Friday, October 13, 2006

Recycled Silk Yarn

Silk tops from the thrift store.The idea for this yarn came from Jane Deane during the Online Guild's Silk Spinning Workshop. It is a way to recycle silk fabric from old or discarded silk garments. I was able to pick up several colors I liked from a local thrift store for just a few dollars.

The first step involved cutting the fabric up into small pieces. I cut the tops into approximately 3 inch wide strips and experimented cutting scraps small enough to handcard. I decided that scraps about a quarter of an inch wide or less worked best.

Cutting up a perfectly acceptable silk blouse wasn't the easiest thing to do!These were handcarded to break them down. I found that my cotton carders worked best.

Cotton handcarders   worked the best.The lighter the weight the fabric, the faster and easier it was to card. The off-white broke down quickest, the fushia fabric was the heaviest and took the longest. In fact, you can see that it didn't break down very well at all.

Handcarded silk scraps.To spin, I used the largest ratio I had (always a good idea for something new) and treadled slowly (also a good idea!) At first I tried to make rolags out of the stuff, but these didn't hold together very well, so I simply spun it out of my hand. I inch wormed slowly because it gave me the most control. I added a lot of twist to hold it together.

Spinning was a challenge but went okay as long as I treadled slowly & added plenty of twist.I wound the single off into a center pull ball and plied from that. The final 2-ply is bulky and measures 6 WPI.

2-ply reyucled silk yarn.It took quite a bit of work(!) so I doubt I'll spin a lot of it.

Still, it makes an interesting yarn. It doesn't have the characteristic luster of the fabric. Also, I haven't washed this yet, but I think doing so will unravel the sticky-out scraps a bit more and add more character! I'm not sure if I should try a small knitted sample or just save it for a weaving project. Most likely it will sit in my "Samples" box for a long time to come.


Anonymous said...

That looks like a lot of work, but fun work!

goodkharmabunny said...

That looks great, good job.
al x