Do you remember this?
This is the bombyx silk I was going to spun for the second half of the Tour de Fleece, but… life intervened and I didn’t manage to get that far. So, running just a wee bit late, I’ve finally got it on my wheel now, and it is a dream to spin.
Not that silk is always a dream to spin… Bombyx silk generally has a very long staple length, and that can make drafting a challenge. The distance that you’re used to holding your hands for drafting wool simply isn’t far enough apart when you’re spinning silk, and it can easily become a struggle as you start tugging at both ends of the same fibers.
A few months ago, I spun pure bombyx silk for the first time in many years and, even though I’ve spun a lot of silk in the past, I realised that my hands had forgotten what to do. It seemed to take forever to retrain my hands (…or more likely, my brain) and until that moment when it finally clicked, I was pulling and tugging on that silk as if I’d never spun in my life. As a result, the yarn came out much thicker than I’d wanted and lumpier too. There’s no doubting it’s beautiful to look at, and the colours ethereal, but because I spun so much thicker than I intended, I just didn’t get the yardage I was hoping for. It’s come out to a measly 143 yards and I’m really not sure what I could make with it.
So now, as I begin spinning this second braid of silk, I am really focusing on spinning as thinly as I possibly can. And, it turns out, I can spin pretty darned thin! Now that my hands (and brain) are back in the groove with spinning silk, this is how it’s coming out…
That is, as long as I don’t get too involved in a scary movie on telly and forget to spin super thin (see the occasional thick bits in the photo below? Yeah… that was when the film hit a tense spot…). But overall, this is coming out exactly the way I want it. And now that I’ve got the hang of it, it is just sooo much fun to spin.
And this time, I hope to come out at the end with a really good length of some truly beautiful, smooth, pure silk yarn.