Category Archives: silk

Make Your Own Silk Paper – The Ironing Method

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DSCF1868Its actually very easy to make paper out of silk, and you can get some beautiful results very quickly if you use the Ironing Method.

I tried out a few variations, and made a few mistakes, and I would suggest that you work on the trial and error method too, and work out what you prefer.

There are various uses for this handmade silk paper, and you can make is as thin or thick as you like.  Thick paper can be used for book covers and even writing paper, and can be painted or embellished and embroidered after its dry, and cut to any size you want.

The thin paper is great to add to any art textile design piece, and is especially dramatic as a window within a greetings card.   You can also make beads by rolling strips of the paper and varnishing them – so I hope this gives you some ideas for xmas gifts!

You will need:

IMG_2605silk cocoon strippings (unwashed and still containing the natural gum, that the silkworms used to make the cocoons, which is what makes this method possible)

and/or

 

throwsters wastesilk throwsters waste (again unwashed – this comes in white or various colours)

 

 

silk hankies

matawa silk hankies (these are unwrapped cocoons spread out into hemmed squares – see my post on silk worms)

other odds and ends to add in when you are making the paper, such as bits of silk carrier rods, cut silk fibres, pieces of silk lap, washed throwsters waste, glitter, small beads or anything else that takes your fancy!

an iron and board or table

non stick greaseproof baking paper – must be non stick otherwise you won’t be able to peel the paper off

small spray bottle filled with ordinary water

A4 pack with everything you need - £9.99

A4 pack with everything you need – £9.99

I have put together a pack with the basics for you…depending of what size you make, it should be enough for 5- 20 pieces.

You can either buy this direct – see here – or you can find the listings for it on etsy – here, and on ebay – here.A6 silk sample pack_Fotor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instructions:

DSCF1844Cut two pieces of the baking paper and lay one on your ironing surface, then pull out strands of the silk cocoon strippings and lay in a thin rough circle or square on top of the baking paper.

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF1847Then spray with water and place the other sheet of baking paper on top and iron the sandwich.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF1845Lift the top paper and add some more silk strippings, and repeat as above.  You can continue this process until you get the thickness you want – or you can …..

 

 

 

 

 

DSCF1866….. add one thin silk hankie on top of the ironed silk, then another thin layer of the silk strippings, spray and iron.  The silk hankie does not contain gum so you need to add the strippings to fuse them.

 

 

 

 

 

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The idea of using the silk hankie is to give a thin net that will allow you to keep some gaps in the finished paper.  Lift the piece up and see if you want to add some more silk strippings.  The paper will still be wet so work carefully.

 

 

 

 

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Once you are happy with the piece of paper you have made, pull it off the bottom baking sheet and allow to dry.  You will find you have made a very thin sheet of stable paper.  The edges of the hankie will need to be cut off, as they will probably not have been stabilised.

Please note, when experimenting, you need to balance the thicknesses on each side of the hankie, and if you decide to add another one, you can.  Silk hankies can be dyed before you use them and will add some lovely colours to your paper.

 

DSCF1854You don’t need to use the silk hankies – this is another version where I tried adding some white silk throwsters waste, a little washed dyed silk throwsters waste and some coloured glitter.

 

 

 

 

DSCF1860I wasn’t sure I liked it all that much, but its just to give you some ideas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This is the finished dried piece.  Its a lot thicker than the first piece, and you need to fill all the gaps before you dry it!

 

If you would like to share your pictures of the paper you make, I will be happy to put them up on another post so that others can see them and get inspiration!  Please email them to me referencing “the ironing method’.  If you don’t have my email address, please use the CONTACT ME page.

 

To make things a bit clearer, you might like to watch this video I found on U-tube!

Some pictures of Silk Worms making Silk

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silkworm and cocoon

silkworm and cocoon

As you will know, if you follow my blog, I LOVE SILK!  Not just the finished silk fabric, but the raw silk yarns & fibres, and the cheaper bits like cocoon strippings and throwsters waste.  You can find some pictures of these in a previous post – and if you go to my etsy shop or julz craft supplies on ebay, you will find most of these, and other items on sale!

I came across this post about how silk worms make silk, with amazing pictures of the silk worms and their progress – it comes from Dona at Creative Country Life and you can find the original HERE.  Dona has kindly given me permission to copy this for you.

I am planning a series of ‘tutorials’ about using some of these, especially to make your own SILK PAPER but I thought you really must see this post first – it contains an explanation of how silk ‘hankies’ are made.


Raising Silk Worms!

They say that interesting people have interesting friends. I must be pretty interesting, if you go by that!

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Take a look at what one of my friends has been up to!

She’s been raising Silk Worms! I’m so jealous…

Now mind you this is not a large scale adventure. She just wants enough silk to make some Hankies for spinning. A Hankie is the form silk is generally accepted in for Hand Spinning into yarn.

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The problem is, even at a small scale, they go through a tremendous amount of Mulberry Leaves each day.

