The curious objects are silk carrier rods. They are a waste product from commercial silk spinning. As silk from the cocoons is unraveled, it is carried over rods on its way to the reel. Silk fibers build up on the rods and they must be removed and cleaned off periodically. This silk waste is known as carrier rods. They are stiff with sericin and can either be used as is for various craft projects, or degummed.
I received about 28 grams of carrier rods in my silk sample pack for the Online Guild's silk spinning workshop. I decided to use mine to see what kind of yarn they would produce.
First things first. I degummed them with 3 squirts of Ivory dishwashing liquid and about 7 grams of washing soda in a large pot of water. Here’s what they looked like after simmering for an hour:
There is even a bonus silkworm (that little dark thingy in the lower right hand corner of the pot) floating in the pot. Actually, I ended up with about a dozen dead silkworms, which indicates that some cocoons were stuck in the carrier rods as well.
Once the fiber was washed but still wet, I wanted to color it. So after rinsing it I soaked it for a couple of hours in strong vinegar water. Then I divided it into 4 parts, placed each part on a piece of plastic wrap, and sprinkled dye powder over them. On two I used Cushing’s acid dyes and on the other two I used koolaide.
I folded the plastic wrap over and poked at the places which were still white. This helped work the color through the fiber.
Then I rolled them up into little packets. I steamed them for about an hour and let cool overnight. The next day I rinsed and laid them out to dry. Here’s what I have to card and spin:
To see the yarn I got from this, click here.
Guess the Objects
Silk Carrier Rod Yarn