Dyeing and spinning silk

Dyeing and spinning silk workshop had an interesting event when a candidate who had never spun before spun this silk and an Ashford traditional wheel. She watched the demonstration about how to spin a long worsted draw  – yes, a long worsted draw, not two inches  but a satisfying long arms length worsted draw! – and after a few minutes tuition on things like ‘turn the wheel this way’. she was having a lovely time, much to the delight of the other ten people on the course watching. The workshop included dyeing silk caps in mixed colours with Ashford acid dyes. Silk has an affinity with colour and takes dye easily. The acid used is actually vinegar and in some ways its a pity we don’t call it Vinegar dye as it sounds more friendly than ‘acid’. The silk caps comprise longer filaments than hankies and are easy to spin once separated out. If spun tradition woollen long draw the silk will have no lustre, but worsted draw keeps the filaments lying side by side and they refract light. You can’t  have colour without light;more light, more colour. We achieved some lovely colours. Spinning was  ‘Blue Peter’ style with some caps I dyed earlier in the week as it is impossible to get the caps dyed and dry in the same workshop.

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