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silk-msg – 6/19/05

 

Types of silk, silk in the SCA and period. silk noil, raw silk, dyeing silk.

 

NOTE: See also the files: textiles-msg, fabric-SCA-msg. dyeing-msg, cotton-msg, cotton-art, linen-msg, spinning-msg, looms-msg, embroidery-msg, dye-list-art.

 

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NOTICE -

 

This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

 

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

 

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.

 

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    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org

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From: hrjones at uclink.berkeley.edu (Heather Rose Jones)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Expensive Authenticity

Date: 1 Jan 1994 03:11:29 GMT

Organization: University of California, Berkeley

 

Gregory Stapleton <gregsta at microsoft.com> wrote:

>I am currently reading a biography of The Black Prince and in 1342, it is

> noted, he gave a lot of silk to one of his sisters, which he had "picked up"

> in France after the battle of Cercy.  Whether it is "raw" silk or not I have

> no idea, but it does appear that silk was available in period.

 

>Gawaine Kilgore

 

Oh, I wasn't questioning the use of silk, per se, just the types of processing

and finishing that result in what we call "raw silk" today. The Museum of

London textiles book has an entire section on silk finds which has been

very useful in trying to figure out which of the offerings in my local

fabric store would be appropriate to use.

 

Keridwen f. Morgan Glasfryn

 

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: kjh at statsci.com (Kjrsten Henriksen)

Subject: silk, was Re: Expensive Authenticity

Organization: Statistical Sciences, Inc., Seattle, WA USA

Date: Tue, 4 Jan 1994 22:56:51 GMT

 

There are two kinds of silk that are some-times called "raw silk"---

one is silk noil, which is made by washing and spinning the short

fibers from broken caccoons, and the other is tussah silk, which is

made from the coccoons of other types of mothes which eat other things

than mulberries.

 

Tussah silk is woven in some of the countries in northern africa,

especially those touched by islam.  It is not as fine or as brilliant

as mulbery-worm silk, and it's base color is never pure white.  I

don't know where else it is worked, I have seldom seen it on the

market, and when i do it is out-rageously expensive.

 

I love silk noil--it has all the warm-but-cool properties you expect

in natural fabrics, it has a wonderfull drape and hand, and all though

it is not cheep (i've seen it as low as $6/yard a yard wide; $11 for

44" wide is more common) it is cheaper and easier to find than wool of

the same weight.

 

malice

kjh at statsci.com

 

 

From: ayotte at milo.NOdak.EDU (Robert Arthur Ayotte)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Expensive Authenticity

Date: 4 Jan 1994 01:20:44 -0500

Organization: North Dakota State University ACM, Fargo ND

 

In article <DOCONNOR.94Jan3164749 at ravage.sedona.intel.com> you wrote:

 

: bnostran at lynx.dac.neu.edu (Barbara Nostrand) writes:

: ] As I recall, there was extensive silk trade between China and the Roman

: ] empire prior to the collapse of trade attendant upon the age of

: ] migrations.  The Eastern Roman Empire and the Parthian Empire (if I

: ] am recalling my empires correctly) maintiained quite a bit of trade

: ] during much of this period.] silk Regardless, silk was apparently

: ] known even in Roman times.

 

: The "Pax Mongolia" begun by Chingis Khan re-opened the silk road,

: allowing trade between China and Europe, and facilitating the

: travels of the various members of the Polo family :-). The silk

: road closed again after the break up of the Mongol Empire in the

: late 14th century

 

      Silk was being produced in Italy as early as the 11th C.  Most of

the fancy fabric that you see in pictures with western designs (european)

was produced in Italy and the south of France.  You can still see the

country side covered in mullberry bushes in much of Italy.

      There was consideral guild control of silk production guided

by the state, as it was important to the economic viability of the country

if not the local rulers taxes.

 

      Yes, those are silk velvets and damasks in the pictures you see.

Silk could be grown, where as cotten had to be imported and wool to my

(granted limited) knowledge does not make a good velvet.

      Interesting note I saw on TV, seems that they still have all

of the patterns for weaving the various brocades and such in Italy.  

One can still get the fabrics, but...the prices I was hearing were

800 pounds sterling per meter for the fancy stuff.  Still think of

the garb you would have!

 

Horace

 

 

From: sbloch at ms.uky.edu (Stephen Bloch)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Expensive Authenticity

Date: 4 Jan 1994 15:59:51 -0500

Organization: University Of Kentucky, Dept. of Math Sciences

 

Robert Arthur Ayotte <ayotte at milo.NOdak.EDU> wrote:

>     Silk was being produced in Italy as early as the 11th C.  Most of

>the fancy fabric that you see in pictures with western designs (european)

>was produced in Italy and the south of France.  You can still see the

>country side covered in mullberry bushes in much of Italy.

 

There's a famous story of a couple of Byzantine priests visiting the

Orient, stealing a couple of silkworms and mulberry leaves, and

smuggling them all the way home in their hollowed-out walking sticks.

Robert Graves, in his fictionalized _Belisarius_, suggests that this

happened in the 5th or 6th century AD; anybody know something more

solid?

 

Silk was being produced in al-Andalus as early as the 10th C, I

believe.  The letter of R. Hasdai ibn-Shaprut (medic and political

adviser to the Caliph of Cordoba) to the King of the Khazars describes

al-Andalus and its products in some detail, mentioning among others

"the leaves upon which the silkworm feeds." Now, I can't imagine

mulberry leaves themselves as an export crop, since they already grow

well in most of Europe.  It's conceivable that he'd just heard that

silkworms ate mulberry leaves, without ever having seen one, but it

seems much more likely that there was a significant silk industry in

10th-century Spain.

 

                        mar-Joshua ibn-Eleazar ha-Shalib

                              Stephen Bloch

                           sbloch at cs.umanitoba.ca

--

                              Stephen Bloch

                            sbloch at s.ms.uky.edu

 

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Expensive Authenticity

From: una at bregeuf.stonemarche.org (Honur Horne-Jaruk)

Date: Wed, 05 Jan 94 09:57:34 EST

Organization: there is such a thing?

Summary: more comments on `correct' silks

 

ayotte at milo.NOdak.EDU (Robert Arthur Ayotte) writes:

 

> In article <df0_9401040031 at blkcat.fidonet.org> you wrote:

>

> : Dunno. Seems to me that there must have been, since wild silkworm cocoons a

> : still gathered & used. However, I'm not sure that this fabric would have be

> : a big export item for the silk-producing regions. It surely wouldn't have

> : brought anywhere near the price, and it wouldn't be as strong as reeled sil

> : Grania

>     Interesting note about the broken cocoons.  Just a thought, but

> I have read that shipments from china often came packed in the cocoons

> of the moths that had emerged (sort of period packing peanuts).  I guess

> that the shorter wild threads would make good batting and filling for

> quilted winter coats as it's a great insulator. Perhaps a felt was produced

> by soaking the cocoons in warm water to losen the threads and then spreading

> them in a thin sheet (sort of like paper making). The latter stuff is all

> guessing, any thoughts?

