Silk cocoons: how to card them and spin them in this article

from Greta Antonietta Elena Silva - 6 October 2016

DHG Silk Cocoons

DHG Silk cocoons: I’d been wanting to try them for a while. I had a feeling that the results would be amazing. And I was right: as soon as I took them in my hands I realized that, unlike the more common Silk Tops, silk cocoons would give the yarn that bulky, uneven effect that I love so much.

Silk cocoons

How to card silk cocoons

Precisely in order to avoid flattening the fiber, I do the first part of the work by hand. I open the cocoons with my fingers, trying to make them as uniform as possible. Some of them I even leave closed, or partly open, and use them when I start carding. This way I can obtain that special texture that I will show you later.

Silk cocoons

Together with the silk cocoons, I also use the Extra Fine Merino Wool Tops, in raw colors. And I also use some dyed Teeswater wool locks. I start by setting up the carder with the different materials. First, a layer of silk cocoons. Then, a layer of extra fine merino wool tops. Lastly, a few locks of Teeswater wool, that will add some colorful hues to the final product.

Silk cocoons

Silk cocoons

Now that the base for the yarn is ready, I can start thinking about the aesthetic aspect. I position the unopened silk cocoons and the dyed locks directly on the carder’s drum, in order to obtain a material, three-dimensional look. Indeed, when I spin the materials, they will remain intact, even though they will blend into the different layers. Now, all that is left for me to do is to mix the remaining Teeswater locks and silk cocoons into one last layer of wool, and complete the carding process.

Silk cocoons

Finally, I cut out the resulting fiber mat and pull it out of the carder.Silk cocoons

How to spin the silk cocoons

Now, I can move on to the spinning process. I am going to use a spinning wheel. The material I am spinning is heterogenous and fluffy. And the results are unpredictable! This is exactly why I used the silk cocoons: the whole cocoons and uncarded locks are going to show here and there, giving the yarn a surprising, unique quality.

Silk cocoons

Because of this, it is important to spin  the fibers quite softly, so as to allow the different materials to express their potential, and to “grow”, making the yarn softer. While I am spinning, I feel like I am almost sculpting, slowing down the wheel whenever I need to to “carve” a detail into the yarn, as I find bulkier spots to work on. This is the result: a yarn I can use for knitting or embroidery with 20mm irons. Soft, warm, bright and absolutely unique and one of a kind.

Silk cocoons

Silk cocoons

Enjoy, Greta!

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