Category Archives: felting

Washing Wool – The Virginia Way! – from ‘Ten Good Sheep’

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shearing the sheep

shearing the sheep

This is a really amusingly written TUTORIAL which I will be adding to the i/sheet page and can also be found on my pinterest wool board.

Even if you don’t have your own sheep, or have raw fleece to wash, you should find yourself laughing as you read this!  It was written in 2013 and I found it on the Ten Good Sheep website.  They are in Virginia (USA).

One note about the washing machine she is using – its the old fashioned top loader – that can be stopped and started at any point along the cycle – please don’t use your modern front loader like this, altho some of them do have short cool wash cycles with optional low spin speeds, and you might get away with it.  On the other hand, if you WANT to felt the wool ……….smile!  PS:  See the comments section – some more info there!

 

The Prelude (in conversation form):Part One…“Huh, I wish the shearer would hurry up and get here.  It rained yesterday and the sheep are cleaner than they’ve been in weeks.”Part Two…(nine months later)“Huh, I’m glad we took those shearing classes.  Let’s wait until after the next rain and then shear them as soon as they’re dry so the wool will be cleaner.”Part Three…(nine months even later)“Huh, wait a minute…rain is nothing more than a lot of cold water…hmmmmm.”
Ok…so we were slow learners.
You’ll want some infrastructure for your wool washing career to run smoothly.
We’re serious about washing wool!
You will need:
A wool washing table.
Our original table used rabbit wire for the top (about 1/4″ wire mesh).  The new table uses rat wire (1/2 inch wire mesh).  We recommend rabbit wire and we’ll be replacing the top of this table.  Note the handy hook for your hose…you need a hose too.  (Or if you’re really green and have a way to do it, collect rainwater.)
Also – note the concrete blocks used with the original table for wash stands.
If you’re going to wash a lot of wool, use these.  You’ll thank us later.Set your table up where a lot of water hitting the ground won’t matter.  Or…re-use the water for your garden, etc.  It’s yucky, but the plants won’t mind.  Depending on when you schedule your shearing you can use less water.
Let the rain do the first washing.
And you’ll need:
A wash tub (relatively heavy duty plastic – it’ll be holding a lot of water).And a dirty fleece.
This one is natural charcoal colored Romney.  Wait til you see it when we’re done.  Gorgeous!
And you’ll need:
Uh…gloves.  You need rubber gloves.  And maybe just a bit of white wine.
Ok…let’s get down to business.
Fill your wash tub about 2/3 full of cold water from your hose.The wooden board is under our tub because we don’t have the concrete block wash stands set up in the middle of the back yard.
As your wash tub is filling, unroll your fleece and take a good look.  If your fleece has not been skirted, do it now.  Tear away any belly, neck, britch and generally yucky stuff.  Don’t throw this away though.  Use it for long lasting weed barrier under mulch.Use the washing table as a trampoline for your remaining fleece.
All kinds of stuff will bounce out of there and through the wire while the fleece is still dry.  Give it a good hard couple of throws on the top of the table.
Depending on the size of your fleece, divide it into manageable sections.
We separated this one into 2 pieces.
Some of our own sheep have enormous fleeces and we divide them into thirds.  You can wash a substantial amount at one time, but don’t crowd it too much.  You’ll develop a feel for how much is a good amount.
Here is 1/2 of the sticky fleece (it’s been in storage for 2 years!).  It was well skirted before storage so everything is ok.  Don’t store unskirted fleeces.  You’ll be sorry.Into the cold water we go…
Push your wool down into the water gently until it’s saturated.
You can walk away from it for a while if you want to.  10 minutes or 10 hours…we’ve done both.
See?  Look at all of that dirt floating its way out of the fleece.
Now we’re going to work the wool.
Don’t be afraid to move it around…but you don’t need to be too aggressive about it either.
We want to let the wool swish through the water…so grasp it and bring it up…
and down.  You only need to do it a few times and very gently.
When the water is fully saturated with sheep dirt…
SWOOSH!
You’ll be amazed at the difference in your fleece already.
As a side note:
If you see bubbles on the ground at this point it’s because the fleece is holding sheep sweat
(aka – suint) and lanolin.  Since a lot of this is water soluble, combined with water this makes
(sort of, kind of) its own natural soap.  Hence the bubbles.  Sheep bubbles!
Gather it up…
and squeeze…then squeeze again.

