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After the holiday rush and Chinese New Years celebration, winter can seem long with springtime a distant hope of warmth. These cold and quiet days are perfect for working on a beautiful silk project. And the best time to try something new—maybe one of our wild silks?!
Wild silks—different than the snowy white Bombyx, but incredibly lovely. We have some unique wild silk yarns and fibers that you can’t readily find anywhere else. Here, we cover tussah peduncle silk yarn and “Muga—Can it be Dyed?” Next week's Silk Tidings will include eri silk yarn and fiber.
Update on the New Zealand fleeces--they arrived and many have departed very quickly! There are a few choice fleeces remaining, so you still have a chance to try one these phenomenal fleeces.New Zealand Fleeces Information
Tussah Peduncle Yarn:
This very unusual silk yarn is from the tropical tussah (tasar in India) caterpillar. This “little guy” has a cocoon spinning process unlike any other silk producing caterpillars in the world, including the temperate tussah silkworm.
When the tropical tussah caterpillar is ready to spin its cocoon, the first silk is spun back and forth to form a stem, called a peduncle. The caterpillar spends an entire day creating the peduncle and then it begins to spin the cocoon. [Photo by WormSpit]
As nothing is left to waste in India, the village women in the tasar-rearing areas have developed a multi-step process of turning the silk peduncles into silk yarn. Learn more about this process in the Founder’s Corner as Karen and Terry were able to view the entire Tussah Peduncle Yarn production process during their recent trip to India. [Photo by Karen Selk]
Unlike the honey-colored cocoon, the stem is nearly black. The peduncle yarn is a deep gray-brown color; it is a bit uneven, similar to a hand-spun yarn. The yarn is firm. Because the ply has a heavy twist, the yarn is put up on cones. As this silk is spun from short strands of the peduncle, this plied yarn is not suitable for warps.
Karen, Treenway Silks Founder, wove a twill sample using a 30/2 muga spun silk warp and the 20/2 peduncle in the weft. It was sett and beat at 36 EPI. The hand of the finished cloth is firm, but not stiff. Karen cautions “be watchful when weaving, as the yarn wants to twist back on itself.” [Photo by Karen Selk]
My knitting friend Brenda thinks the Tussah Peduncle Silk would make a terrific knitted cell phone bag—the firmness of the yarn would be an asset for that project.
There are approximately 900 yards on a 100g cone. To see the yarn listing, click here.
To order, you may user our secure on-line order form: click here. or call 1.888.383.SILK (7455)
Our tussah silk is produced by a wild caterpillar that lives mainly in China, India and Korea. These feisty caterpillars have thwarted all efforts by humans to domesticate them. Regardless of where they live, the leaves they consume contains tannin. Tea also has tannin--that is what stains your teacup a light tan color. And this same tannin in the leaves gives the tussah silk its natural honey color.
Natural by Nature Scarves Kit
Love all the different colors of silk and want to use them all at the same time? We've made it easy for you with this striking and sophisticated Natural by Nature scarves kit for weavers. This lovely scarf was the cover of Handwoven May/June 2009 issue.
The weave structure is twill blocks on 8 shafts. The kit contains a weft yarn and a pre-wound warp long enough to weave TWO scarves approximately 6.5 inches wide by 72 inches long. The sett is 30 EPI (ends per inch). Complete warping and weaving instructions are included in the gift box.
Karen Selk, Treenway Silks' founder, designed this scarf to show the different natural colors, textures and sheen of the wild silks (muga and tussah) as well as Bombyx silk in reeled, spun and noil yarns. This scarf is sophisticated, elegant and feels luscious against your skin. To order, click here.
Follow Treenway Silks on Facebook:
Follow us on facebook you’ll be inspired by terrific projects that people have made with Treenway’s silks, plus you can laugh along with me as we have some type of ‘adventure’ with the business each week. And Facebook will give you sneak peaks into new products in development. Link To Facebook
Muga Silk Yarn: