The Practical Spinner's Guide: Silk
Silk fiber differs from wool; it is slicker, harder to draft, and can initially be more difficult to spin into a smooth yarn. It is available in a bewildering range of forms, all of which need different degrees of processing. At the same time, silk is incredibly strong, has an amazing luster and affinity for dyes, is comfortable in warm and cool weather, and has little weight. An ounce of silk fiber can be pricey, but also provide a lot of mileage.Spinning enough yarn for a garment may take well over a month; spinning silk is not instant gratification, but deeply satisfying when the work is complete.
Author and expert spinner Sara Lamb will discuss the various forms in which silk is available—combed top, bricks, noils, hankies, and bells—and how best to card, prep, and spin them, specifically touching on trouble spots like drafting and adding twist. She also covers finishing yarns—cleaning and degumming, setting twist, and plying—and even touches on what dye processes are best for adding color, as well as how to blend silk into other spinning fibers. Finally, she includes very brief discussions of spinning for both knitting and weaving, discussing the properties of woven and knitted fabric and what the spinner needs to take into account while creating the yarn and using it in a subsequent project.
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