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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.

 

Update needed on my Name tag Part 2 (a 3-part process).

Update needed on my Name tag Part 2 (a 3-part process).

Part 2 the Lanyard

For this falls’ guild sale and exhibition hands-on area, one of my suggestions was a cardstock marudai. Since then I have been sampling colours, and varying thicknesses of cotton yarn.

9-2.jpgPrototype marudai with garden Rabbit holder.

I started with the “embroidery” cotton from the local Dollerama. Since you can’t pull it apart it’s not really embroidery thread but it is cotton! The cotton comes in packs of dark solid colours, pastels and variegated colours. I have a fondness for blue so I pulled those colours for my lanyard. I had a mid-tone and light blue as well as variegated.

10“100% Cotton, each skein is 7.3m/23.9ft.”

The marudai should be printed out on a heavy cardstock. I made a template in publisher then saved it in PDF and Jpeg.

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the 4 version of the English edition

You will also require;

  • 8 slots,
  • a hole in the center and
  • 7 strands of yarn.

Good options are

  • tiny elastics and a
  • mid-side Bulldog clip

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Tiny hair elastics and Bull dog clips were available at the Dollar Tree and Dollarama

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With help from the guild I made a French side. Originally it was to be on opposite sides from the English one but my printer would not pull the paper in consistently so I was getting miss-registration I couldn’t correct, So it looks like there will be French and English versions separately. (Sorry!!)

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Set up:

Depending on how you set up the colours and position them you will get different patterns. (I have not yet tried all the variables) gather all the 7 strands together and Tie a knot (leave extra length after the knot if you want to have a fringe). Ether push the knot through the hole in the centre to the back side or from the back side, thread the yarn through leaving the knot. I add the bulldog clip to the knot so it won’t slide through the centre hole. Skipping one slot, space your strands into the 7 other slots. Wind your strands up so they’re about 4 inches loose; the rest wound up in a butterfly. Use the knot for marudai bobbins or elastic to keep if from slipping when you don’t want it to. (See the picture above)

How to weave:

This is really important. I’m sure you have heard how complicated weaving can be! without trepidation keep reading!

Step 1) From the empty slot count clockwise to the third strand.

Step 2) Pull it out of its’ slot and move it to the empty spot.

Step 3) rotate the marudai so that the empty slot is towards you again.

Repeat from step 1 until you run out of yarn to weave.

When the cordage you are making gets too long curl it up and clip it with the bulldog clip.

Keep the marudai surface flat and the strands will not tangle as much. Also keeping them not too long will help keep them in order.

So that wasn’t too bad for instructions. Even if you have the type of dyslexia that gets left and right confused and thinking clock wise and anticlockwise dose not help, it will still work as long as you keep going the same direction for the length of the band. I look forward to seeing what you do with your cordage. Trim for hats or ties to keep the hats on, lanyards for scissor cases?

Some of the patterns I have tried so far;

I tried 1 colour /6 of another colour

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I tried 2 of one colour / 5 of a second colour

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I tried 3 of one colour / 4 of a second colour

I tried 1 colour / 2 of one colour / 4 of a second colour

I also tried a pattern called Fenestrations (it’s a fancy way to say windows) but I did it backwards (it’s probably the dyslexia) Fenestration requires multiple threads or using a thread of a larger diameter for most of the yarn and the last one being significantly smaller (3 or 4 threads to 1 worked well for me with the embroidery cotton) It is supposed to look like windows if it’s done right. Mine was inverted so the window stuck out instead of in!

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You can see how the dark blue is multi strand (3 or 4 strands) while the light blue is only one strand.

One of the weavers (Janet Whittam) brought in a bag of scraps and thrums (the leftovers from a woven warp which are lengths or bits or yarn) thrums can be cut up and carded into fiber to make interesting pops of colour. Or you can do as I did and take a long time untangling the mess it had become and use them for further experimentation with the cardstock moridis. (I’m sorry I didn’t take a before sorting picture it really was a mess)

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I have 5 colour samples on the go plus a few others I have been puttering on in various baskets around the house. I have found they are easy to keep in an extra-large Sandwich Ziploc bag so you can easily bring them with you. I don’t find I get as many people asking what I am doing they may be miss identifying what I’m up to as corking instead of Japanese braiding.

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This is a fast portable way to make cordage. This particular pattern, 7 strands in an 8 slot marudai, makes a number of variations depending on colour and strand placement. It is easy to pick up and put down and not lose your place. So interruptions won’t destroy your progress! i have defiantly found the equivalent to a drop spindle for weaving!

Cordage can be used as pull tabs for zippers, fobs for key rings, trim on garments or accessories, and ties and laces. It is highly portable. ( I keep mine in individual extra-large sandwich Ziploc bags. I used it last night chatting with Glenn at Al’s Diner before dinner arrived. ) they are also extremely cheap to make so you can have more than one! (OK i do have a lot more than one spinning wheel or one loom and a lot more than one felting project on the go!)

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Check back, Part 3 will be the needle felting of the picture and the name. Now what will I do? I suppose I should stick with Jan since I can mostly spell that correctly!

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