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Handfuls and handfuls of fresh Mulberry Leaves EVERY day. Naturally it is important to have easy access to a tree. And of course what goes in, must come out… So they need to be cleaned as well.

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The commitment is not a very long one. Only about 5-7 weeks. Before long they will begin to spin. Simple toilet paper tubes or egg cartons provide the perfect, cozy spot for the worms to spin their cocoons.

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One by one at first, then several at a time until everybody is neatly stowed away.

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But seriously. How cool is this??

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Soon there is nothing left but cocoons.

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But then comes D-Day…

The cocoons are… well, roasted in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes. I know, sounds rather harsh after caring for them so carefully. But the thing to remember is that if the moth is allowed to emerge, they are doomed to die shortly after. They do not eat or fly. They simply mate, lay eggs and die. Now that’s harsh!

The next step is to simmer the cocoons in soapy water. This removes all the gummy stuff that holds them together. The carcass must be removed and then the silk is spread out on a frame about the size of a handkerchief (hence the name Hankies).

Then they are ready for spinning or dyeing. I hope to have some photos of that process to share with you soon.

As for me – I need to find a Mulberry Tree!

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!

New Fabrics and Yarns in Stock

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Once again, I have tried to find an effective way to list my new stock – the columns worked fine at first – smile – with the text lining up within the small columns – but each time I saved it, the text changed into continuous lines!  Having spent ages on this trial, I’ve left it like this!

I am sending a copy of this out to all my customers – as a newz from julz email – and thought I might as well put it up here too – so anyone can have a look at 

some of my new stock!

I have been branching out into buying some exciting fabrics lately – see previous posts with my other fabrics here  & here – and have just got a few more in, and another bolt of the multicoloured zebra fabric that has sold really well!

I have also added a few more silk yarns and a small stock of Axminster Rug Yarns to see how popular they are – there are lots more colours in the range and I hope to be able to stock more of them if you think you might like to use them for weaving or latching rugs.  (Only listed on etsy at the moment.)

I have a nice range of ‘storage solutions’ in the form of cotton and jute baskets – and have included the latest Jute baskets below – they come in three sizes.

I have tried to give you links to the listings on both etsy & ebay and hope the links work!

If you don’t have an account with one or the other – or neither – you are welcome to  BUY DIRECT – SEE HERE.

Hope you like this selection – any feedback gladly received!

multicoloured zig zag design multicoloured zig zag design – 100 % cotton/150 cm wide – click here for etsy listing – click here for ebay listing
fish batik blue fish batik design – 100% cotton/110 cm wide – click here for etsy listing – click here for ebay listing
tapestry black Upholstery Fabric- 145 cm wide- 70% Polyester, 30% Cotton – click here for etsy listing – click here for ebay listing
ecru jute Jute Fabric for Craft uses – Ecru – 120 cm wide
lt brown jute Light Brown Jute Fabric – click here for etsy listing – click here for ebay listing
ivory linen Pure Linen – 140 cm wide for dressmaking etc – Ivory (not as bright as White)
8592-3 Black Linen – click here for etsy listing – click here for ebay listing
DSCF0854 200 gm cone of Fancy Linen – click here for etsy listing – click here for ebay listing
DSCF0860 Axminster Rug Wool – 250 gm cones – click here for etsy listing
3 wild silk Pure Tussah Wild Silk – 3 thicknesses – 100 gm cones – click here for etsy listing
black flecked silk Black Mulberry Silk with multicoloured flecks – 2 thicknesses – 100 gm cones – click here for etsy listing
DSCF0856 Pure Chinese Wild Silk – 100 gm cone – thick yarn – click here for etsy listing
herringbone group Natural Herringbone Design – JUTE STORAGE BASKETS – click here for etsy listing – click here for ebay listing

 

SILK

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SILK

This is a very informative post of the history of silk in China, from ancient myths about the origin of silk, the medieval international trade in silk, via The Silk Road, and some thoughts about modern tourism in China. Debbie has written several posts on the theme of Silk. See also my post “Luscious Silks“.

spaceship china

China has an exceptionally long history. It is one of the few civilizations on Earth that has a continuous culture, an ancient past, a vibrant present, and a certain future.

None of the cultural attributes, industries or thoughts of China epitomize that long history better than  SILK.

Silk from Beijing 

Silk culture – known a sericulture – began in China many centuries back. 嫘祖, Lei Zu or Ancestor Lei, whose name was 西陵氏, Xi Lingshi, was an Empress.Not just any Empress, mind you, her husband was the Yellow Emperor, China’s legendary ancestor-hero.

IMG_1704 Yellow Emperor carved in stone, at entrance to park along the Yellow River

One day, the young empress (she was only 14 years old at the time) was drinking tea under a mulberry tree. A cocooned silkworm fell into her cup of tea, and a long silken thread emerged from the coccon. SILK was born.

silk from a…

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