Yesterday I made a silk hankie. We had made one in level 3’s class work back in July, but yesterday I wanted to try a different method and I’m glad I did. I degummed the cocoons! The end result is a much softer, drapier hankie.
I started with pre-dyed cocoons I got from Celeigh Wool in Millet (no website, sadly). Look how dark they are!
Then I put them into 7 cups of water (1 cup each, not that I think that matters) with 1 Tablespoon Orvus paste, and a heaping 1/2 Tablespoon Borax. I accidentally let them boil in the water for a couple minutes; I was only trying for 185 F and stepped away to talk on the phone for a bit and they boiled. Hhhhh. Ah well, I think no harm, no foul.
Then I rinsed them a couple of times in hot tap water, and the last rinse had a shot of vinegar in it to cut the base of the Borax. The cloud isn’t leaching dye, it’s degummed fibres.
Then I stretched them on my hankie frame. It wrinkled my finger tips.
And once it was dry, I had a cute little hankie, and it’s a lot paler than we started with. I still intend to spin it, but I got distracted by some machine-carded bamboo I got in the mail and needed to do a little non-homework related spinning. So the spun hankie yarn is still to come.