We have some new fiber in the studio, Mawata or silk "hankies". These are silk cocoons that have been de-gummed, their glue has been removed, and then stretched out to a gossamer thin square on a form and set to dry. Each layer of the mawata square is one cocoon. Layers and layers of them make up the hankie. I've been playing with the color and how much dyes are needed to get a nice rich final product. Now that the little amounts (12-16 grams) have come out well, I'll move on to a larger batch. This stuff is super fun, you can knit straight from the hankie, a God send for those of you who don't spin, and it felts easily also.
Here is what I do...... this is the beautiful pile of silk hankies as they come from Ashland Bay. Ohhh pretty.
You can see all the light and airy layers. Be sure to use hand lotion, any little scratchy piece on your hands/fingers will catch on the silk. What a pain in the butt!
I soak them in pans with water and a wee bit of vinegar. Gotta make sure the pretty dyes strike like they are supposed to.
Adding the dye is the fun part. I pour it into the pan and gently lean the whole thing to get the dyes to spread out and mix together.
Here is what it looks like when I'm done. I'll let it sit for a few hours to soak up the dyes and begin to set.
Then the sections of hankies (16 grams ususally) are wrapped in plastic, rolled into a big cigar and put into the steamer to finish setting the dyes. No one wants silk that bleeds into their knitting or felting or paper or what have you.
Here is what they look like after the dyeing and the drying so pretty!
Hope this has inspired you to either, dye your own, or use a mawata to knit!