Yes! I think she’s got it! (My first time spinning silk)

I just spent the last hour spinning three cocoons worth of golden orange silk with an afghan hook and a wooden wheel. First off this makeshift drop spindle spins much better than the one I made with the crochet hook. Until or if I find the wooden spindle it will do nicely since I don’t know any better anyway. It will spin until I can draft no higher.

Now spinning the silk is so different from the wool I tried. It holds the spin so nicely but I had the hardest time figuring out how to draft. The silk is so strong it needs a firm hand. Also I tried two different methods of drafting the silk hankies dyed by my friend Annie, SpinKnit. I think my biggest problem was actually separating the layers, despite lotioning up, my hands are rough from winter and yard work and getting old I suppose. I’m going to need to get a manicure just to get my hands softened up so I don’t keep snagging on the silk!

First I tried drafting from the center as many instructions on the internet recommended. Bad. Very bad. The first one I thought that I just needed to keep going and not worry about what the start looked like. The second one I was about ready to give up because I couldn’t get a consistent draft no matter how much yanking and pulling I did. So the third layer I tried a different method I remembered reading. Poke a hole in the center of the layer and pull it out into a ring and then you can just keep pulling and drafting and then pull it apart at some point and start spinning. OH! SOOOO much easier!! I was thrilled with the results. And right now I am not going to think about the fact that I’ll have to ply this if I hope to knit anything out of it using needles bigger than straight pins. Yippee! I totally blew off my list of projects in favor of spinning for no reason. I’m glad. Now I feel motivated again. Phew.

handspun silk on makeshift drop spindle

Please forgive the poor lighting. It’s after midnight, I figured a poorly lit photo was better than none at all. Hey at least it’s relatively in focus. (learning how to use that macro setting!)



  1. annie’s avatar

    did you end up with yarn? your third try at drafting was the winner.. that’s how most people draft silk hankies. i agree, splitting them is the most frustrating thing ever… you should try for one or two, but if you get 5, all it means is that the circle is going to be larger, and the colours will be more blended. did you ply?

    1. Cindy’s avatar

      I’d say it’s closer to thread in some places and what I would call lace weight in others. I don’t know what those designations really mean but it would take a really tiny crochet hook to do anything with this stuff. So I guess I’ll have to ply. I’m near halfway through the hankie so I think I’ll finish it before I try plying!

    2. Snippety Gibbet’s avatar

      Hey, Cindy……..Email me your address and I’ll put something in the mail for you from Snippyville….soon. This week, I hope. jan = )

    3. Cindy’s avatar

      If you’ve spun wool, you can spin silk. The staples are very long so it is not prone to breaking. I’m sure this will be an interesting path, I have no idea where it’s going!

    4. Snippety Gibbet’s avatar

      Spinning silk. Wow!!! I can’t imagine where to begin with that. I’ve spun wool with a drop spindle, so I can relate to that part. I’ll be interested to see where this takes you. jan

    5. Nikki LaCrosse’s avatar

      Sounds very complicated but rewarding. Congrats!

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