That is a 50-gram skein of tram silk, fully wound off the skein. There are a few knots visible because I had some short pieces near the end, but most of it is perfectly knot-free. And it only took me about 3 hours!
I learned quite a few things about winding fine silk along the way. The big one is to go smoothly so as not to break the yarn! 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. That way lies madness (and tangles!). 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. A heavy swift, such as my big wooden one, has too much angular momentum and will break the yarn. I wound up purchasing a cheap plastic swift (Lacis brand), but found that the flexible plastic tubes bent too much, scrunching the skein up in the middle and creating tangles. 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. This worked just fine, though Giovanna Imperia mentioned that a swift with flat arms might have worked better. 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! I’m very pleased to have worked this out. 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! They should finish by the end of the week, at which point we’ll be done with contractors, and can start moving stuff in. My plan is to move a number of boxes to the new house to give us space to pack more stuff. 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. 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). Those are waiting for the flooring to be done. And we need to do some electrical work (putting in new circuits), install an air conditioner, and other mundane stuff. But it is all coming together nicely and I’m pleased with how things are going. We should be just fine for our move.