> Horace

Respected Friends:

      Both correct. `Raw silk ' in the modern sense is mostly made from the

cocoons chewed open by the emerging moths; back then they were wetted,

stretched and felted or wadded to produce various types of insulation for

boots, coats, et cetera. In fact, the `bell silk ' sold to American spinners

today is exactly that, and the occasional Chinese citizen who finds out what

we do with it usually risks a bad bruise or two from falling over laughing.

      Tussah- wild silk- is, however, another story. Since the wild moths

do not have a controlled diet, the cocoons come in lovely golds, ambers,

& browns, all completely fade-resistant because the color is chemically

built into the silk strand itself. I can easily picture a small trade

from India (which is where Tussah comes from) to relatively nearby Byzantium,

of `Sunproof ' tent and awning material.

      I say small because, quite frankly, the taste for lumpy fabrics is an

artifact of the spinning jenny. Not until smooth is the omnipresent norm

do lumps become the lovely variation from it. In our period, lumps were

found in fabrics like Shoddy (picked apart and re-spun and -woven rags)

not in fabrics like silk. Tent awnings of wild silk I can just picture.

Court dress, no way.

For the original poster who wanted info about suitable silks: Get hold of

Baroness Catherine Goodwyn's book on period textiles. Her Laurel was in

costume and the thing's worth its weight in silk cocoons, at least. You

may have to find a real oldster, though; last reprint I know of was AS18.

If you can't get that, try Herbert Norris's 3-volume set, Costume and

Fashion. Poison Pen Press (check TI ad for adress) is doing a facsimile

reprint that belongs in every group's library. (It is also good for its

unusual, and valuable, coverage of lower and middle-class clothing.)

If you want more detail, just ask. this post is long enough.

thanks- Honour Horne-Jaruk/ Alizaunde, Demoiselle de Bregeuf

 

 

From hal.physics.wayne.edu!corliss  

Date: Thu, 6 Jan 94 10:53:01 EST

From: plains!hal.physics.wayne.edu!corliss (David J. Corliss)

Subject: Silk

 

My dear colleague-

 

Some notes on terminology:

Silk cocoons normally consists of a _single_ very long tread. The cocoons are soaked in water and the thread reeled up. Then, this single wound up thread in cut to produce pieces of the desired "staple" (length). A person who cut this thread into suitable lengths is said to "hackle" it; the same term is used to

refer to the cutting of flax fibers (they start about a yard in length) to the

desired staple.

 

Generally, the processing of silk at all stages tend to produce short, broken

fibers. These are known as "noils". It would seem that your last post speaks

of felt made from noils. Silk does not felt well, as this process requires

fibers that tend to "grab on" to teach other (my words). Thus, felt is made

from rough fibers with a large amount of "crimp", i.e., kinky. Felt is produced

almost exclusively from various kinds of wool.  While I have not heard of noils

being used for batting, I should think that they would be ideal: they are

light, soft, insulating, extremely durable, and never mat together (i.e., do

not make felt).

 

                                    Beorthwine of Grafham Wood

 

 

From: sapalmer at magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Sharon A Palmer)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: silk, was Re: Expensive Authenticity

Date: 15 Jan 1994 05:24:29 GMT

Organization: The Ohio State University

 

In article <KJH.94Jan4145651 at olivia.statsci.com>,

Kjrsten Henriksen <kjh at statsci.com> wrote:

>

>There are two kinds of silk that are some-times called "raw silk"---

 

The term raw silk means that not all of the sericin (the gum that

holds the cocoons together) has been removed.  Which further implies

that it is spun from short fibers, rather than reeled long from

long fibers.

 

Tussah is also known as wild silk and is usualy spun.  But Pongee

is reeled tussah silk.

 

Someone asked about using silk cocoons for batting.  This is called

Muwata.  The cocoons are simmered in an alkaline solution until

they soften, about an hour, then opened and stretched out.

 

That story about a cocoon dissolving in the princess's tea cup

is _false_.

 

Ranvaig (who once at a school demo tried to dissolve a cocoon

by soaking it in boiling water.  I eventually got it to work.

The same reaction from all: Eeeugh!  There's a _bug_ in there!

Moral: Never try anything for the first time at a demo.)

 

 

From: sapalmer at magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Sharon A Palmer)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Silk

Date: 16 Jan 1994 09:44:47 GMT

Organization: The Ohio State University

 

In article <9401081952.AA25034 at milo.UUCP>,

Robert Arthur Ayotte <ayotte at milo.UUCP> wrote:

>

>Some notes on terminology:

>Silk cocoons normally consists of a _single_ very long tread. The cocoons are

soaked in water and the thread reeled up. Then, this single wound up thread in

cut to produce pieces of the desired "staple" (length). A person who cut this t

hread into suitable lengths is said to "hackle" it; the same term is used to

>refer to the cutting of flax fibers (they start about a yard in length) to the

>desired staple

 

To "hackle" flax is to comb it, to separate the fibers from each other

and from the woody parts.  I have never heard this term used for silk.

If you have heard the terms used that way, perhaps modern spinning

mills do.  Who knows what sort of perverse practices they are up to. :-)

 

A flax hackle looks much like a single wool comb.  That is, a piece

pf wood with many nail-like spikes in it.  You hold one end of a

handful of flax, slap the other end onto the spikes and pull.

 

Silk may be cut to length and spun, but is more commonly reeled.

I suspect that the pieces too short to reel may be cut so that

modern spinning mills can deal with them, but I would not expect

this to be a period practise. Most period fiber preparation is aimed at

obtaining fibers as long as possible because it wears better, looks

better, and is easier to weave.

 

Silk is reeled by simmering several coccoons until they soften,

an hour or so.  You loosen one end from each coccoon, bring them

together and wind on a reel or even a stick.  When one breaks

or runs out, or if the thread gets too fine, you add another fiber

from another cocoon. It then can be "thrown" or have twist added.  

This is not the same as spinning because it is not "drafted".  

Drafting is when you elongate the mass of (relatively) short fibers,

so they slip past each other to make a long, correctly sized proto-thread,

instead of a short fat one.

 

Ranvaig

 

 

From: hwt at bcarh70c.bnr.ca (Henry Troup)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Silk

Date: 17 Jan 94 15:41:40 GMT

Organization: Bell-Northern Research Ltd., Ottawa, Canada

 

In article <2hb2af$ldq at charm.magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu>, sapalmer at magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Sharon A Palmer) writes:

 

|> Silk may be cut to length and spun, but is more commonly reeled.

