suggested I should have levels of difficulty to learn and earn experience (starting out with a skill and perfecting it). Then give them a greater challenge to learn and perfect. Maybe starting out with a regular fleece and moving up to a golden one? Maybe a silk and merino blend and then have a choice of alpaca or cotton for the really advanced spinners and to earn extra bonus points?

Character requirements would be high dexterity, excellent patience and a sense of humour.

I would suggest the chopstick Turkish spindles may be ideal for this purpose since you can increase the weight and rotational momentum by adding bulldog clips to the arms of the spindle and they are really cheap to make.

I could offer a second “Live action RPG game” for advanced level players who would turn straw into gold, which could cover bast fibres, if there was interest.

 

As you may remember, I did quite a bit of needle felting last year. I purchased a good quantity of super wash merino wool (mill ends from Black Lamb). The colours were amazing and enticed me into the purchase. Although I did successfully needle felt with it, I did find it was a lot more work than non-super wash wool. So I need to find a use for all this fabulously pretty fibre. Hum, I bet Mom would like a scarf for next winter. I bet I could make some very interesting slightly slubby yarn that would weave up nicely. I have a couple of table looms to choose from and could use that as a demo project for the next demo at the beginning of June. It will be nice to weave with my own handwoven again.

jan 05   Part of the super wash Merino acquisition.

I selected the blue and one of the greens tones in a slightly variegated top. I split the top into thinner strips and then intermittently spun one or the other colours then both together. It was fun to spin and I enjoyed the blending of colours.

jan 06  jan 07

jan-08-e1526940294613.jpg

I used the road bug travel wheel again. When I had the bobbin full I wound it off onto the blacksmith made plying tool. Glenn made it so I would stop using his paperback books to wind onto. It has 2 parallel arms that have a slight slope so I can slide the singles onto my wrist and then ply from the double ended ball that is now wrapped around my wrist. This tool also works for drop spindles and means I can put it down and go do something else (very handy).

jan 09 jan 10    Put the end of the singles yarn through one of the end rings and put your thumb over the tail as you start to wind on. (Alternating sections of diagonals similar to a Nostipine work well)

jan-11.jpg  Working at a distance helps to even out the tension consistency.

  jan-12.jpg  Wind off the bobbin onto the plying tool. You can put it down and go look at something then finish winding. When you get to the end, remove the beginning and the end from the rings and tie them together.

jan 13   I use my Left hand to slide through the double ended ball, gripping the beginning and end with the fingers,

jan 14   jan 15 Now slide the ball off the implement and onto your wrist.

jan 16After the bobbin of plied yarn was full (ok I played yarn chicken to get it all to fit back on the plying bobbin and won) l I used the cheap easy to make niddy noddy to wind into skeins. (PVC Pipe from Home Depot)

jan 17

Even with all the spinning I did while at Can Games I still had time to play a couple games (Chariots and A playtesting new game which hopefully will be available in August on Kick starter), some shopping a few board games, a couple for one of my friends, and a game of stacking miniature chairs) and watching some of the games that were running.

  jan 18  jan 19   The Chariot Race

jan 20jan-21.jpgjan-22.jpg

Lego mecs, Dice and Helms deep

jan 23jan-24.jpgjan 25

Pirates, chair game, sheep participate in Scottish fort battle.

I was not the only fiber arts person there this year. There was a lady knitting beside a miniature games with pirates being attacked by small green monsters.

The gaming convention is now over for another year and I hope next year I will be joined by more spinners, weaver’s, felters or knitters who would like to have fun on part of the long weekend. Maybe you will join me in an RPG to spin the Golden Fleece? We will make Turkish spindles out of chopsticks and elastics!

Some Spinning and a New Loom.

Some Spinning and a New Loom.

Things are still very busy here with the bottle lambs. So there is not much time for felting.

I have managed to do some spinning. It all still needs plying.

This one I think will have to be plied with somthing else. I think that if I try to pull the yarn out of the middle as well as the outside it will get hopelessly tangled with all the curls.

Sunday I am picked up a new to me ( and Jan of the polar bear and bull frog). This is an upright tapestry loom. The loom has come all the way from Sudbury. It was transported down by a lady down to visit her daughter saving Jan or I from having to do the long drive up there. As you can see it is all in pieces in my van. I have to clear space for it. that will hopefully happen over the next moth or so as my husband builds his new space and I get to take over his old space. My plan is to make some fleece rugs. I think Jan is planning a Viking cloak.

