>

Spinning and Dyeing Mawata Silk Caps

One type of silk that is available is a “mawata” or silk cap. Mawata caps are formed by stretching the silk cocoons over molds. Each cap weighs about 1/2 ounce. About 25 cocoons are stretched on the mold and then sold as a “bell”.
If you purchase a bell, separate the number of caps that you need for a particular project. Silk caps dye very easily, however they must be thoroughly wet before the silk can absorb the dye. Soak the caps in water for several hours.
silk caps
I used a CIBA acid based dye for wool yarn and other protein-based fibers. Gaywool dyes will also work well for this project. After the caps were thoroughly wet, I dotted small amounts of the dry dye substance – magenta and cyan onto some of the caps. With the other caps, I used Worker Red and Polar (yellow). I had two dye baths going with hot water and a bit of vinegar. I placed the caps into the water and let them cook for about 20 minutes. In the dye bath, the colours blended with each other giving wonderful ranges of purples and oranges, respectively.

I rinsed the excess dye out in cold water and then hung the caps up to dry.

Silk is a very strong fiber. If you are not careful with handling, your fingers can be cut quite easily. I use surgical gloves when I am spinning or trying to work the fibers apart.

The cap can be pulled apart and a thin roving can be drafted from it. Pull the cap apart into thin layers. Then pull it slowly apart working a small hole into the centre of the cap and stretch it into a doughnut shape. Place this doughnut onto an umbrella swift (you probably won’t be able to open the umbrella out much).

Then try to find a loose thread on the edge of the cap that you can begin to draft from. The strands of silk fiber will start to unravel. This will take quite a bit of pulling and stretching. Sometimes the strands will be quite thin and sometimes thicker. Try to even out the consistency somewhat. I find that used toilet paper rolls are handy for winding the silk onto.

When the silk is wound into the roving, it can then be spun into silk yarn. The silk roving can be woven into fabric or used as is, but I have found that giving it a slight twist with the spinning wheel makes the fiber easier to handle when it is wound onto the bobbin for weaving.

I used the silk to weave some silk wallets. If you’ve worked with silk caps, tell us about your project at our Discussion Forum.

Silk Wallets

Silk Yarns

EBay Watch

 

Ebay Finds

Custom Blend Merino and Silk Combed Top Wool Roving for Spinning, Felting 4 oz - Current price: $15.50

CINNAMON TEAL - Wool Roving Custom Blend Merino-Silk-Bamboo Combed Top 4 oz - Current price: $16.50

Custom Blend Merino and Silk Combed Top Wool Roving for Spinning, Felting 4 oz - Current price: $14.50

RAVEN Merino and Tussah Silk Blend Combed Top Wool Roving for Spinning, Felting - Current price: $16.50

Autumn Leaves - Dyed Merino Wool Top - Felting - Roving - Spinning - 250g - Current price: $14.94

Addison gypsy scarf~ hand woven original handmade~ creation soft art to wear ado - Current price: $45.00

Comments are closed.

This page last edited on June 10, 2013

by


All Fiber Arts by Paivi Suomi is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Advertisements

This website contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on the links. This helps to cover the costs of keeping this website alive. Thank you for your support.

Interweave Videos

Interweave Kits

Beading, Crochet, Jewelry, Knitting, Quilting, Sewing and Craft
  • Felted Flower Wall Tiles (Coupeville, WA)
    Come celebrate spring in this short session as fiber artist Janet King shows you how to use a unique type of natural wool from the oldest, continuously run, family owned fiber mill in the USA to create...
  • Simple Folded Origami Boxes (Coupeville, WA)
    Take ordinary playing cards and turn them into something extraordinary in this “Simple Origami” class for adults. Learn the simplest of origami folds and join playing cards without glue or tape to make...
  • Origami Fabric Cranes (Coupeville, WA)
    Combine origami and basic hand sewing to make a beautiful fabric crane. Fabric Cranes are folded and sewn using a simple running stitch. When stuffed with a little dried lavender or other botanicals, they...
  • Bead Embroidery: Beyond the Basics (Prairie du Sac, WI)
    Have you had some bead embroidery experience, or taken Lisa’s Beginning Bead Embroidery class and now want to learn even more beautiful techniques? Come to this one-day workshop with a pair of sharp scissors...