 

I have reeled silk. Typically, you have a few cocoons unraveling at

once and use the sericin to glue the threads into one. The finest silk

is hand-reeled, using as few as three cocoons - three fibres.

 

Silk is chopped in modern processes, but produces an inferior fibre

and cloth.  Long threads, no ends, produce the smooth shiny silk that

we all lust after.

 

This was a workshop for spinners. Fascinating stuff, hard work, and I

got a vicious sunburn.  Somewhere I have samples.

 

--

Henry Troup - H.Troup at BNR.CA (Canada) - BNR owns but does not share my opinions

 

 

From: priest at vaxsar.vassar.edu

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Early Period Silks

Date: 20 Sep 94 10:25:56 +1000

Organization: Vassar College

 

Greeting from Thora Sharptooth!

 

I missed the original post on this subject, but saw this reply.  Tangwystyl

(hrjones at uclink.berkeley.edu ) wrote:

 

>Brent Kellmer (kellmer at u.washington.edu) wrote:

>: Just a quick question:  

>

>: What types of silks would have been available during the 9th and early

>: 10th centuries?  Commerce with Byzantium would have been common where I'm

>: looking, so silk access isn't a problem.  I'm also not looking so much at

>: the historical aspect (although that is interesting enough), but rather

>: at the costuming aspect.

 

It depends somewhat on what your persona is, or what look you're trying to

re-create.  In my culture (Viking-period Scandinavian) explicit types of

Byzantine silks can be demonstrated to have been used for a few specific

purposes.  In the nearby cultures (Anglo-Saxon, Frisian, Frankish), slightly

different uses were no doubt the norm.  If you're talking about southern or

Eastern Europe outside the Rus culture, or the Church, I wouldn't want to

speculate.

 

And Tangwystyl writes further:

 

>: I'm certain that raw silk would have been commonly available (is this

>: true?), and of course silk damasks.  But how about that "silky" oily

 

(Note to Sasha:  '"silky" oily' what, by the way?)

 

>I have become very doubtful that raw silk _would_ have been commonly

>available, especially in areas where silk was an imported item.

 

And she is right.  Byzantine silk textiles were made of reeled bombyx silk, not

spun or tussah silks.  This means that the threads were fine, light-colored,

even, and highly lustrous, not thick, dark, slubby, or matte in texture.  The

closest period example I know of that is even close to silk noil, or what we

moderns (mistakenly) call "raw silk," is one of the (presumed) veils in the

Museum of London's TEXTILES AND CLOTHING book; although it is semi-transparent

and finer than a noil weave, it does have slubby weft threads.  Plain

tabby-woven silks, however, were available in the ninth and tenth centuries; my

people in the Danelaw used a few different types of it, mostly in ribbon form.

 

Of course, the Moslems in Spain were also weaving silks by the ninth century.

I do not know any of the technical details of those threads, although the same

types of weaves were used as were used in Byzantium.

 

As for "damasks," I doubt that Sasha actually mean to use this term.  The weave

referred to as "damask" is not one that is typical of Byzantine silk weaves in

the ninth and tenth centuries:  it is (simplistic version) a monochrome

reversible weave with areas of "shiny" and "matte" making up the patterns.  Nor

is "brocade" what Sasha means:  although folks in the Society often use it to

refer to any multicolor weave, brocade is a technical term for a weave that

involves a supplemental non-structural weft used solely for patterning effect.  

 

The actual weave used for the fancy Byzantine silks available in the ninth and

tenth centuries was/is called "samitum," or samite.  It is a "weft-faced

compound twill," a thick, supple, lustrous multicolored fabric with a twill

texture that was woven on a double warp.  In that period samites were chiefly

two-colored with large (sometimes geometric) repeating motifs or multicolored

with smaller geometric motifs framing zoomorphic (paired elephants, griffins,

birds, and other critters) or other naturalistic designs.

 

>(research project queue #275: look into the correlation between period

>silks and currently available fabrics)

 

This is near the TOP of my queue.  My general rule of thumb is to match the

texture first (I like rayon challis for a shiny twill texture, but real silk is

of course always preferable), then look for a pattern that's appropriate.  Of

course, that's only until my apprentice finishes figuring out how to weave the

stuff.... ;>

 

As always, references (or, in this case, suggestions for illustrations of silks

from the ninth and tenth centuries) upon request.

 

****************************************************************************

Carolyn Priest-Dorman             Thora Sharptooth

Poughkeepsie, NY                 Frosted Hills ("where's that?")

priest at vassar.edu             East Kingdom

            Gules, three square weaver's tablets in bend Or

****************************************************************************

 

 

From: Blktauna at netaxs.com (Blktauna at netaxs.com)

Date: 16 Sep 94 21:32:09 -0500

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: early period silks

Organization: Fidonet: The Black Cat's Usenet <=> Fidonet Gateway

 

From: blktauna at Netaxs.com (Donna Bowers)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Organization: Netaxs Internet BBS and Shell Accounts

 

Brent Kellmer (kellmer at u.washington.edu) wrote:

 

: What types of silks would have been available during the 9th and early

: 10th centuries?  Commerce with Byzantium would have been common where I'm

: looking, so silk access isn't a problem.  I'm also not looking so much at

: the historical aspect (although that is interesting enough), but rather

: at the costuming aspect.

 

The pertinent question is, where do you live, fellow silk addict? If you

can do mail order, that is one thing, but if you require a local store

that can be difficult.

 

: I'm certain that raw silk would have been commonly available (is this

: true?), and of course silk damasks.  But how about that "silky" oily

: stuff that occupies most of the silk section in fabric stores?  I'm

: trying to work on garb for 12th night.

 

: Any help would be wonderful.

 

: --Sasha

:   kellmer at u.washington.edu

 

Precisely what do you mean by "oily"? I'm none too sure that I would like

that on me....;)

Since you seem to be of Eastern origin, I can help somewhat. A silk

damask would be the fabric of choice for any upperclass individual of Rus

or Polish areas. A richly colored silk broadcloth would be a good choice

for middle class. I can guess that you mean charmeuse when you talk about

oily stuff. I have been told that it is period but I have no time period

for it's use. I use a finely woven raw silk, simply because it is easy to

obtain. Actually it is not totally correct for me, but until I can afford

heavy silk twill and brocades, it will have to do. You can not fail with

a plainweave as fine as you can find.

Then we get to color choice. The best thing to do is go to the library

and check out the natural dye books. They will give you a handle on color

intensity and variety. Pick one you like and match from there...