ROUND 2
You can already see quite an improvement in your fleece, can’t you?Refill your wash tub and get ready for more of the same exercise.Let your fleece drape back into the water…no need to bunch it.Let it float for a bit and then a little more up, down, up, down.
Let the water swish through the fleece.There is a difference between allowing the wool to swish and agitating.  Don’t agitate…swish.
Notice the water…murky but not disgusting.  We’re making progress.
When you think that this round of water has done the best it can do…
SWOOSH!
And squeeze it like you really mean it.Now we have a fork in the road.  What did your second wash look like?  It could be enough.
But for this particular fleece we’re going for…
ROUND 3
If you’re doing another round, you know what to do by now.Refill your wash tub and lay in your squeezed out fleece.Let it sit…or not.  And then a little more up, down, up, down.  Light swishing gets the job done – and you don’t have to do it a lot.
Now, check out the clarity of the water still in the wash tub.  That works for us.Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze.Our work outside is done and this fleece is well on the road to being clean.  Let’s go inside…
Now that the majority of gross dirt is out of your fleece, it won’t hurt your washer to give it a hot soak.  Yes, the wool is still damp from squeezing out the cold water.
No, it won’t instantly felt in the hot water.
And you’re going to be turning OFF the washer so NO AGITATION will be happening.
Right?  RIGHT???  More on this soon.
We’re using Orvus Paste, which is a livestock soap used by 4H kids on their show animals.  You can get it/order it from farm and garden supply stores, or check online.  It’s concentrated.  It comes in the white container on the right, but the label is long since gone.  We use about 1/3 of a cup for a full washer of water.In the past we have used Dawn (dishwashing liquid).  Think about it…it’s a concentrated degreaser.  You can use Dawn if you’d like.  We’d use about 1/3 of a cup of that too if that’s the soap we were using.
With your fleece OUTSIDE of the washer in a bucket or other container…
fill ‘er up and make it HOT.
When the washer is full put your Orvus or Dawn in.  Let the water agitate for a few seconds to incorporate the soap throughout the water.  Putting the soap in before the washer is full will make for too many bubbles.  They’ll be harder to rinse out.THEN:PAY ATTENTION!
TURN THE WASHER OFF!
Seriously.In all of our years of fleece washing we have ruined only 1/3 of a fleece.  It was one of Shackle’s.  And the washer was only accidentally agitating for about 5 seconds.  Don’t do that!
Now that your washer’s water looks like this and
YOU HAVE MADE SURE THAT IT IS OFF…
Lay your damp fleece into the water…no need to bunch it up.
Doesn’t that look nice?
Now, since you’ve made sure that the washer is off, go ahead and shut the lid.
Relax for about a half hour or so.  That hot water will help to melt the remaining lanolin.
Now…with the washer still off, set it to the spin cycle.(Here’s where we have a small disclaimer.  Some spin cycles will throw cold water on the clothes from time to time for the first part of the cycle.  You DON’T want the washer to spray your wool with cold water!  Some washers don’t do this.  Our current wool washer – yes, we have one just for washing wool – doesn’t throw any cold water.  Our old washer did.  So here’s how we worked around that.  When you’re doing a load of laundry, camp out for the spin cycle.  Listen to your washer.  You’ll hear when – or if – it’s throwing water.  When we found where the spin cycle stopped the water throwing, we marked it with a small dot using a Sharpie pen.  Then we would always set the washer to the Sharpie pen dot instead of the beginning of the cycle.  Got it?)Go ahead and start your washer and let the water spin out.  It won’t hurt your wool because it isn’t agitating it.  When the cycle is done this is what you’ll see:
Ok, now depending on the breed of sheep that you’re working with, 1 wash may or may not be enough.  You’ll know.  It may need another soap session, or it may not.Either way…Take your fleece OUT of the washer and put it back in the bucket or whatever you were using to hold it.
DON’T LEAVE IT IN THE WASHER.Refill your washer with hot water.
Now you’ve got another fork in the road…
If you need another soap session, redo your previous steps…PAYING ATTENTION TO WHEN THE WASHER NEEDS TO BE ON OR OFF.If you don’t need another soap session your fleece is ready for the rinse water.  To our rinses we add about a cup or so of white vinegar.  This cuts the soap residue and restores the pH.  Also, we usually add in a bit of patchouli essential oil…or clove essential oil.  Yummy.  We can’t prove it but it’s our theory that the essential oil is somewhat of a natural moth repellent.  We have never had any moth problems to date.The rinse is identical in procedure to the wash – but without the soap.  Let it sit in the rinse water for a while with the lid down.  Then spin it out, just like before.When you’re all done, your wool washing table becomes your drying rack.  Take your wonderfully clean and soft fleece back outside, open it up onto the top of your washing table and let the air dry it perfectly.  Watch out for too brisk of a breeze…your wool will travel with it.

