Back on October 24th I posted about my first experience dyeing silk caps. I promised then to post about my experiences with the next steps. I do not intend my posts to be a tutorial. I'm just sharing my experience with this fiber. There are much more qualified tutorials out there. The SilkWorker being one.
Here we have the dyed and dried silk cap laid out ready to be prepped for spinning. My goal is to get only one layer off of this at a time. I've yet to do that. I did read somewhere that if you put your hands up inside the bell and stretch it out some then the pulling off of the layers is easier. I tried that and it was much easier...but I'm still unable to get a single layer at a time. I think it will just take practice.
This is what it looked like about half way through the drawing out process. To do this I stretched out the layer(s) until I poked a hole in the center. I continued to stretch out the circle of silk until it was almost as thin as I wanted to spin it at. Because I had more than one cap at a time, there were instances that I had to "fluff" out the section I was trying to draw out. If I pulled too hard too fast then the fibers would compact down much like a Chinese finger puzzle. When this happens, I will pull the fibers horizontally instead of vertically to "fluff" them out so they can draw out thinner.
At some (not predetermined) point I broke the circle and just started drafting out the silk into thin roving. I couldn't wait to spin some and started with a thicker roving than this and found it was really difficult for me to draft and spin at the same time so I decided to draft it out to the thickness I wanted to spin it at and go from there. I have some plastic containers that hold fiber safely away from my fiber helper shown in this pic and decided to draft into that. Hopefully this isn't a disastrous plan, but I'm not sure yet.
I will admit that I love the dying of this stuff and I love the idea of it, but I'm not completely sold on the spinning of the silk caps yet. I use my hands a lot and they are not the smoothest they could be. The tiny silk fibers catch on any and all rough spots. Even those I wasn't aware of. It is much like getting caught in a spiders web and I am terrified of spiders. So there are a few issues there. I've been coating my hands with a really good hand conditioner (actually for feet lol) before and during spinning and that seems to help a bunch. I'm not giving up on the caps yet. I've hear of spinning directly from the cap and think I'm going to try that with the next one. If nothing else, I'll dye some up and use them in gift packages to some of my spinnerly friends. :) They shall not go to waste.