Good luck

 

Tauna

---------

Fidonet:  Blktauna at netaxs.com 1:109/42

Internet: Blktauna at netaxs.com

 

 

From: blktauna at netaxs.com (Donna Bowers)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: early period silks

Date: 30 Sep 1994 16:54:52 GMT

Organization: Netaxs Internet BBS and Shell Accounts

 

Anne Reynolds (apr at fc.hp.com) wrote:

 

: Greetings,

 

: I believe at one point Tangwystl (I hope I'm not mis-atributing the

: question) asked "is the stuff I buy in the store, called China Silk,

: similar to any medieval silk?"  Does anyone have an answer to that

: question?  What I can get locally is China Silk and Silk Charmeuse.

: Are either of these close to a period material?

 

: Thank you for the help,

: Rashiqah bint Azhar

 

I have been told that the chila silk is indeed something to buy in vast

quantity. The verdit is not in on the charmeuse

 

Tauna

 

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: period silk?

From: una at bregeuf.stonemarche.org (Honour Horne-Jaruk)

Date: Sun, 20 Nov 94 23:02:45 EST

 

Sheri.Stanley at p1.f1.n107.z180.fidonet.org (Sheri Stanley) writes:

>  VsuE> In any case, I seemed to have missed the final consensus on what kind

> of

>  VsuE> silk is best.  I'm thinking of a silk tunic from about the 11th c. in

> a

>  VsuE> culture that would have had contact with the muslim world, and perhaps

>  VsuE> Byzantium.  As I recall, someone suggested that raw silk would not be

>  VsuE> appropriate, but that's as far as I got. Any suggestions or comments

>  VsuE> would be appreciated, here or privately.

>

> Any form of silk would be period for *somebody*. "Raw" silk is processed from

> cocoons which have been burst by the moth escaping. It can be made from wild

> silkworms as well, and I'd bet if you found some wild silkworms, you'd use

> the cocoons (that stuff's expensive!).

>

> Grania

>

>

> "yea, that mouthy laurel"

      Respected friends:

      `Raw silk' cocoons produced when domestic silkworms are allowed to

emerge were and are used- to produce quilt wadding. Yup, that's right,

period Quallofil (sort-of). Obviously, since there was a perfectly good use

for it, and it was being used for that purpose, nobody was thinking much

about diverting it from that use.

      Wild silk is a different matter. That stuff _wasn't_ expensive in

period. It was, like milkweed down, a poor substitute for something (in

this particular case, cotton) that the users would rather have had but could

not afford.

      People in medieval China, byzantium, and Spain (raw silk) and

India (wild silk) had more lumpy, slubby, uneven yarn than they wanted just

through the inevitable mistakes of beginners. They didn't have our machine-

induced fascination with uneven work as `natural'- they mostly thought

slubby yarn was entirly too "natural"- and they beat the lazy drabs who

produced it.

      Fabric is one of the areas where we have to work hardest to overcome

our modern mindset in order to understand what our forebears had (and wanted).

We like "texture"- unevenness- because we see so little of it and are charged

extra for it. They disliked unevenness; to them it was the evidence of

incompetence.

      As a quick comparison point, try looking at jewelery then and now.

Even their hacks produced better balanced, more even work than our "great

masters" are exhibiting now.

      Alizaunde would have had some interesting words with a clothier

who tried to sell her slubby silk. Prominent among them would be terms like

"shoddy" and "fraud".

      Honour, on the other hand, buys raw silk when it's cheap enough,

because it impresses her mother.

      (Una never saw silk till she reached byzantium, and still doesn't

believe that incredible stuff is worm spit...)

 

(Friend) Honour Horne-Jaruk R.S.F.

Alizaunde, Demoiselle de Bregeuf C.O.L. SCA

 

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: burlap and clothing/alternative loose weaves

From: una at bregeuf.stonemarche.org (Honour Horne-Jaruk)

Date: Fri, 07 Feb 97 22:34:17 EST

 

mtnmama at rmi.net (mtnmama) writes:

> To change directions a bit, could anyone tell me when and where

> a very loose evenweave raw type of silk would have been used?  

> It may be called silk gauze, and used for a certain type of

> needlework, but would have been too immodest to wear as a single

> layer of clothing.

>

> And the same question for hemp fabric, in a weave similar to a

> linen suiting weight of today.

>

> Sheila

 

        Respected friend:

        On the hemp fabric, you're home free. It wasn't a

particularly noble fabric, but almost everyone could grow it and

almost anyone who couldn't afford linen wore it.

        On the raw silk, the news isn't good. Unless (for some

obscure reason) your persona is a peasant from Moghul India, you

not only wouldn't have worn the stuff, you would not have been

able to imagine its existence.

        Until _very_ recently, the whole reason for silk was

smoothness. Once the continuous filaments were reeled off the

cocoons, _the rest of the fiber was used for insulation._ (we

still have nothing- not even the fancy space-age stuff- that

can match the insulating characteristics of silk.)

        The filament silk hit the silk road; the waste stayed

home, as wadding in those nice thick padded clothes the Chinese

wore in the winter. (The reason the North Indian peasants were

an exception is because the only silkworms available there

were wild ones that lived on oak trees; they couldn't produce

smooth filaments, and the peasants were in no position to complain;

it gets _cold_ in those mountains.)

        Raw silk became popular after the end of home cloth

production. Once smooth factory cloth became the universal norm,

irregular fabric like Tussah (the North Indian stuff) was

suddenly valuable; it was hand-made, and in limited supply. But

once that limited supply was exhausted, "raw" silk stepped in to

fill the gap between supply and demand. All of this, of course,

long after the end of the SCA's period.

        Use the hempcloth for non-noble clothing- underlayers and

tough work clothes for the middle class, any and everything for

the "honest" poor. Save the raw silk for flapper costumes.

 

                                Alizaunde, Demoiselle de Bregeuf

                                Una Wicca (That Pict)

                                (Friend) Honour Horne-Jaruk, R.S.F.

 

 

From: gbrent at Kutta.Stanford.EDU (Geoffrey Brent)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Silk cloth

Date: 3 Apr 1997 10:20:58 -0800

Organization: Stanford University, CA 94305, USA

 

william thomas powers <powers at woodstock.cis.ohio-state.edu> wrote:

>>      Here's an interesting question... how easy is it to dye silk?  Is

>>it like linen in that it doesn't take very well, or is it like cotton in

>>that it will hold the color for quite some time (well, nothing lasts

>>through too many washes)?

>>      I ask, because it seems to be most economical to buy an entire

>>bolt of white, cut to need, and dye whatever color you wish.  Would this

>>be feasible... or am I just indulging in wishful thinking?