 

A Spin in.

A Spin in.

Saturday I spent the day at a spin in not to far form home. There were lots of people there. More people arrived after I took these pictures, mostly wheels but ther were a few of us on spindles.

There were things to buy of course

There were door prizes.

And show and tell, this amazing blanket Rams and Ewes I think it is called. it is a double knit so it is double thick and the back is different then the front. The wool is all natural coloured Shetland I believe. Click onthe picture to get a batter look. here is a link to the pattern if you are interested. https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/rams-and-yowes

I got a close up of this dog collar and leash,

Here are some other . I didn’t get  picture of the table after it filled up, sorry. I was to busy chatting.

And lastly some tiny little handwoven pillows. So if you thought you don’t have the room to weave , you do.

This is my loot, a bag of Massum, a bag of silk cocoons, and a new sketch book.

That was my Saturday well wasted. Nothing better than sharing a fun day with old and new friends doing something you all love.

 

 

 

 

The Year Ahead

The Year Ahead

I’m ahead of myself this year, usually I start by planning to be more organised, but I bought some new tubs a few weeks ago and cleared up a few piles off my desk! And yesterday I sorted through a large box of fabric from the well being centre and put it more tidily into different bags and labelled them. One of the bags is lots of ready cut strips for making experimental nuno samplers. There are lots of unusual fabrics in there for beginners to try before they pick up any ideas of which fabrics ‘work’ and which ‘don’t’.

One of the first things I need to do this year is write a constitution for our group. We have our own light hearted rules, such as ‘You’re not allowed to be disappointed, we don’t make failures, we make unintentional discoveries’! but maybe we’ll keep that as our motto 🙂

Looking back at the things I made last year, I saw a lot of things I started to learn, but never really progressed with. One ‘unintentional discovery’ I made was that I quite like freestyle crochet:

I would like to learn how to do it properly though, so I can maybe make something, or at least freestyle a lot better! Another thing I didn’t really progress with is spinning. I did spend a few days practising and made some yarn I liked:

But I think trying to spin some Superwash, which spins about as well as it felts, put me off a bit:

I want to learn to spin on a wheel so I can knit some really cool jumpers, or at least a funky hat, but not being able to do a good job of sewing up is quite limiting:

And only really being able to knit with chunky pencil roving on fat needles is too:

So, I’d like to learn to knit better, or more, or just differently! And I’m really looking forward to the Surface Design challenges this year, I’ve already started thinking about mine for the 4th Quarter. If you missed Ruth’s post the other day, have a look here. Have you made any plans for the year ahead?

Finishing Up Some Spinning

Finishing Up Some Spinning

 

In the spring I borrowed a blending board from my friend Carlene. I made rollags at guild social meetings and at demos.

And spinning here and there.

I finally got around to plying them all.

Then I needed to be washed to reset after being tight up in skeins for ages. this is before washing. I spent an evening tying the skeins up so they wouldn’t be a mess after washing.

This is some of them soaking.

And after all the skeins where soaked this it what the water looked like.  I couln’t believe how dirty it was.

then I had to hang them all up to dry. excuse my shower backdrop. we don’t have the new tub surround in yet so it is just orange construction plastic so we can shower.

And the finished yarn. I am making the skeins into center pull balls on my nostepinne. I am mostly done. I am getting better at them.  I didn’t realise how often I do thick and thin yarn until I started winding the balls. It is fun to do.

So thats one thing finished up from 2017 and only 2 days late.  All ready for embellishing some felt.  I hope you all have a fibery new year.

 

 

 

Demo Last Weekend

Demo Last Weekend

This last weekend my guild did a Demo at the Carp Fair I went on the Sunday.  I took a blending board to make some more rollags. I had some hand cards with me and I had a spindle I was spinning a rollag on so I could explain it all.  It was very popular with the visitors to the fair. .

Bernadette was spinning Rambouillet on her wheel. In this picture she is Chain plying it.

Jan was working On the Edo Challenge. And Yes that is an octopus. I am hoping to get her to do a post about her progress. Here she is explaining it to some visitors.

Her fish was there on display and tried to eat a passing child.

Julie was weaving. She is doing shibori on the loom. She weaves the draw strings right into the scarf ready to be tightened up and then dyed. She has a finished sample onto of her loom.

 

And lastly 2 of the display tables.

I didn’t get any of the third table except Jan’s Fish.  We had a great time chatting with people about spinning, weaving and felting.  Have you been doing your crafts in public lately?

 

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