Tag Archives: silk hankies

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!

LUSCIOUS SILKS – SOME NEW ADDITIONS

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I love silk, and you might have noticed that I have got a stock of silks, either as fibres or yarns, and have just added some silk lap to the mix (trying it on ebay first – see links to my pages under the photo)

WHITE SILK LAP  Silk lap is strange stuff, its part fabric and can be used as wadding if you are making something from silk material that will benefit from the use of something quite so expensive – I have a small roll of white silk laps that I am selling as wadding  – but can also be used for felting & spinning.  It will be hand cut from the roll in aprrox 12″ squares.  You can use my landscape dyes to dye it too!

I also have some beautiful pieces that have been dyed in absolutely luscious colours, which I am selling as 5″ squares – no square will be exactly the same, and can be used to make pictures with, added to a felting project, or will make amazing silk yarn if you want to tease out the fibres for spinning. (apologies for the picture layout, I can’t seem to get them where I intend them to be!)

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BLUE GREY SILK LAP  GOLD YELLOW SILK LAP

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New stock includes some degummed white silk throwsters waste, which can still be used for paper making, will the addition of a glue, and will also add lovely effects to felting pieces.  The silk noils have always been popular and I am running out of the tussah silk noil, so it is presently only on etsy, but I plenty of the cream mulberry silk boil.

white sari silk  yellow sari silkAs for silk yarns, I have some new white recycled sari silk hanks, and still have some of the yellow hanks  – I sold out of the green and multicoloured hanks a while ago and am not sure whether to buy any more in – please let me know if you’d like some!  I also have a few cones of various different silks – see etsy for those.

silk-hankiesI recently restocked with the white silk “hankies”, which have been hugely popular, altho’ sometimes customers have not read the full information and think they are buying handkerchiefs – smile – these are literally hemmed squares of unrolled silk cocoons – how they hem them I don’t know – and altho’ I sell them in lots of 15, they are very difficult to count – but even more difficult to weigh – so I usually end up adding more in to make sure you have at least 15 in your bundle.

The SHOW & TELL feature – see last two postings – will run until the end of June, although I am always happy to showcase customers work, and I’d love more of  you to add pictures of your work, or related projects, or even work in progress!  So if you have been feeling shy, please don’t be, and if you keep meaning to take some pictures – please do and send them in – smile!

We are finally having some nice weather, as I predicted, so hope you all make the most of it – who knows how long it will last?

All the best

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of postage, sealing wax and other things….silk “hankies” & white merino roving back in stock

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original chart-brochure page

NB: please click on the links for my ebay listings or etsy shop just under the  photo on the right hand column, for prices and postage rates – smile!

As most of you will know by now,  Royal Mail, in their bid to make more money, have put up the postage rates, and not even the local post offices I use know what to do with them!

I seem to spend a lot of time peering at the new rate card, which amazingly, wasn’t available to anyone, until the day AFTER the rates went up – because they went up on 1 April, which was Easter Monday, and apparently, so they tell me at the post office I use most, there were instructions NOT to put the leaflets out until then.

elements chart -brochure pageMy local post office are sticklers for the rules, so they wouldn’t even give me an advance copy, knowing full well that I needed the new rates to change the postage on my ebay & etsy listings – and altho I’d looked them up on line, I couldn’t really make sense of them.

I still can’t.  On the one hand, for small & medium parcels – the new categories – you can now post up to 1 kg for the same rate – but on the other hand – you now have to measure the size of the parcels, and there seems to be no practical reason for setting these sizes.  I have asked.  They don’t seem to make any real difference to the way the parcels are sorted.

white merinoThe difference they do make is that, with the old rates, I could send a sack full of wool, fibres, rovings, stuffing etc for the same price as the small elephant trinket boxes – now it has to be squeezed into a ball small enough to fit into these odd sample white boxes they’ve all got – 16 cm cubes.  I watched yesterday whilst the ‘postmaster’ tried to fit the very squeezed wool stuffing into one, and whilst I had tried my hardest, it was about 0.1 cm larger, and he wouldn’t budge – I had to pay the higher medium parcel rate, which I hand’t charged for!

The other way round it is to lay  rovings into long skeins as flat as possible, so the depth of the parcel is no more that 8 cm – which makes for a very floppy bag, and isn’t the best way to avoid tangles.

silk-hankiesI was awake in the middle of the night last week and turned on the TV, to find that apart from the BBC or SKY news channels, all there was was the shopping channels, which I normally avoid like the plague – but happened to hit on an ad for a vacuum pack machine, for food.  You know, for packaging food for the freezer, or so the ad said, to save leftovers in the fridge!

It occurred to me that it might work for the wool, so I bought one.

basket of dyesIts been sitting beside the weighing machine for a couple of days now, and I still haven’t tried it – but I promise I will do a few tests in the next few days, and see if it makes a difference.  If so, I may have to change all the postage rates on my listings again!

What’s really annoying about these rates is that whilst I used to tell you all that I would cap the postage for any parcel weighing up to 750 gm (the old rate), I can’t do the same for parcels up to 1 Kg on the new rate, and thus have to add incremental rates that don’t really work, because if you buy say 200 gms of white merino roving, you get charged extra, so that the 300 gm rate works.

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This blog is by way of a long apology for the fact that I’ve had to put the postage rates up, and that, as I try to remember to say on all my listings – PLEASE ASK FOR A REVISED INVOICE BEFORE YOU PAY – because very often I can give you a lower postage rate – whether you live in the UK, or overseas – but if you don’t ask, I’m afraid I can’t refund the difference, once you’ve already paid.

And, by the way – two of my most popular items – the white merino tops / rovings, and the silk “hankies” (for spinning and paper making) are back in stock!  And I have added some new colours to the landscape dye stock – but I still can’t manage to stock them all, so please check which ones are available!

And if anyone wants to buy the huge 1 Kg cones of Merino Wool, you can save the postage if you want to meet up at Wonderwool on 27 April!

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