Okay Spinners, if you haven’t played with silk hankies yet, I have to recommend the adventure!
Facing a stack of sheer , filmy silk hankies is such a fun and rewarding spinning diversion. Once you’ve created the sleek shininess that is silk yarn, you’ll have a whole new definition of luxury.
The singles shine so impressively, that it’s difficult to believe how quickly and easily they’re spun up.
The process is amazingly simple and straight-forward. Pick up a hankie and poke a hole in the middle with your fingers, pulling outward.
Draft the hankie into a long loop. You’ll notice that you have to keep your hands pretty far apart, since silk has such a long staple. I go round and round, drafting different areas until I’m satisfied that it’s as even as possible. You can’t draft silk “on the fly” like you do with wool fiber. The smallest amount of twist locks it up tight, so get it where you want it before you set your spindle in motion. Once you’re satisfied go ahead and break the loop.
I’m spinning these hankies up for a knitter friend that dyed them, so I decided to take the time to make a couple of sample skeins to see if I’d get better results as singles or as two-ply. After finishing, I’ve come to the conclusion that I like the two-ply better. It seems more fluid and drapey, less stiff. I learned that silk should be washed in an acidic cleaner, such as Soak. Alkaline soaps will change the quality of the silk.
I’ve found that silk hankies do tend to have thicker and thinner areas – they aren’t quite as easy to keep even as tussah silk. If you can forgive the little inconsistencies and let go of your inner perfectionist, I predict you’ll be positively enchanted!