More of the Heminway thread

In case you were wondering (I was!) what the difference between Size A and Size 000 thread is – now I can show you.

I wanted to wait until I had some of the Heminway dyed black, so I could compare apples to apples.

The bulky stuff on the right is regular size A silk sewing thread – 50 meters to the gram. It’s what I wove the medallion ribbon with.

This one, the regular size A thread is on the left.

THIS makes me very, very happy. The silk takes color beautifully, and has a nice sheen.

THIS, on the other hand, makes me very, very frustrated. The silk is so fine that it tangles at the drop of a hat. I’ve been making 1500 yard skeins, and tying them with Figure 888 ties twelve ties per skein… and they’re still snarling up. I’m thinking shorter skeins will help; I can’t really do more ties. Currently, I’ve been getting back about 1/3 of it before it becomes just impossibly snarled. What you’re looking at is the parts that I finally took off the swift, after spending too many hours getting two or three yards at a time off it.

0 replies
  1. of_big_shouldrs
    of_big_shouldrs says:

    I love the first picture, because there’s a contrast between the thread and your (?) finger, but really, the sworls from your fingertip against the thread are pretty prominent. There’s a distinctness to it that’s appealing.

    And I think your line: “THIS, on the other hand, makes me very, very frustrated. The silk is so fine that it tangles at the drop of a hat” could be plugged into a couple of different conversations. Namely, the more detailed and explicit something is, the more complicated it becomes. Again, appealing in an undefinable way.

  2. neko_san
    neko_san says:

    Hmmm. I’m tempted to say “Send the tangled stuff to me! I’ll straighten it out and send it back!”, since i have this compulsion to untangle stuff. The fineness does look crazy-making, though.

    So pretty!

  3. byrne
    byrne says:

    Me, too — though after “Send the tangled stuff to me” it turned into “…so I can spin bits of it in with my other fiber”

    OOPS. *blush*

    How frustrating, Michael. 🙁 It’s absolutely lovely; I’m sorry it’s giving you fits. 🙁

  4. admin
    admin says:

    I’d be happy to send you one of the tangled skeins… not sure if it would be worth trying to get more out of it, or not. I did resist the urge to take it off the swift with scissors, so currently it’s still (mostly) in one piece – with the tangles, there were some breaks.

  5. admin
    admin says:

    I’d be happy to send you one of the tangled skeins – I resisted the urge to remove them from the swift by means of scissors, so they’re still skeins, just very tangley. But, Byrne’s idea might be better – use it like sari silk waste. Let me know if you do want some.

  6. byrne
    byrne says:

    Oh, that would be fantastic! I’ll e-mail my mailing address at your g-mail account.

    Wait, we’ve done this before. LOL Do you still have my address?

    Thank you so much!

  7. admin
    admin says:

    actually, I need it again… I’m spacing out on your real name, and searching for “byrne” doesn’t turn up an email with your address.

    I did find the packets of tablets, but haven’t found the booklets; I can print out the booklet, mail it together with the string.

  8. tilia_tomentosa
    tilia_tomentosa says:

    It does take colour beautifully, and looks fantastic when dyed!
    It’s a pity that I live so far from you, I would otherwise try to untangle some of the tangled stuff for you…although it would be much more difficult than untangling my knitting yarn (and my mother’s yarn too because I am more patient than her). 🙂

  9. admin
    admin says:

    Oh, I was patient… for many hours. I wound the thread onto slim bobbins, so that I could fish them through the simpler knots. I wound off what I could, and then broke the strand and tied a knot and wound more… it just eventually was more trouble than it’s worth, and I realized that I needed to focus on getting a way to tangle less. I’m going to try 500 yard skeins, next – see how that works.

  10. admin
    admin says:

    Thank you! That’s very cool. I’m thinking about getting one, although I’m concerned by the comments about them shrinking… have you ordered any of their shirts?

  11. admin
    admin says:

    Of course – I was just thinking, if you’d gotten something from them before, you could comment on the quality. I’ve seen some really poor quality T-shirts coming out of print-on-demand places, but some of them are really good.

  12. niamh_sage
    niamh_sage says:

    A propos of nothing at all, I was thinking of your work last night while waiting to fall asleep (especially that piece you made recently with the text on it – sorry, I can’t remember what you called it, but it was a sort of ribbon, which you finished off with a pendant), and I suddenly wondered: has it ever crossed your mind to weave a book? I mean, weave each page separately, then stitch it all together between some kind of hard covers (perhaps also covered in cloth woven by you). It’d be insane amounts of work, I imagine, but I bet it would be gorgeous (if somewhat impractical).

    I don’t know where that idea came from (I get really crazy ideas at night), but I thought I’d ask anyway. (And apologies if I got the idea from you having mentioned it on your blog already. I’m so absentminded these days!)

  13. admin
    admin says:

    I’ve done a couple of book covers – but with the speed that this stuff works up, it’s really more suited to a title, than to a page. That ribbon had a whole long paragraph on it, pretty much – but I’d have to chop it up and stitch together to make a page.

  14. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    reeled silk and tangling

    Been there, done that. Reeled silk gives me a bigger headache than spun silk, any day. There’s something that makes it uncooperative once it gets onto the swift – it takes being swifted as a challenge to see how quickly it can tangle beyond all hope. I’ve figured out that it’s because the swift reacts to tension by becoming smaller in the middle, letting the silk tighten in places. And any skein with parts of it at different tension is guaranteed to tangle. I’m thinking about some sort of squirrel-cage-type swift, that can’t get narrow-waisted under tension.

    Best of luck – I’ll have to check out the silk seller. — Sandra Rude

  15. admin
    admin says:

    Re: reeled silk and tangling

    yeah – it does seem like the squeezing of the swift is a major factor – the most recent batch, I managed (!) to put it back onto the skein winder, and it gave me much less difficulty.

  16. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:


    Hmmm. I guess you *can* get reeled silk back onto the skein winder, because it doesn’t shrink in the dyepot as much as spun silk does… I’ll try that next time. But it only works if *I* made the skein in the first place – if I bought it skeined, it’s almost guaranteed to be a different skein size, and although my winder is somewhat adjustable, it doesn’t have an infinite range.

    — Sandra Rude

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