>

>Silk dyes gorgeously! ---one of the reasons it was so precious---

 

>Remember that it prefers ACID dyes like wool (*not* like cotton).

>Using natural dyes at our "dye-ins"  we have got some colours that

>really contradict the "only muted tones are period"

 

One thing you can't get by buying white silk and then dying it

is the "shot silk" look, since that's made by weaving two or more

different colours of silk together for some really pretty effects.

 

Yes, silk takes some _beautiful_ colours, and I don't really like

to sew with anything else... But to reduce the amount of dye that

_does_ come out in the wash, I'm told that dissolving a good

amount of salt in the water helps. Anyone know if this is true ?

 

Washing it gently is also good. Rather than normal detergent,

normal hair shampoo will do the trick.

 

GtQ

wearer of horrendously bright silks

 

 

Date: Fri, 09 May 1997 04:27:08 GMT

From: Maggie.Mulvaney at fp.co.nz (Maggie Mulvaney)

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Spinning Silk from cocoons

 

Greetings from Muireann. I've been lurking a while, enjoying the wide

diversity of topics and knowledge on this list!

 

Lady Elyn wrote;

 

>Although I have never worked with silk cocoons, my understanding of the

>process is that it is reeled, not spun.  A single silk strand is taken

>from each cocoon and drawn together with several others, then wrapped

>onto a sort of bobbin with little or no twist.  The raw silk is still a

>little gummy, so the thread stays glued together.  I read this in an

>issue of Spin-Off magazine that was several years old-- I'm not sure

>where my copy is, but if it turns up I'll post any tips, historical info,

>etc.

 

I think both processes were used in period. The article on

headcoverings from Fishamble st in Dublin (Viking age) discusses

several pieces of silk material, some of them woven from spun silk,

some woven from a spun warp and an unspun (reeled, presumably) silk

weft, and I think at least one piece was unspun in both warp and weft.

The unspun thread gives a soft, shiny cloth, which would be rather

nice for a scarf.

 

/Muireann ingen Eoghain

* MMY             *               Maggie.Mulvaney at fp.co.nz *=20

* Maggie Mulvaney * http://www.fpnet.co.nz/users/m/maggiem *

 

 

Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 16:15:37 -0400

From: Andrew Gilbert <silk at compuserve.com>

Subject: silk webpage collection

To: "lindahl at pbm.com" <lindahl at pbm.com>

 

I was fascinated to read the incredible list of questions and discussion of

Silk.

 

As an active member of the International Silk Association, a grouping of

all the professional companies in sericulture from source through

thrrowsters, weavers, printers, dyers and traders I am delighted to see the

discussion, I agree with the comment that not all answers given are

accurate.

 

later this year we have are triennial conference this time in Bangkok and

the new issues facing the Silk world will be up for discussion.

 

For myself, I am one of the largest stockists of Silk fabric in Europe

selling to leading fashion designers, interior designers etc.

 

I am also the World Chairman of the Furnishing Fabric Section of the ISA,

if anyone does have any questions I will be glad to join in.

 

My e-mail appropriately is silk at compuserve.com

 

 

From: ghazallah at aol.com (Ghazallah)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: [Q]s about Linen

Date: 31 Jul 1997 22:34:27 GMT

 

I have made very satisfying undertunics, partlettes (sp?) and chemises

from a very lightweight silk that I get from Thai Silks by mail order.  It

costs me less than three dollars a yard and comes in off white which is

nice in of itself, but it also dyes beautifully.  I believe you can order

it pre-dyed but my Baroness had had problems with pre-dyed from that

company.  It is well worth talking to them- they understand SCA!!  Their

number is 1-800-722-SILK.  

Ghazallah al-Qamar

 

 

From: piusma at umdnj.edu (Matthew Pius)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Silk questions

Date: 22 Mar 1998 06:41:43 GMT

Organization: Univ. of Medicine and Dentistry of NJ

 

Anna Horvath  <emmabean at phnx.uswest.net> wrote:

>I was at the fabric store today (as there was a sale) and found the most

>beautiful silk! There were several bolts of silk on the sale pile but my

>eye was drawn to a plain weave in muted colors. Now I am the proud owner

>of four yards of 60 inch silk.

>Okay, now what do I do with it? :)

>I have an idea for an over dress with gussets. Are there any special

>considerations in handling silk? Cutting, patterning, wash and wear?  I

>definately don't want to ruin such expensive fabric!

 

        The first advice I have for working with silk is Don't be

intimidated by the fact that it's silk!

 

        That said, the main thing to bear in mind is that silk is more

prone to fraying than cotton or linen, so you have to finish the cut

edges to prevent fraying.  One way to do this is to line the garment and

thus avoid the problem.  Another way is to overcast the edges by hand or

zig-zag over the edges on a machine.  Cutting the edges with pinking

shears is usually not enough.

 

        Silk can be slippery (though not all silks are). This just

requires a little extra patience when cutting to make sure it doesn't

move as you go.  If you are sewing it on a machine, make sure that the

tension and type of needle are appropriate to the weight of the fabric,

expecially if it is a very different weight from what you normally work

with.  

 

        As for cutting and patterning, if you're not sure about the

pattern, make it up in a cheap fabric first.  Then, when you're sure it

fits right, you can cut out your silk.  Depending on what your cheap

fabric is, you may be able to use it as a lining, though you may not want

to.  It's hard to offer anything more specific without a more detailed

description of the style of gown you want.

 

        Most silk can be machine washed (though some would see this as

heresy).  You'll want to do it on a gentle cycle or something like

that.  I prefer to use dishwashing soap (I'm told it's better for silk

than regular laundry soap).  I've also heard it suggested to wash your

silk with shampoo.  It does tend to wrinkle much, though, so you may not

want to toss it in the machine.  Handwashing is more work, and doesn't

necessarily help with the wrinkling.  Of course, if you don't mind wrinkles

or ironing, this isn't a problem.  The other option of course is dry

cleaning.  It is generally a good idea to wash the uncut fabric once by

whatever method you plan to wash the finished garment, but I'll admit I

rarely do this.  

 

        If you check out alt.sewing or rec.crafts.textiles.sewing you

will probably be able to find more information than you ever needed on

caring for silk.

 

                                -Ibrahim al-Rashid

                                        (mka Matt Pius)

 

 

From: Brett and Karen Williams <brettwi at ix.netcom.com>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Silk questions

Date: Sun, 22 Mar 1998 21:30:17 -0800

 

Matthew Pius wrote in response to Anna Horvath's questions about the

care and feeding of silk fabric:

 

Welcome to fabric-lust, Anna. ;)

 

>         Most silk can be machine washed (though some would see this as

> heresy).  You'll want to do it on a gentle cycle or something like

> that.  I prefer to use dishwashing soap (I'm told it's better for silk

> than regular laundry soap).  I've also heard it suggested to wash your

> silk with shampoo.  It does tend to wrinkle much, though, so you may not

> want to toss it in the machine.  Handwashing is more work, and doesn't

> necessarily help with the wrinkling.  Of course, if you don't mind wrinkles

> or ironing, this isn't a problem.  The other option of course is dry

> cleaning.  It is generally a good idea to wash the uncut fabric once by

> whatever method you plan to wash the finished garment, but I'll admit I

> rarely do this.