Ready for your reward?  You’ve worked hard for it…so enjoy!
Soft, fragrant (in a good way), lofty, ready to pick, card and spin.
And MUCH better than if a commercial woolen mill had done it for you.
We know…we’ve done it both ways.
So what’s next?
If you’re like us, you start all over again.
** One final disclaimer**
Our sheep are Romney/Columbia cross.  We know that this method works perfectly for our sheep and for similar breeds.  The finest fleece we have washed this way is Hog Island.  This is a rare breed sheep that was most notably from (wait for it) Hog Island.  This is one of the barrier islands off the coast of Virginia.  We have not washed merino, targhee, etc with this method.  Mostly because we have not had the opportunity to try it out.  This method *may not* be ideal for fine/super fine wool.  But being the wool renegades we are, we would at least give it a try on a small scale and make modifications if necessary.
It’s our guess that beginners who would benefit from this tutorial would not necessarily be using low micron count raw fleeces.  If you are a beginner using low micron count wool and you feel adventurous, try our method out on a small scale and let us know your findings.It’s our bet that the wool from any sheep benefits from being shorn after a good solid rain…so why not try?  The cleaner they are on the hoof, the less water you use after shearing.
Best of luck on your wool washing adventures!
Please do leave us a comment at mail@TenGoodSheep.com
…we’d appreciate your thoughts.

Some thoughts on “A Gallery of Your Work”

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This is a follow up to the GALLERY OF YOUR WORK, that appeared on 31 May 2015.

this beautiful summer dress was made for Val's holiday - we had a bit of a panic, because it seems Royal Mail lost her package - so I sent her another 4m of this very popular red poppy material - listed in julzcrafts supplies shop on etsy - and on the 85solway account on ebay.

this beautiful summer dress was made for Val’s holiday – we had a bit of a panic, because it seems Royal Mail lost her package – so I sent her another 4m of this very popular red poppy material – listed in julzcrafts supplies shop on etsy – and on the 85solway account on ebay.

I have just updated it to include this lovely dress that a customer of mine made out of one of the fabrics that I sell.

This was the first GALLERY  that I have tried putting together, and it has given rise to various comments from readers, and the information from the POLL I put up, has been useful.

I have been mulling over the idea, and the problems with it – smile.

It takes quite a lot for people to send it photos of their work, and actually, I am as shy about showing some of mine, especially when I don’t think I’ve got it quite right!  I’m not sure I would immediately think – oh what a great idea, I’ll send a picture to this blog – and if I didn’t know the writer – I’d be uncertain about how they would use the pictures.

So, let me try and reassure you – smile.

