That is a 50-gram skein of tram silk, fully wound off the skein. Â There are a few knots visible because I had some short pieces near the end, but most of it is perfectly knot-free. Â And it only took me about 3 hours!
I learned quite a few things about winding fine silk along the way. Â The big one is to go smoothly so as not to break the yarn! Â Breaking the yarn is quite serious because if you lose the end and can’t find it again, your only choice is to break the skein at some promising-looking point and start winding again from somewhere in the middle of the skein. Â That way lies madness (and tangles!). Â After much experimentation, I discovered that a bobbin (Ashford lace bobbin from my electric spinning wheel) on a double-ended bobbin winder works fine, though I had to put a speed limiter (aka a block stuck under the controller foot pedal) so I could keep it at a constant, reasonable speed by “flooring” the pedal.
The second principle is to use the lightest swift you can find. Â A heavy swift, such as my big wooden one, has too much angular momentum and will break the yarn. Â I wound up purchasing a cheap plastic swift (Lacis brand), but found that the Â flexible plastic tubes bent too much, scrunching the skein up in the middle and creating tangles. Â I fixed this by cutting some 1/8″ steel rod (from the hardware store) into 12″ lengths and inserting them into the plastic tubes, creating a lightweight swift with more rigidity. Â This worked just fine, though Giovanna Imperia mentioned that a swift with flat arms might have worked better. Â On an umbrella swift there is a tendency to bunch up the yarn in the middle; winding the skein around flat arms allows one to spread out the skein, reducing tangles.
And that was it! Â I’m very pleased to have worked this out. Â I’ve already got a full set of sample colors (Cibacron F Scarlet and Cibacron F Orange, and a little bit of Polar Red + Golden Yellow Washfast Acid dye), so I won’t be dyeing anything more at the moment, but it’s nice to know I’ll be able to process the skeins smoothly when the time comes.
In house-land, the compost is spread, the front lawn is seeded, and the wood floors are being installed! Â They should finish by the end of the week, at which point we’ll be done with contractors, and can start moving stuff in. Â My plan is to move a number of boxes to the new house to give us space to pack more stuff. Â I haven’t quite figured out what to move in the weaving studio, though – we’re still three weeks out from moving, and I want to be able to do fiber stuff until right before the move. Â I expect I’ll start the packing effort in other rooms.
We’ve also ordered a washer and dryer, but not the dishwasher and refrigerator (yet). Â Those are waiting for the flooring to be done. Â And we need to do some electrical work (putting in new circuits), install an air conditioner, and other mundane stuff. Â But it is all coming together nicely and I’m pleased with how things are going. Â We should be just fine for our move.