Saturday * October 25th 2014

Eri Silk

BombyxSinglesI’ve been spinning bombyx silk on my Golding spindles on and off for quite a while now. It’s been my go-to spinning project these days.

In the past year, I’ve acquired quite a stash of dyed bombyx roving. I have no idea what I will do with the end result since I have way more than I need to weave a band or two or even ten. I have a small collection of spun bombyx singles waiting to be plied.

But as with all things, my attention wandered. I started to think about the Eri Batts that I purchased a few SOARs back (2011 and 2013). And then I had to spin some right now.

EriBattSo I went stash diving and pulled some eri batts out of stash. The staple is really short (by silk standards) — anywhere from 6-9″ long because these are made from cocoons where the silk moths have hatched. There are also some really short bits in there that create little slubs. I’ve pulled some out; some I’ve left in for visual interest.

Eri in batt form has a sheen that is similar to bombyx but with a honeyed hue. When spun, I think it has the feel and texture that is more like tussah. The singles do not have the same shine as bombyx — it looks more like tussah in that respect. I definitely cannot spin it as fine as the bombyx, but it’s definitely faster! The eri (below center) was spun in about an hour or so. The bombyx (below right) was spun over the course of a couple of evenings while watching mindless television.

SilkSpindlesIn the picture on the left, from left to right: tussah (blue-purple), eri (natural), and bombyx (light blue). All on Golding spindles.

It’s been fun spinning the eri from the “cloud.” I don’t know how else to describe it. You can’t strip it like you would normally strip a batt. There are definite bands of silk with breaks along fiber length. The “waves” you see in the batts cannot be flattened without pulling the fiber apart. So I’m just pulling them out in small bundles, fold them over and spin more or less from the fold.

Unlike silk bricks, the fiber length runs along the short way of the batt. I think it would be too fragile to dye in this form. If I were to dye it, I would do it after spinning and plying. I haven’t decided whether I will dye it or not. I was thinking of leaving it natural with bands of red eri to create stripes.

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Rug Workshop

JCRugSample

Took a workshop with Jason Collingwood this past weekend on plain weave rug weaving basics. Loved the class. I’m not sure about taking hours to weave a couple of inches though.

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Finished Cowl

InsideOutsideCowlFinished

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Inside Out

I returned home from vacation with a horrendous head cold that went into my chest.

What do you do when you are on the couch, sneezing, coughing *, wheezing, and running a fever? Plain old stockinette stitch in the round because that is all you are capable of doing. However, the provisional cast on and counting the stitches took way more brain cells than I had available after all the cold medicine!

InsideOutsideCowl

Pattern: Inside Outside Cowl by Churchmouse Yarns and Teas
Yarns: Habu Kasuri (painted) and Rowan Kidsilk Haze (silver/grey)

How do the Kasuri and Kidsilk Haze (KSH) compare?

While they are both mohair/silk blend yarns, KSH states it is a “Super Kid Mohair” and Kasuri just states “Mohair.” Kid mohair just means the first clipping of an angora goat. “Super Fine” and “Fine” are classifications of kid mohair, based on micron count. I don’t know if “Super Kid” is the same as “Super Fine” or not; however, based on my hands and eyes, KSH and Kasuri appear to of the same quality of kid mohair.

KSH put up is 25 g / 210 m. Kasuri is 14 g / 166 m. KSH costs less, even before you factor in the differences in put up.

KSH_Kasuri

Rowan Kidsilk Haze (top) Habu Kasuri (bottom)

Other differences? KSH is 70/30 mohair/silk whereas Kasuri is 60/40. The Kasuri is a slightly finer yarn than KSH.  KSH is a bouclé; Kasuri is not.

For all the differences listed in the last paragraph, KSH has a more pronounced halo than Kasuri.

Which do I prefer? This is a hard call. While I love all the individual colors in the Kasuri, I’m not thrilled with the way it puddles up. It looks like purple camo. But the hand…I like the hand of Kasuri much more than KSH. I think the higher silk content makes quite a bit of difference. In this case, less (mohair) is more.

We’ll see which I prefer once it is finished.

* When you are trying to cough up half a lung, it gives whole new meaning to Inside Out…

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Scarlett Socks

ScarlettAnklet

Yarn: Spirit Trail Fiberworks Sunna; 75/15/10 SW Merino/Cashmere/Bombyx Silk
Colorway: Scarlett *
Needles: Addi Turbo Sock US #0 (2 mm)
Gauge: 9 st/in

Construction Recipe **:

  • Toe: My normal toe up: cast on 12 stitches and increase to 64 sts. I changed from my normal left and right leaning increases to left and right leaning (nearly) invisible increases. I like this because it is faster than e-wrapping stitches on the needle or pick up and twist the bar below — at least for me.
  • Heel: Fish Lips Kiss Heel worked over 32 sts, decreased to 12 sts unworked. The kissy fish heel (my words) look a bit funny off the foot, but I like how it looks on the foot — no short row gaps, no lines of stitches. Just a smooth transition — you can follow the line of stockinette around the bend. The pucker is created by the row of regular stockinette stitch before turning the heel.
  • Cuff: Approximately 5″ from floor (1.5″ above my anklet bone). 3×1 rib at approx 1.5″ from cast off for 1″; 1×1 rib for 0.5″; tubular bind off. I gave myself a bit over 4x the circumference of the cuff and used every bit of it with just a few inches for weaving the end in. The bind off may be a bit too loose but I wanted to make sure it will be stretchy. I’m sure I’ll figure out the correct tension with practice. I really like how it looks and feels. I’m not happy with the jog between the first and last stitch even though I wove through the last stitch. I’ll need to play with it a bit more. Despite these issues, all solvable with practice, I think this bind off is a keeper!

* This red is really difficult to photograph. It is a true scarlet red.

** Yes, I’m playing with my sock recipe again. It’s good to shake things up every once and a while and question why you do things you do.

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