My intentions are nothing but honourable!

The idea was simply to give people a place to showcase their work, to give encouragement and to perhaps inspire others.  You see a great idea and it creates a spark that leads to you using some element of it to improve the work you do yourself.  It may not even be in the same medium, or directly comparable!

Now, a long time ago, I briefly started degree in Photography – this was after I had already been working as a Photographer for quite a while, and had initially trained with a quite well known commercial advertising photographer in London, so I was a mature student, and joined to see if I could improve my work – and well, to be honest, to get my hands on the large format cameras the college had, which I couldn’t afford!

Not for the first time I was subjected, along with the others on the course, to the vicious system of ‘crits’ – supposedly creative criticism of your work by the tutors.  With everyone else standing by and watching, and waiting for their turn.

I don’t know why these supposed ‘teachers’ thought it was fun to rip people’s work apart – the same happens in art colleges and other creative courses.  At best it might give you some idea of how others view what you have done – at worst – it totally destroys your enthusiasm for the subject!  Makes you feel worthless, and want to give up – even if you are incredibly talented!  And all abilities should be nurtured and encouraged by tutors – that’s what their job is supposed to be about.

this is a standard advertising still life I took years ago!

this is a standard advertising still life I took years ago!

Well I might not have been the best photographer around, but I knew that the course wasn’t going to give me what I wanted after the first term – so I left!  (OK – the courses were free at the time and I didn’t need the degree.)

The point is – besides me having a chance to show off some of my old work – smile – (you can see a selection of some of my other photos on “the spare“)

– that, if you were subjected to that kind of criticism in the past, you probably don’t want to put up a photo on a GALLERY HERE!

On the other hand, if you want to promote the work you sell, you might well be interested in getting some FREE PUBLICITY!

But the idea of the Gallery is not just for those few who, rightly, take any opportunity to publicise their work – it is for EVERYONE!

I am just as interested in seeing your first attempt at something, with all its faults, as the work with the professional finish that comes with years of experience.

You may find that someone who sees it can help you out with any problems you are having – and certainly, anyone who puts up their work here is not going to get ‘pulled to pieces’ – I moderate all comments, and will not allow any nasty ones to see the light of day!

It also seems that I have not made myself clear enough about what kind of work I will put up in a GALLERY.

THE ONLY STIPULATION IS THAT IT IS CRAFT RELATED – ANY CRAFT –

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE A TEXTILE CRAFT.

There are too many crafts to mention, but I will mention a few, just to make it obvious – there’s pottery, sculpture, glass work, ironwork, jewellery work, leatherwork, paperwork (not your accounts tho – smile), woodwork, re-cycling projects, mixed media etc etc – and of course anything to do with fabric, fibres and yarns.

What doesn’t qualify as a craft for the purposes of this exercise, is art work as in paintings etc (there are plenty of other places to show those) and videos – simply because they take up too much of my storage allowance!

And talking about storage space – please just send in ONE PHOT0. 

If you do send in more, I can, if I think it will show your work better, create a grid to put the other shots into the format of one image.  If you are not sure which photo will be best, you can send in more and let me choose which one to use.

THE PHOTOGRAPH CAN BE OF WORK YOU HAVE DONE IN THE PAST OR JUST RECENTLY.

NB:  If you would like to be featured in a SHOW & TELL you can send in as many photos as you like!

If you look at the bottom of the current GALLERY OF YOUR WORK, you will see that there is a note about copyright.  You own the copyright of the work and the photograph.  By sending the picture to me, you are only allowing me to use it in the Gallery, and I will ask your permission if I want to use it in any other way – as should anyone else that sees the blog – I strongly disagree with the idea of ‘stealing someone else’s work’.  However, it happens, so please don’t blame me if your picture appears elsewhere.  See my copyright info at the end of the blogroll on the right hand side of this page – and all pages!

this useful widget at the end of the said blogroll shows where the viewers come from

this useful widget at the end of the said blogroll shows where the viewers come from

The joy of the internet is that people from all over the world can see this blog and do! – I just took a snapshot of the latest figures for this blog – the widget here tells me where you all come from – and if you click on the actual widget at the end of my blogroll – you can see the that you are a truly INTERNATIONAL lot!