 

I would like to add a bit of information to his excellent advice--

silk doesn't like perspiration. Silk also doesn't get along with

detergents-- what you'll find that eventually silk fabric will start to

tear away from the seams. What is better for washing silk would be a

mild soap, such as a box of Ivory soap flakes, or Orvus paste (which can

be obtained from a quilting shop or there's even an animal-washing

version for horses called, IIRC, Horvus. Same thing). Woolite has been

recently reformulated and is harsher than its old version.

 

Always do it in cold water, gentle cycle is sufficient. Wash it

initially by itself, or even the first few times, to a) check for

shrinkage the first time, and b) make sure that if the dye bleeds (and

sometimes they do, especially that color when on a car is called

Arrest-Me-Red and bright blues). Adding a little bit of plain white

vinegar to the wash water will also help mordant/set the dye, too, and

act as a natural deodorant. Smells skanky while in the water, invisible

once rinsed out.

 

Never, ever, never put silk in the dryer. Hang it up on a smooth,

non-metal hanger to dry. (I vigorously throw all the horrid metal

dry-cleaner hangers away. They RUST!)

 

What happens to silk when it's exposed to perspiration is that the

bacteria that causes the scent produce acids that eat minute bits of the

fiber. Permanent stains. A set of dress/perspiration shields might be in

order, Anna, since I think you mentioned you live in Atenveldt, the Land

of the Sun. A good fabric store will have them in stock in the notions

department.

 

So, let's say you've washed your lovely, smooth, silky silk fabric and

it comes out of the process all nubbly and rough and a little stiff.

Not to worry. You have two options-- since the sericin in the silk fiber

has been roughed up out of the worm-spit-goo by washing, smack that silk

a few times against the nearest smooth surface, like a large mirror or a

glass shower door, or a glass patio door. Don't smack it hard enough

that you break the glass, of course! The second, and easier method, is

to polish it by ironing it with a cool iron-- most have a 'silk'

setting. Don't go hotter than that, no matter how impatient you are.

 

ciorstan

(who never sends her commecially-made silky silk or sandwashed law

office garments to the dry cleaners)

 

 

From: lecassan at leahi.kcc.hawaii.edu (Cassandre Lee)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Silk questions

Date: 23 Mar 1998 00:48:10 GMT

Organization: University of Hawaii

 

Anna Horvath (emmabean at phnx.uswest.net) wrote:

 

: I have an idea for an over dress with gussets. Are there any special

: considerations in handling silk? Cutting, patterning, wash and wear?  I

: definately don't want to ruin such expensive fabric!

 

Cutting silk:

 

     Assuming you're talking about slippery silks, I recommend you get

some pins made specifically for silks.  That is, Dritz manufactures small

packages of fine, sharp, steel pins which are supposed to have less of a

tendency to snag silk threads.

     Pin the heck out of it when you're laying down your pattern and,

again, if we're talking about slippery silk, cut each piece separately as

opposed to cutting out a double layer at a time as you would with cottons,

for example.

     If you need to make any markings on the fabric for later assembly, I

recommend thread tracing.  This will mean your pattern can't be used

again, but fine silks aren't supposed to take tracing wheels too well.

 

Patterning:

 

     Shiny silks have a nap, which means all the pieces have to be laid

out with their upper seams pointing in the same direction, or you'll get a

weird color effect when you put it all together.

 

Wash and Wear:

 

     I wash my silks in cold water with dishwashing liquid.  Just swish

them around, rinse them out thoroughly, and hang them up to dry.

 

     Hope this helps!

 

Cassandre Lee

 

 

From: "Cassandra Boell" <cboell at email.msn.com>

Subject: Re: Silk questions

Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 21:44:33 -0500

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

 

Greetings. there are as many ways of dealing with silk as there are kinds of

silk and I don't know which kind you have. But...all silk is quite tough

wearable fabric. If you wash it now, you'll be able to wash it always.

Spotting on silk comes from the water soluble size put on it. Dry cleaning

is recommended for silk so that you don't remove this size. (If you dry

clean it alot it'll wear off eventually). I pre-wash silk. Be careful, wash

a sample first. There are some really poor quality silks (and cottons and

wools, etc..) that get really weird if washed too strongly.

 

Sewing it, depends on the silk. China silk is not a good choice for an

overdress, good for chemises, linings and blouses. The texture of silk will

tell you how easy it will be to sew. It's not any more difficult than any

other fabric - except silk satin and China which can crawl alot.

 

Be careful of pinholes if it is finely woven.

 

Be careful not to over iron it. It is a natural fabric and burns elegantly,

plus over ironing anything leaves permanent marks.

 

Cutting, its always best to pretend it has a nap -like velvet. (All fabrics

have a nap, it shows up on some more than others, it frequently shows on

shiny silks)

 

The best way to avoid actually ruining it is to wash all the size out.

Spotting is generally how expensive fabrics get spoiled - once it has

spotted and dried again it may not come out.

 

Silk is beautiful fabric, not always expensive and I encourage SCA'ers to

use more of it. Think, our current velvets, satins and taffetas, nylon tulle

are all polyester or nylon imitations of the original silk versions. Which

they would have used in the Middle Ages. Silk tulle and velvets are

something to behold, very nice fabrics.

 

Good Luck, Cassandra

 

 

From: iseultnel at aol.com (Iseultnel)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Silk questions

Date: 25 Mar 1998 23:03:53 GMT

 

>start to

>tear away from the seams. What is better for washing silk would be a

>mild soap, such as a box of Ivory soap flakes, or Orvus paste (which can

>be obtained from a quilting shop or there's even an animal-washing

>version for horses called, IIRC, Horvus. Same thing).

 

Nope, close though!!  Orvus for livestock, including horses, is just called

Orvus.  Good, inexpensive, gentle.  I buy it at my local feed store, where it

comes in BIG plastic jars (about 1 gal.).  (I actually use it for washing

horses!!) Didn't know it was suitable for fabrics.  Thanks for that tip.

