What better way to say "thanks" than with handspun silk?
I love this time of year—I love crisp air, frosty window panes, and steaming cups of tea. I love rolling out dough and cutting out cookies with my girls. I love taking a bit of time to relax, make things, and be thankful. And I'm thankful for you. That's why we made A Guide to Spinning Silk Fibers: + Free Knitting, Weaving, Crochet, and Embroidery Projects Using Silk Fiber, a little bundle of colorful, silky goodness to give to you. We bundled up four articles about spinning silk for weaving, knitting, crocheting, and embroidering into a tidy package. Enjoy!
Here's a little taste of what you'll find inside:
Silk is one of the luxury fibers that new spinners are likely to try first after they've mastered wool—it is so seductively beautiful with its incredible luster and ability to take color. But spinning silk is a little trickier than spinning wool, and it is really nice to have a couple (or three!) expert spinners by your side as you try it out.
If you're really new to spinning, then you may not know that silk is a protein fiber (like wool) produced by silkworms to make the cocoons that help them transform into silk moths. The art of cultivating silk or sericulture began in China and has been perfected over many thousands of years. Tussah silk comes from wild silkworms that have a varied plant diet, whereas bombyx silk is cultivated from Bombyx mori silkworms that have been fed an exclusive diet of mulberry leaves. Tussah is naturally a golden color, while bombyx silk is a brilliant white. In most cases, bombyx silk is reeled or unwound from the cocoons after the worms have been stifled to prevent them from eating through the layers of silk filaments after their transformation is complete. Tussah silk cocoons can be gathered after the moths have emerged—the filaments have been cut and are short strands that are then combed into top. The worms leave a gummy residue called sericin on the silk as it is extruded—it has a pungent, salty odor that can linger if not properly scoured from the fibers. Understanding a little about where silk comes from can help a spinner appreciate why silk has been so valued and sought after by generations of spinners.
Spinning silk up for a knitting, weaving, crochet, or embroidery project is a real treat—especially when guided by such experts as Mary Spanos, Carol Rhoades, and Dodie Rush. Feel free to share the "thanks" with a special someone in your life by passing along the gift of spinning silk!