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Special Silk Threads

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25 February 2009

Special Silk Threads

I recently discovered a couple of shops on Etsy. (I’ve never shopped there before).
The first is slowCOLOR.
Enjoy these amazing colors of antiquity, natural dyed fibers just as they always were before synthetic dyes were developed in the 1800s. Blues from indigo, purples from logwood, greens from indigo blues over dyed with osage orange, brilliant reds from the coccineal beetles gathered from South American cacti, and many more. The exotic natural dyes and dyeing methods we use result in brilliant and long lasting colors. Over the years colors may gently soften, but will stay true to hue and never become sad and gray. Just like your favorite blue jeans.”
As a reminder,
“Filament or reeled silk is the high-end product, reeled off the cocoon in one long continuous strand.
Spun silk, which is what most embroidery silk is, is a lower-end product made by spinning the shorter fibers left over after the cream of the silk has been reeled off the cocoon.
Silk fibers of this type are spun much as one would spin cotton, wool, or other fibers.
The basic rule for purchased silk is that it’s usually a spun silk unless the label includes one of the special terms for a type of reeled/filament silk.
Reeled silk is peeled off the silk cocoon in a long continuous paired filament; several such paired filaments are grouped together during the reeling, and the resulting string is very fine, extremely strong, and (once degummed) very lustrous……
Period embroideries reveal that a variety of silk types were used, with the untwisted plat[te] and tram being common on the more high-quality embroideries and spun silks on the lower-quality ones. So spun silk is period too, it’s just not as likely to appear on the really good embroideries”
slowCOLOR sells spun silk – 80 yards for $US3.50.
Edit : On clarification, Carol said
Thanks for the description of the spun and filament silk. Based on this description, my silk is filament and holds together with no twist to speak of, and was described by my supplier as "hand-reeled". You can give me your opinion after you get your hands on it."
The colours are just magnificent – that’s what has really attracted me to this store.
The silk does have slubs in it.
I got the True Blue Indigo
and my very favourite, Irish Setter
They are meant for the silk for the bird that is right in the middle of my sampler :
although whether I use mainly Indigo or Setter ….ooo, I just can’t decide. It’ll be awhile before I get to the bird anyway.
I’ll certainly write about the thread when I embroider/couch with it.
Another Etsy shop that looks interesting is beckandcallgirl
Carol, from slowCOLOR also pointed me to the Aurora Silk website.
Natural dyes are dyestuffs made from plants, minerals, and in the case of cochineal, an insect. Here is our selection of the most colour-fast natural dyes available. Cheryl Kolander, who IS Aurora Silk, is the senior Natural Dyer in the world today. 39 years of professional, daily experience with these dyes has taught her the best: “And I only use the best, because my life as an artist is too precious to use anything but the best!”
The dyestuffs below are the “Major Dyes of Commerce”, dyes that have been used by silk and textile artists for thousands of years. They are precious commodities and are increasingly rare. Cheryl is constantly looking for new sources for these dyes, and encouraging increased production of the finest grades of these quality dyes.”
Aurora Silk sells Ahisma Peace Silk, Filament Silk and Spun Silk in 120 naturally dyed colours.
I’ll leave you to explore the site – lots of tutorials and FAQS on silk, yarn and dyes.
While I’m on the subject of special threads, I found this photo of a Gilt Sylke Twist piece.
Lady Bryn Millar detached buttonholed (is that a verb?) all the colours that were available at the time together. (3 more have come out since – another green, black and brown, I think)
I think this piece shows the colours so much better than the pictures of the spools on-line. And such a clever idea!

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Blogger Michael said...

The silks are beautiful! I'm still betting they're getting their filament reeled silk from Thailand; it looks like the stuff I got from Erewan. They've got good information about most of the silk stuff, too.

Looking forward to how you work these in!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009  
Blogger Michael said...

Your post says that it's spun silk, but I thought their site said it was hand reeled? It *looks* like hand-reeled.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009  
Blogger Elmsley Rose said...

I asked Carol, and she said

"Thanks for the description of the spun and filament silk. Based on this description, my silk is filament and holds together with no twist to speak of, and was described by my supplier as "hand-reeled". You can give me your opinion after you get your hands on it."

Saturday, February 28, 2009  

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