Countess Iseult nicElam, OP  

Teri Pope

Diamond Horse Ranch--Rio Linda, CA

 

 

From: "M. Shirley Chong" <eithne at avalon.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Silk questions

Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 04:01:19 -0800

 

Iseultnel wrote:

> >start to

> >tear away from the seams. What is better for washing silk would be a

> >mild soap, such as a box of Ivory soap flakes, or Orvus paste (which can

> >be obtained from a quilting shop or there's even an animal-washing

> >version for horses called, IIRC, Horvus. Same thing).

>

> Nope, close though!!  Orvus for livestock, including horses, is just called

> Orvus.

  

   Perhaps this is a regional thing. I have bought Orvus in feed stores.

I've also bought Horvis (or Horvus, can't remember) in feed stores. Two

different brands and two different prices (Horvis is about half the

price of Orvus for approximately the same quantity).

 

Shirley

 

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: shafer at spdcc.com (Mary Shafer)

Subject: Re: Silk questions

Organization: S.P. Dyer Computer Consulting, Cambridge MA

Date: Thu, 26 Mar 1998 19:39:44 GMT

 

Iseultnel <iseultnel at aol.com> wrote:

>>start to

>>tear away from the seams. What is better for washing silk would be a

>>mild soap, such as a box of Ivory soap flakes, or Orvus paste (which can

>>be obtained from a quilting shop or there's even an animal-washing

>>version for horses called, IIRC, Horvus. Same thing).

>

>Nope, close though!!  Orvus for livestock, including horses, is just called

>Orvus.

 

The original is named Orvus WA, a trademarked name. However, there

are hordes of imitators, including Sorvus, Horvus, and Norvus.  I

think the gallon jar I bought from Upco is Norvus, in fact.  Whatever

the name, they're all sodium laureth (or laurel) sulfate. This is a

mild detergent, very common in shampoos, and has the great advantage

of rinsing out quickly and thoroughly, so that there are no residues.

 

Buying this detergent at a quilting or needlework shop in an 8-oz

bottle, usually labeled "Quilt Washing Soap", is the most expensive

way to buy it.  Going to a feed store and buying a gallon jar, labeled

"*orvus", is the least expensive.  The current Clotilde catalog has

Orvus Quilt Soap in an 8-oz bottle, retail price $5.80, catalog price

$4.64.  I bought a gallon jar from a discount mail-order animal supply

catalog for about $15 about two years ago (shipping was based on cost,

not weight).  Eight ounces is 1/16th of a gallon.

 

The stuff behaves very oddly, by the way.  Its melting point is

somewhere around 70 degF; above that it's a light amber liquid, around

that it's a soft white cream, and below that it's a soft white paste.

When it solidifies, it develops a very odd surface pattern, almost

like convection cells.  However, it washes the same in any form,

except that the paste takes a tiny bit longer to dissolve at the

beginning.

--

Mary Shafer  DoD #0362 KotFR  shafer at ursa-major.spdcc.com

URL http://www.dfrc.nasa.gov/People/Shafer/mary.html

 

 

From: emma at clark.net (Emma Kolstad Antunes)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Wool replacement

Date: 24 Jul 1998 18:10:19 GMT

 

>Anyone in my neck of the woods know of a good store from which to get

>silk at a reasonalbe price? I need the dress(es) by end of August.

 

Thai Silks has a web page: http://www.thaisilks.com/  

It's probably your best bet for finding what you need. They have a great

selection & reasonable prices.

 

Also try Dharma trading company. Their selection of silk isn't as wide,

but the prices are mostly reasonable. Everything they have is white or

natural, for dying yourself (they sell the dye).  They also have cotton,

hemp, and rayon.  See http://www.dharmatrading.com/

 

-Emma

 

 

From: Cynthia Virtue <cvirtue at ricochet.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Wool replacement

Date: Fri, 24 Jul 1998 16:43:39 -0700

 

> blue noile (spelling?) silk for $4.99 a yard.

 

Quite useful stuff; I use it sometimes as exactly what the subject line reads.

Looks thick without being thick, but it does loose its color fairly easily if

you wash it, but that may not be a liability.  

 

Use of noil in fabric seems to be a phenomenon of this century; the books I've

read indicate it (noil: the random bitten-through cocoon ends that it is made

of) was not considered useful during our period.  Maybe as stuffing, I suppose.

--

Lady Cynthia du Pre Argent, Minister of Silly Hats, Crosston

 

 

Subject: ANST - link: When Silk Was Gold

Date: Tue, 24 Nov 98 07:29:06 MST

From: "j'lynn yeates" <jyeates at realtime.net>

To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG, bryn-gwlad at Ansteorra.ORG

 

http://www.clemusart.com/exhibit/silk/index.html

 

 

[Submitted by: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>]

Subject: Silk (was: Re: Really Cheap Fabric....)

Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 12:03:01

From: "Joyce A. Baldwin" <jocetta at ibm.net>

To: "The Merry Rose" <atlantia at atlantia.sca.org>

 

Bridgette wrote (snipped)

>My favorite places are down in Chapel Hill, NC. "Mulberry Silks"  and "The

>Cotton Boll"  Not really 1.99 a yard types of stores,  but I found that as

>I became more conscious of historical accuracy they were great resources

>for linnen gauze,  silks and pure wools.   Hit them off season,  or having

>one of their "Dogs and Dinosaurs" sales, and things suddenly enter the

>realm of the reasonable.   It was more a slow fabric stalking process

>rather than a blitzkreig.

 

A good place to get silk is mail order from Thai Silks in Los Altos, CA

(Phone #  (800) 722-SILK ).   Brochure is free, they will send swatches on

request;  there's technically a charge for that but unless you're asking

for a whole bunch, they don't usually  bother.  Mulberry Silks actually

gets a good many of their silks from them, so you skip the markup.  They're

not actually cheap, but for silk, really quite reasonable.

 

Sveva mentioned another mail order silk place but I have blanked on the

name.  Sveva?  Are you there?

 

Jocetta

Joyce A. Baldwin

 

In the Society for Creative Anachronism:

Lady Jocetta Thrushleigh of Rowansgarth

Exchequer, Canton of Buckston on Eno

 

 

[Submitted: rmhowe <magnusm at ncsu.edu>]

Subject: Re: Silk (was: Re: Really Cheap Fabric....)

Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 22:49:16 -0500

From: "L. Ray Sunderlin" <ray at janrix.com>

To: atlantia at atlantia.sca.org

 

> Poster: "Mohajerin, Leila" <mohaj001 at onyx.dcri.duke.edu>

>

> I buy silk mostly for dyeing or painting.  This means it is white or

> natural.  I don't have the contact info here with me at work, but some

> of the good suppliers are Dharma Trading Co. and Rupert, Gibbon, and

> Spider.  Both in California.  These are much cheaper than the local

> merchants.

> Sveva

> (collector of fabrics)

{Snipage}

 

Here's the URL for Dharma Trading Co.