So – of course – the offer to host a picture of your work is open to anyone who reads this blog, or is a customer of mine and doesn’t bother to read it (smile), all over the world.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS IDEA?

How about I keep this GALLERY IDEA GOING?

I am thinking about having constant open submission, without any deadlines.

(Open submission means that anyone can send in a photo of their work – and anything you send in gets published, unless we have agreed that this photo is not suitable for any reason)

However, the current gallery is now closedBUT as soon as I have at least 10 photos waiting to be published, I will create a new gallery and then the next set of photos will form the basis of the next gallery – with any luck this could run & run!

Your comments & ‘likes’ would be greatly appreciated – I am not on twitter or facebook, but would be happy if you would spread the word for me!  I will direct my mailing list of customers – who are several hundred in number – to this blog in my next “newz from julz” – so hopefully we will find that there are enough people interested in this idea to start the ball rolling!

(If you would like to join the mailing list – please fill in the form at the bottom of the SHOP TALK PAGE)

I LOOK FORWARD TO RECEIVING YOUR PICTURES!

If you don’t have my email address – I took it off the site because I was getting too much spam – please either fill in the form on the SHOP TALK PAGE or the one on the CONTACT ME PAGE – and I will reply to your email address so that you can send me some pictures!

THANKS

julz signature

A Gallery of Your Work ….31 May

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scarfcopysThe Gallery

This is the Gallery of Your Work as it stands at the end of May 2015.

Are you shy, or haven’t got around to sending your work in, or just don’t trust me????

I really, really want this blog to be interactive and a place where you can go to get some ideas and inspiration!  I’m always offering to showcase your craft work – smile – either as individual “Show & Tells”, re-blogs, or to author an information sheet.

This was my invitation to contribute your work to this Gallery of Your Work.

And here are the 6 contributions – one of which is mine!

The text explaining who made the item and any details about it is accessed by hovering over the picture – to see the picture in larger definition, please click on it, and you will get a slide show.  The full text will be easily read, and you can even leave comments on any picture, for the maker!

Having taken inspiration from a fellow blogger, who put up a poll to ask people what design of crochet table runner she should make – smile – see here ……I thought I’d put up a poll to ask you to let me know whether you think I should extend this gallery idea or not!

Please tick to tell me what you think on the poll at the end of the gallery!

If you would still like to contribute to this Gallery – I will keep it open for longer – so you can still send your work in!  You can send me an email, or if you don’t have my email address, please fill in the Contact Me Form, and I will reply by email so that you can attach a picture.

3 June Update – one new submission – so I’m adding it here for now!  The response from the Poll gives me hope that there will be some more coming in – so please do continue to send me your photos.

I think what I’ll do is keep adding the pictures as they come in, and at some point – will renew this listing as the First Gallery of Your Work – so that the new photos get a chance to be in the most recent blog spot.  And then hopefully have Second & Third Galleries etc, as an ongoing theme – so – keep it in mind!  Your photos will always be welcome – smile!

9 June Update   – a beautiful dress made by Val one of my UK customers

 

This is the poll I mentioned above – 

I’ve never run one of these before so if I have got the questions wrong or anything else wrong – my apologies in advance!  The Poll lasts a week, so please do click on your preferred answer, and you will also be able to see what answers others have given as the week goes along.  Thinks – hope someone actually does use it!

Please also add any comments, or thoughts about the Gallery, that don’t fit into the set answers, in the comment section below – Many thanks – your feedback is appreciated!

 

 

NB: COPYRIGHT OF THESE PHOTOS IS OWNED AND RETAINED BY THE MAKER OF THE ITEM SHOWN – PLEASE SEE MY STANDARD NOTICE ABOUT COPYRIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BLOGROLL AT THE RIGHT OF THIS PAGE.  DO NOT REPRODUCE WITHOUT PERMISSION!

