Spinning silk, pure silk, is a treat and you should definitely treat yourself to it. In the big, beautiful world of handspinning, there is nothing quite like it. After all, silk is the gold standard for smooth isn’t it? We often describe other things as “silky smooth” and “smooth as silk”. You know what is as soft and smooth as silk? Actual silk!
And its not as difficult to spin as you might think. Silk has a bit of reputation for being a challenge and I’m here to tell you that is not true. Silk is easy to spin. You just have to let it become the yarn that it naturally wants to be.
It wants to be spun fine and thin.
It wants a lot of twist.
It wants a fast whorl or, if you are working on a spindle, a fast and light weight spindle.
You can do all that. Really, the only barrier to spinning silk is your courage. Why is silk so intimidating? Because its not cheap! If you have some silk in your stash and you haven’t spun it yet, its probably because you’re afraid of messing it up.
Well, I can help with that.
A note: I did one thing before I turned on the camera: I put on hand lotion. Silk is so smooth and the fibers are so fine that you’ll need soft hands to spin it. So before you treat yourself to some silk, treat yourself to your favorite hand lotion.
How to spin silk into yarn
Another note: In this video I’m working with a pencil roving so I’m spinning worsted style with a short forward draw. When I have tussah silk, which can be coarse and/or have short fibers, I’ll spin over the fold. (If you’re not sure what those terms mean, check out this post on spinning vocabulary.) If you are spinning yarn from a silk hankie then a) I have much envy for you! and b) you’ll need to do all the drafting prior to spinning.
I hope that was helpful and I hope it gives you the courage to get out some silk and set to spinning it! But if do you need another nudge, here are some more guides for spinning silk:
- Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Spinning Silk from craftsy.com
- Spinning Silk Hankies from knitty.com
- A Guide to Spinning Silk Fibers from spinningdaily.com