I finally finished the skein I’m entering in the Contemporary Handweavers of TX juried show.

This skein is made entirely from silk cocoons that I raised from eggs. It’s a 40d/4×2 organzine – meaning that the thread is a two-ply, with each thread being about 80 cocoons thick. So the thread works out to be about 16,000 yards per pound, or about a thousand yards per ounce. The skein is 750 yards, about 3/4 ounce. It was a full ounce before degumming, but it loses weight in the process.

This is a cussedly difficult color to photograph on silk. It makes pretty pictures, but they don’t look like the thread – and sometimes, not even like each other! It’s one of those Beautiful Mysteries of Silk – you really have to see it in person to know what color it is.

This comes closest to showing the color. This is color-corrected, shot outside, in the shade. This photo loses most of the luminosity of the silk (because of the shade, natch) but it shows the Tibetan-monk-robe saffron color of the skein. It’s a little bit more orange, perhaps, in real life, but not as orange as the picture before this one. I was aiming for a slightly more color-of-gold gold, but this is certainly pleasing, and I think it will show well.

When you take it out into the sun, you get this:

which is lovely, but it’s about five different colors.

This is what the flash does to it, shot inside. Very pretty, but a totally different color again.

The obligatory scale shot. It seemed like every picture that the flash gave a good color on the silk, it washed Old Abe right out. In this one, you can see a couple of spots where I didn’t get the plies quite perfectly balanced – it won’t show at all in the finished object, but since this is being judged as yarn, I’ll probably get dinged a point or two on that. Of course, it shows up a lot better in high magnification, too. The judge will probably want a loupe.

This is just another “gosh, what pretty thread” picture. Indoors, with flash again.

23 replies
  1. shadowduchess
    shadowduchess says:

    So funny, I was looking at it and thinking Tibetan Monk Saffron then lo and behold you wrote it out.
    Gorgeous work wish I could see it in person.
    Best of luck btw!

  2. margoeve
    margoeve says:

    I’m thinking of getting a color chart to measure lighting and take pictures of my stuff like professional photographers do, this way color correction can be done for accuracy since you already know the values of the colors on the chart.

    Just an idea.

    And I don’t normally like orange but that is just yummy.

  3. admin
    admin says:

    Part of my frustration, is that the silk refracts the light, and it really *is* different colors in parts of the skein when it turns from you. But yeah, I’ve thought about getting a color chart, too.

    I was really aiming for more of a mustardy gold, but since this is what I got, I decided to like it.

  4. margoeve
    margoeve says:

    Ever since I’ve taken a turn spiritually towards zen buhddism I’ve had a greater appreciation for this color. Not sure if they are related, or if the fact that my bathroom, which I tried to paint peach actually turned more this color (it’s a little shocking to people) and my dissonance over the whole thing is trying to reconcile.

    Do you know what you’ll be weaving this in?

  5. admin
    admin says:

    Not sure. Since it’s the silk I raised by hand, it’s kinda special to me, and I may wait until later this year when I have more of the same to match to it for a project. It’ll almost certainly be ribbons, because that’s what I do, but I don’t have a specific project in mind.

  6. greyfortholly
    greyfortholly says:

    Hhhhmmmmm, some more of your photos for my collection 😀
    I am always excited to see your posts.
    Thankyou for working from scratch so diligently and sharing all the details with us.

    Did I mention that I am such an ORANGE freak? It’s so very pretty!

  7. admin
    admin says:

    Hee. I’m glad you like it. Let me know if you want any of the big pictures – I didn’t upload them all for bandwidth, but I can load up any you want to print.

  8. opals
    opals says:


    I love the colour and it’s name. When is the show? I’ll send you good luck, not that I think you’ll need it. You have a magic touch with silk.

  9. admin
    admin says:

    Re: aloha

    The show is the 15-16-17 of April. I’m teaching all day on the 16th; it’s exciting and slightly terrifying at the same time, trying to get a five-hour hands-on class for a dozen people worked out. Thanks for the good wishes!

  10. greyfortholly
    greyfortholly says:

    You. Are. The. Bomb.
    Please email any that you think are good for color and or composition (which you seem to naturally do when you take the pictures).
    Thankyou so very much!

  11. admin
    admin says:

    What I meant is, just let me know which (if any of them) you want in big format, and I’ll upload those images to the website. It’s easier than emailing them. I like the one with all the orange swirls of thread, but if you can just tell me either by name or by order in the post, I can load whatever you want.

  12. misoranomegami
    misoranomegami says:

    A favor?

    Do you know where I might be able to buy just 2 inches or so of store bought reeled silk? I’m trying to put together a fiber sampler for my forensics teacher before we start examining different types under the microscope. ^.^ I’m planning on getting a little bit of everything from the Weaving Center, but I’ld love to show him the difference between the silk top I have and proper reeled silk.

  13. admin
    admin says:

    Re: A favor?

    I’d be happy to send you some snips of stuff I’ve got. Send me your mail address – and I’ll snip some up and send it. I’ve got several kinds of different silks, weights, etc.

    Do you have any mechanism to take pictures through the microscope? I’ve seen electromicroscopy of silk fibers, but would love just-plain-micro photos of reeled bombyx, reeled tussah, etc…

  14. thymeformom
    thymeformom says:

    Hee! I know! If you send me that silk, I can verify for the others how beautiful it truly is.

    Congrats on the first in the catagory. It is beautiful.

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