Diary of Craft Events

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I keep asking people when various craft shows, trade events or group shows are happening, and then forget all about them!

SO

I thought I might as well create a permanent page – which appears at the top of the blog – that you can access any time without needing to search for it, or for the websites.

I have only added the ones I know about in the UK so far – but this is an International blog – so please let me know of any events in your neck of the woods – wherever you are – and I will add them to the list.

Have a look at the craft events page, and please send me the information, with a logo or picture if possible, that will fit the format I have used.  If there isn’t a website, then please add the contact email address of the organiser, as long as you have their permission!

Oh yes, and when I said CRAFT EVENTS – THAT MEANS ALL CRAFTS – not just the woolly ones – smile!


 

This page is intended to be a

Diary of Craft Events – large and small

please feel free to add an event you are running, or like going to – any time – anywhere!

You can either leave me a comment at the end of this page,

or use the form on my contact me page.

This is just to show you approx what it looks like – more info on the full page!

WEBSITE

DATE

PLACE

INFO

http://properwoolly.co.uk 30-31 May Holsworthy Livestock Market,  Devon….UK An event to bring together fibre crafters and producers in the South West.
http://www.woolfest.co.uk Friday 26 June and Saturday 27 June Cockermouth, Cumbria….UK Woolfest was founded to provide a showcase and a celebration of the best of wool and wool crafts.

Handmade Felt Transforms Lives in Nepal

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logo  This article was published on 14 May on the Cloth Roads blog 

I thought you might like to read it as its very topical


This is a story of transformation that began before the earth shook Nepal twice in a few weeks, when women artisans were transforming scraps of saris, silk, and wool through a hand, wet-felting process into fashionable, felted art-to-wear scarves for the U.S.-based company, The Red Sari. It’s a story of what women can co-create when a vision is shared, changing lives of isolation and financial insecurity to ones of enhanced self-worth, status, and independence.

Taking a Leap 
Sometimes it’s best not knowing something. This is how Julie West felt when leaving a career in healthcare to pursue graduate school at the University of Arkansas, Clinton School of Public Service. It was while working on an international public service project in Nepal, when she became inspired by the country and its artisans.

Julie remembers, “I returned to Nepal after graduation for a four-month stay, working side-by-side with the women artisans in the Kathmandu Valley. It was through a collaborative process of testing, failing, and testing again that we designed our signature product, the felted vintage sari scarf. After that, we continued to collaborate on many other products.  In the fall of 2009, I launched The Red Sari.” Prior to working with Julie, this artisan group of fifty women did outsource work for many people so they’re thrilled to be working with only her, being paid a fair trade, living wage.

 

 

 

 

 

Returning to Nepal at least annually, Julie works directly with the women on product development. When she’s not there, she’ll send photos or sketches and the women will riff off of them or come up with designs on their own. Making felted scarves is a time-consuming process of bonding fabric with fiber, one which requires hand scrubbing, rubbing, and rinsing layers of materials with hot, soapy water until disparate elements transform into one colorfully rich scarf.  The use of repurposed old saris is really important for the environment as well as using natural material. And while some products veer away from the old saris, the artisanry and uniqueness of the products make a fashionable statement.

Why Red

In the Nepalese culture, the color red is both auspicious as well as a symbol of transformation. It’s a color in constant view of daily life. From the painting of household portals to applying a tika (a red dot) to a married woman’s forehead, red conveys protection, purity, dignity, and honor. For women, the wearing of red begins at marriage, an outward symbol conveying their cherished status, and ceases upon the death of a husband, no longer cherished but abandoned to the restrictive life of widowhood.

A married Nepali woman wearing red sari, vermillion hair stripe, and tika dot (red nails too.)

A married Nepali woman wearing red sari, vermillion hair stripe, and tika dot.

