Jenny Gets the Blues

I’m working on some blue dyed reeled silk for a trade project. This is part of the results:

These are all hand-reeled silk. The two larger spools of teal are 4×2 organzine; the rest are all untwisted tram. The tram makes good embroidery/brocade thread, but it can tend to shred because there’s no twist.

This is to show the color ranges. The top set is Jacquard Brilliant Blue; the bottom set is Jacquard Teal. The skeins were wet out in an acid bath with some calsolene oil, then immersed in varying concentrations of dye solution over low heat. Rather than simmer them in the dye vat to set, I took the skeins out once they’d drawn enough color, and steamed them to set the dye.

17 replies
  1. theantichick
    theantichick says:


    Runespinner and I have ventured into the world of spinning. Wool, and with a drop spindle, and I am officially in awe of anyone who masters the art of spinning anything. Your stuff always looks incredible.

  2. admin
    admin says:


    If you ever want to try out different fibers, or just see/feel what they’re like, I’ve got a bunch of different stuff on hand. Wool is nice – but the silk is what I love!

  3. beautysmuse
    beautysmuse says:

    Those are freaking gorgeous. If one were (hypothetically, of course) to want to either buy a spool of something like that, or to trade for one, what would be the asking price/thing to trade?

  4. admin
    admin says:

    It’s all about the yardage. Like so many textile things, how much it’s worth is related to how much you need of it, which dictates how much time has to go into it. I reel about a thousand yards an hour of raw silk, but it takes 8 strands of that to make the working thread.

    I don’t sell it, becuase it’s much cheaper to buy it. You can get flat silk for a couple of bucks a spool; look for “soie platte” or “soie ovale,” it shows up on Ebay sometimes. If you’re wanting to trade, we can talk – I usually trade for similarly tedious-to-make stuff… whaddya got?

  5. augustana
    augustana says:

    Wow. I am in awe of your integrated pursuit of the entire process, which many fiber artists (myself included) dream of but few actually execute. And you are cool, so I added you.

  6. admin
    admin says:

    🙂 Process has always fascinated me. Grind-rocks-make-paint type stuff just turns me on somehow.

    I’ll add you back. Just be warned – if you read one of my dreams, and it has a click-through part, it may be weird/graphic/sexual.

  7. augustana
    augustana says:

    That’s fine; I read your user info.

    I think a lot of people, like me, are theoretically turned on by hard-core process, but the way it seems to push project-completion even farther back is intimidating. But I am trying to be more about process because I think it will improve my products in the long run.

  8. admin
    admin says:

    I’ve done sort of a mix. Honestly, I haven’t done a lot of complete projects with the whole process – but having DONE it, informs my understanding of the process even using more readily available materials. I can buy silk from Habu, and know more about how it’s made and how it will behave, because I’ve reeled silk myself. I only do the really crazy stuff once in a while.

  9. beautysmuse
    beautysmuse says:

    Well, like just about everyone else here, I spin my own yarn. I also make spindles, embroider (though you do that, too), draw and paint. I’ve never used anything like that, so I may grab a spool or two off of ebay to experiment with, first. I wouldn’t want to totally screw up with something as lovely and handmade as your silk.

  10. admin
    admin says:

    Yah – those were quite a find! I got them from somebody on Ebay – they’re all hand-carved, I’m guessing at least a hundred years old, just based on the way they’re done. I think that beautiful tools help contribute to the overall aesthetic experience.

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