Dharma Trading for Tie-dye, Batik, Dye, Fabric Paint, and Fiber Arts

Supplies

 

http://www.dharmatrading.com/

 

Request their free catalouge, it's fill of info.

 

YIS,  Hargrove the Wanderer

--

L. Ray Sunderlin  ray at janrix.com   73 de KD4EVR   ICQ# 3102499

 

 

Date: Mon, 01 Feb 1999 18:31:51 -0500

From: capriest at cs.vassar.edu (Carolyn Priest-Dorman)

To: sca-arts at raven.cc.ukans.edu

Subject: Re: Silk Threads

 

Ingvild asked:

>A question:  given that all other parameters are the same, which type of

>silk thread would be more correct for medieval textiles:  one with a matte

>finish or one with a shiny finish?

 

Well, of course, it depends on the textile.  But for the most part the silk

textiles current in medieval Europe were woven of thrown silk, which is

significantly more shiny than the short-fibered spun silk (e.g., dupioni and

noil) we see so much of in the modern world.  Go for the gloss. ;>

 

Carolyn Priest-Dorman                 Thora Sharptooth

capriest at cs.vassar.edu                Frostahlid, Austrriki

 

 

From: hrjones at socrates.berkeley.edu ()

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Help with silk

Date: 24 Aug 1999 02:55:28 GMT

Organization: University of California at Berkeley

 

Lyrra Madril (lyrra at cybernex.net) wrote:

: Having just returned from War I have been going over my spoils.  One of

: the things that I bought was a wad of silk.  Not cloth, not thread, just

: silk fiber in a flattish deflated pancake shape.  Now what do I do with

: it?  I would like to be able to spin at least some of it, but mostly I

: bought it to make into doll wigs.  (really)

 

: How do I get the fibers to go in the same direction? Card it like wool?

: Right now it's a flat wad of fluff - no ends that I have found, ot I'd

: just unravel.

 

There are (very roughly) two ways of processing silk into thread.  One is

"reeling" where the threads of a number of cocoons are unwound from the

cocoons together (and often given a slight twist in the process, although

only very slight).  This process produces the very fine, glossy thread

most characteristically associated with silk.  The other type of process

involves loosening the cocoon in the same way as for reeling but instead

spreading the fibers out into a thin "sheet", and then repeating the

process with many other cocoons until you have a "flattish deflated

pancake shape" (sometimes called a "cap"). This is spun with a spindle by

pulling up a few fibers from the mass to start and then drawing the thread

off the mass just as you would with a carded roll of wool. This thread

will necessarily be more twisted and less glossy than reeled silk, as well

as normally being thicker.

 

Unless I'm misunderstanding your description of what you have, you cannot

get the fibers to line up in the "reeled" sense -- for that, you have to

start with cocoons. I have no idea whether carding the mass will do

anything useful, but I don't believe it's part of the usual process.

(Disclaimer: I've taken one class in how to reel silk which included a

brief description of creating and spinning from a "cap". There are things

I don't know about the process.)

 

Tangwystyl

*********************************************************

Heather Rose Jones         hrjones at socrates.berkeley.edu

**********************************************************

 

 

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

From: "Orsini, Eva E." <OrsiniE at health.missouri.edu>

Subject: Help with silk

Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999 11:35:00 -0500

 

> Unless I'm misunderstanding your description of what you  have, you cannot

> get the fibers to line up in the "reeled" sense -- for that,  you have to

> start with cocoons. I have no idea whether carding the mass will do

> anything useful, but I don't believe it's part of the usual process.

> (Disclaimer: I've taken one class in how to reel silk which included a

> brief description of creating and spinning from a "cap".

> There are things I don't know about the process.)

>

> Tangwystyl

 

As the caps are a whole mess of very loooonnnggg fibers you would need

to cut it up to card it so it's probably not a good idea. I have seen

these caps teesed out and spread over a distaff and then spun a little

like flax.

 

Aoife Ni Aodhagain

 

 

From: "Robert S. McGann" <rsmcgann at us.hsanet.net>

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Help with silk

Date: Tue, 24 Aug 1999 20:10:25 -0400

 

hrjones at socrates.berkeley.edu () wrote:

> There are (very roughly) two ways of processing silk into thread.  One is

> "reeling" where the threads of a number of cocoons are unwound from the

> cocoons together (and often given a slight twist in the process, although

> only very slight).  This process produces the very fine, glossy thread

> most characteristically associated with silk.  

 

One possibility if you want to try "reeling" the silk fiber is to look up

the 19th century equivalent of the Reader's Digest Home Manuals.  One book,

"The Home and Farm Manual" by Jonathan Periam and published originally in

1884, has illustrations of what appear to be various type of reeling

machines, all hand-operated.  While the illustrations all seem to start with

the cocoons, if the threads in your "pancake" can be extracted, these types

of reeling machines could probably transform them into usable thread.

 

Ribert Diolun of Armagh

mka Bob McGann

 

 

From: hrjones at socrates.berkeley.edu ()

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: Help with silk

Date: 25 Aug 1999 02:00:10 GMT

Organization: University of California at Berkeley

 

Robert S. McGann (rsmcgann at us.hsanet.net) wrote:

: One possibility if you want to try "reeling" the silk fiber is to look up

: the 19th century equivalent of the Reader's Digest Home Manuals.  One book,

: "The Home and Farm Manual" by Jonathan Periam and published originally in

: 1884, has illustrations of what appear to be various type of reeling

: machines, all hand-operated.  While the illustrations all seem to start with

: the cocoons, if the threads in your "pancake" can be extracted, these types

: of reeling machines could probably transform them into usable thread.

 

The problem with trying to "reel" thread from a silk "cap" can be imagined

if you visualize the difference between using thread by unwinding it from

a spool versus taking a spool's worth of thread that has been dumped

loosely in a heap and trying to use it by pulling on the nearest section.

Silk reels neatly off the cocoon because of how it was laid down by the

worm.  Once you've messed up the orderly cocoon, it simply won't reel.  It

can be spun, but it can't be reeled.

 

Tangwystyl

*********************************************************

Heather Rose Jones         hrjones at socrates.berkeley.edu

**********************************************************

 

 

Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2005 13:31:07 -0500

From: AEllin Olafs dotter <aellin at earthlink.net>

Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] Midrealm News Regarding Cooks

To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>

 

I don't have a clue if Emmelyne cooks at all.

 

Her work with string, though, especially silk, is quite period and quite

impressive. The string geek lists are rejoicing loudly. (Especially the

people doing detailed research, as well as good craftwork.)

 

   http://www.silkewerk.com/

 

though that barely brushs the surface of her work, I gather.

 

AEllin

 

<the end>



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