Widows are many, having lost husbands during the ten-year civil war which ended in 2006. And now, with lucrative industries beckoning able-bodied men elsewhere, both widowed and married women are carrying on the work of family and community. Constitutional changes are beginning to address long-needed provisions for widows.

Shortly before the first earthquake, Julie was working on a humanitarian project of establishing a short-term living and training center for women in transition. The center would offer basic education in reading and math, to teaching skills such as machine sewing and hand embroidery. The training would prepare them for living on their own. This project is now on hold due to the earthquakes.

Triaging From a Distance

The felting group couldn’t be reached for three days after the first earthquake. Julie’s on-the-ground coordinator, Bishnu, skypes with her regularly and she finally heard from him, learning that her group was fine, although some of their village housing wasn’t.

Julie said, “We had just gotten the factory back into full production and felt like we were doing really well until the second earthquake hit. The factory was hit this time–the pillars cracked and the aftershocks will continue. The factory is shuttered until engineers can assess the safety.  This work is the only livelihood for over 50 women and families.  The rebuilding and recovery phase is long. Everyone is looking for space, and the monsoon season is coming soon.” But Bishnu assures her that temporary space is being set up and things will move forward. Julie says a common saying is, “Don’t quit us. We’ll figure this out.” Her response is, “Why would I quit? This is a partnership and we’ll work together to figure it out.”

What You Can Do 

Can you help rebuild The Red Sari factory and help fund the costs of lost wages for the women and their families and the price tag associated with relocation? The link to The Red Sari’s crowdfunding campaign is www.gofundme.com/theredsari. No donation is too small. It all adds up.

Thanks to Julie West for providing information and images for this blog. But most of all, for her efforts to not quit. Pass it on. 

Luscious Silks – new & old stock

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silkworm and cocoon

silkworm and cocoon

Silk is a pure and natural fibre, and is made by silkworms.

The silkworm is the larva or caterpillar of the domesticated silkmothBombyx mori (Latin: “silkworm of the mulberry tree”)……….A silkworm’s preferred food is white mulberry leaves ……..

After molting, the instar phase of the silkworm emerges white, naked, and with little horns on their backs.

After they have molted four times, their bodies become slightly yellow and the skin becomes tighter. The larvae then enter the pupal phase of their lifecycle and enclose themselves in a cocoon made up of raw silk produced by the salivary glands

The cocoon is made of a thread of raw silk from 300 to about 900 m (1,000 to 3,000 ft) long. The fibers are very fine and lustrous, about 10 μm (0.0004 in) in diameter. About 2,000 to 3,000 cocoons are required to make a pound of silk (0.4 kg). At least 70 million pounds of raw silk are produced each year, requiring nearly 10 billion pounds of cocoons. (source: Wikipedia)

Maybe that was too much information – smile – but not everyone is aware of where silk comes from and why its has always been so expensive.  (19 May – See also ‘SILK’ – a re-blog of a post about the history of silk in China)

Silk comes in all ‘shapes & sizes’ – some of it is horrendously expensive, and if you buy a silk dress in an upmarket shop, I’m sure your credit card will know about it – smile.

However, not all silk products will break the bank, and I do love silk, so I have quite a variety of silk fibres, silk yarns and some stunning new pieces of hand dyed silk lap – as well as the pure white undyed lap, and silk ‘hankies’ – in stock at the moment, for you to play with!

(I’m currently experimenting with weaving silk, and if I like what I make, I will put a photo of it up on the Gallery of Your Work – & mine!  Please do contribute s picture to the Gallery – any photo you send in will be published – information for contributors is here.)

Below is a selection of pictures of the silks in stock now – you can buy silk noil fibres from as little as £2.99.  You will find my current listings for these in my etsy shop – julz craft supplies – and on julzweaving (ebay).

You can spin, weave, felt and make some beautiful textile art with these different types of silk!

Hover over the pictures to see what they are, or click on them to see a slide show of the full size pictures.