Silk Embroidery Floss

One of my favorite assignments for my level 3 Master Spinners class was to spin a 100% silk yarn suitable for embroidery.  I think I have mentioned how much I LOVE silk? To make an embroidery floss, the singles must be fine and the final yarn needs to be a fairly high twist. IMAG0307 I ended up with an average TPI of 10.5.  It could have had a bit more twist, but the finished yarn turned out to be lovely.  This is the first time I have ever spun z twist singles and plied s…. for those in the lay world, I spun the singles counter clockwise and plied clockwise.  My teacher had mentioned that spinning Bombyx silk this way would bring the sheen of the silk out even more.

I decided to dye my yarn so that I could make a beautiful sampler.  Out to my stash of dye stuffs in the garage that I never seem to have the time to use.  I pulled out Logwood from our class dye session last year, cochineal from our class dye session in level 1, madder I used last year…. those would all be secondary baths and the outcome could be a bit unclear.  For primary baths I pulled mountain mahogany root, Marigolds and coreopsis.  My skeins only weighed in at .7g each.  Most of the dye baths would have 1 skein per bath, two would have 2 skeins.  Just so you know, that is a very small amount….  I calculated my alum and cream of tartar for mordanting.  The dye baths were done in quart mason jars.  I used WAY more dye stuffs than I was supposed to. IMAG0297 Mostly because I wanted vibrant colors and also because I would in no way be exhausting them and so I would have some dye baths pre-made for a future date especially if I liked the color.  I was anticipating a purple (logwood), a pink (cochineal), red/orange (madder), red (mountain Mahogany root), Yellow (coreopsis), and another yellow or possibly orange (marigold). I probably should have pulled out some Cota to really get an orange… but oh well.  I poured two cups of water into the jars with the dyestuffs and then simmered them in a water bath for about 2 hours.  I strained the dyestuffs and then added the skeins to the jars and simmered them for another 2 hours.

IMAG0309I ended up with a brown/black out of the logwood… very disappointing.  Cochineal gave me a really nice pink, but I think I did not strain it well as there were these blackish smudges on the skeins possibly from the bugs.  I had added a touch of washing soda to the madder dye bath and got red out of it.  Mountain Mahogany gave me a rust color.  I got two different yellows from the coreopsis and marigolds.

Originally I was going to embroider some flowers.  The biggest problem with that was I had no green.  I could have saddened the yellows with Iron, but was not up to that.  Then I realized the Logwood would be a nice way to outline a butterfly.  So I embroidered a butterfly and used all the other colors to decorate it.  I borrowed an embroidery stitch dictionary from a friend to help with creativity.  I think It turned out great.IMAG0308


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