Today I decided to haul out and inspect the silk yarn I intended to use as warp. It is, of course, neatly and accurately labeled, so figuring out its vital stats should be as easy as pie….except, of course, that I bought it from a foreign importer off eBay, so the label is written in Thai. Not only do I not understand it, Thai script is completely unlike the English alphabet, so running it through Google Translate is not an option. So – just to make sure that the weight measurement I had blithely written on it was accurate – I ran it through the McMorran balance to make sure it was in the right ballpark.
And what did I come out with?? 21,000 yards per pound. Yeppers, that’s right. 21,000. Not 9,000. I hauled out my 60/2 silk to compare, and sure enough, it’s significantly finer than the 60/2 silk. Oops.
I’m not sure how I managed to be that far off in my calculations – of course, the seller didn’t speak very good English and I don’t speak Thai at all! And I was a much less experienced weaver when I bought it, so it didn’t register that the stuff was way finer than it should have been. And so on. Oh well, c’est la vie. You buy from eBay, you get surprises (good and bad). I’ve updated my records.
But the wonderful part of this discovery! This silk isn’t just spun silk, it appears to be reeled silk! It has wonderful shine, shown off nicely by the relatively loose plying. I love it. I wish I’d bought more! But oh well. I’ll treasure the kilogram I have, and use it for something suitably awesome.
This, of course, throws my plans in disarray. I now have a choice between keeping the same yarn weight and size (about 8000 ypp) and using 100% cotton, or dropping down to a considerably finer yarn, which would give me the options of silk, cotton, linen, cashmere, mohair, and wool – way more options than I need. Dropping to a finer yarn (about 15,000 ypp) would give me access to a wider selection of yarns, but would thin out the fabric somewhat and make the motifs smaller. I need to think about whether that would be OK for what I’m doing. Weaving at 40 ends per inch, using a point threading on 24 shafts, I would get motifs about a bit under 1.2″ wide. But weaving at 60 epi, my motifs would reduce to only about 3/4″ in size – quite small, and hard to see from a distance.
Rassenfrassen! (my favorite Bugs Bunny word) What’s a girl to do?
Think it over for another day or so, I expect. I might wind up using the finer yarn, and changing the threading to something a little more complex. I am considering using a tied weave (which would let me make bigger motifs while retaining thread by thread control) but don’t know how that would play out in clothing. If you have worked with this, can you leave me a comment so I can mull things over?
And, just in case you thought I was doing no weaving whatsoever, here is a sight to warm a weaver’s soul:
I expect to finish the last sample panel this week – perhaps as early as tomorrow.