This project has been with me for ages. About 3 years, to be more precise.. I recall that it started out as a sample. I wanted to try out a new shape in a modular knitting technique, a letter T-shape.
At the same time, the sample served as a test-knit of my handspun yarn out of Silk Hankies.
Soon I was hooked on this T-shape and I sketched out a garment with short sleeves and began spinning and knitting.
It went well for some time. Then other projects and fabulous ideas came along and had to be delt with. I put my “T-shirt” aside and kind of forgot about it for a very, very long time..
But recently I digged it out, seriously determined to finish it now! There was (is) still some spinning to be done, and a few design issues to be taken care of. I try to keep good notes as I knit along so that there’s a chance that I can write some kind of pattern later on.. With projects like this, that just seems to take shape as you go and is full of surprices, it’s often very difficult to produce a written pattern. In my opinion it’s much more simple to knit modular projects from a drawing/sketch, with som key-numbers and technique-explanations added to it, of course.
Let’s see if I’ll be able to whip up a proper written pattern for this baby!
This morning I just completed the first shoulder.
The lower body, back and front, is almost all done, so now only shoulders and neck shaping remain. Borders too, of course.
I’m very pleased with how it turns out so far. The silk Hankies-yarn is nice to work with, and it looks great in simple garter stitch. I’m pretty sure the T-shirt is going to fit (me) nicely and that it will look good with my long brown summerskirt. Can’t wait to get it finished now! I’m off to do some spinning and knitting..
Silk Hankies are so easy to spin, and makes a beautiful, textured yarn.
I would like to show you how I go about spinning the hankies (after I dye them, of course – no fun spinning white stuff.. 😉 . The silk hankies shown here are dyed in my “Juneberries” colorway.)
I will show the spinning done on a drop spindle, but a spinning wheel works equally fine.
Silk Hankies are fiber squares (about the size of a hankerchief, hence the name) made up of many very thin layers of silk. The silk from the cocoon is stretched over a frame to dry, layer by layer until it has a certain thickness. A typical Silk Hankie weighs about 5 – 10 grams.
Use some handlotion to soften your hands before you begin working with the hankies, otherwise the fiber will stick to your hands and be difficult to control..
Peel off a very thin layer from the hankie. It’s like a spiders web.
Poke a hole in the center of the thin layer. That turns it into a ring of fiber. Pull the ring gradually to thin down the fiber thickness.
“Snap” the fibers a bit if they are difficult to draft, and make sure your hands are wide enough apart. The silk fibers are very long and does not draft easily. You decide how thin you want the strip to be – it should correspond with the desired thickness of your thread.
Then pull the ring apart and wrap the silk strip around your fiberholding hand (or make a small nest and set it aside).
Now to spin it: Make sure you have a generous overlapping area. Minimum 10 cm (4 inches). While spinning there’s not much, if any, fiber drafting to do. Just add twist and maybe use your fingers to even out the irregular spots that, because of the textured nature of the fiber, will show up here and there.
When I use the drop spindle I usually prepare and then spin 1 thin layer at the time. When using the spinning wheel it could be more practical to prepare several “nests” of fibers so you have a supply handy when you sit down to spin.
After spinning you can ply the thread, with itself or with something else. I’s also great as singles yarn. The long silk fibers doesn’t require much twist (or any twist for that matter) to hold together, and that makes it perfect for single ply yarns.
I’m plying my silk, however. I’m using it for a modular knitted vest, that has been in my project bag for ages.. I’ll post pics of that some other time, so stay tuned for more!
Silk Hankies are a joy to work with and the resulting yarn is beautiful, both shiny and textured at the same time.
This shows my way of handling them – how do you spin yours?
May I present my latest monochromatic colorways:
“Creme” and “Sailor”, both shown on shetland wool.
Each fiber wheel holds 200 grams (7 oz) of lovely wool (or other fiber) top, ready to spin or use for feltmaking. Or other stuff..
I dye on a variety of fibres. Shetland, falkland, Bluefaced Leicester, merino/bamboo, BFL/silk, polwarth and others. Please check out my shop to see the in-stock list, prices and such.
Oh, and I also paint Silk Hankies:
“Creme” and “Sailor” again.
Each bundle of silk hankies consists of 4 hankies, but the weight varies. Mostly each bundle weighs from 30 to 40 grams (1 – 1.4 oz). Just ask, and I’ll be happy to weigh it for you and inform about the price.