Friday, May 30, 2008

FINE SILK YARNS AND HUMIDITY

LLILLIAN WHIPPLE AND WEAVECAST

I listened to Syne's  interview with Lillian Whipple on her WeaveCast episode devoted to fine threads -- Episode 11.  Though my threads are not quite as fine as Lillian's (she often weaves with 2/240, for example), still what Lillian Whipple had to say was of use to me. 

STATIC ELECTRICITY

Of particular interest was that Lillian reinforced my growing suspicions that many of my problems working with silk are due to static electricity.

BOMBYX SILK PROBLEMS

To be honest, I have had these same problems when weaving with Bombyx silk, but on a much smaller level. The silk organzine has, thus, really only magnified these issues. As a result, I have been forced to deal with them.  Now I should be able to handle them with bombyx silk as well.

HUMIDITY LEVELS

This whole notion of static electricity being a source of my problems with silk has taken me rather by surprise. I like to keep our house humidity between 40% and 50% because that is optimal for humans and that level of humidity also helps to keep pollen particles down on the floor instead of up in the air. But in the summer with air conditioning going, that is really really hard. In the summer, the only room I can successfully keep at those humidity levels is our bedroom. 

During the day, in the summer then, ambient humidity in the house tends to run around 30-35%.  I guess that is too dry for silk!

LINEN

Weaving with linen, by the way, poses similar problems................  Susan had reminded me of this in one of her comments, reminding me there as well of how I had soaked my plastic pirns wound with linen overnight before weaving with them.  And I had sprayed the warp with water as well when I was getting ready to weave.  Perhaps here are some more answers?

Related Post: 

Static Electricity
Skeins Dyed
Those Pesky Selvedge Loops Again

© 2008

7 comments:

tajudin said...

drop by here thru word searching.

nice blog.

neki desu said...

oh! have heard my yarns go PING! on the loom when humidity drops. a bowl full of water put under the looms usually does it, with an ocasional spritz booster.

neki desu

bspinner said...

Peg:
I just love reading your blog. What great information and ideas. Thanks for sharing.

Jane said...

Hi Peg,

Living in such an arid climate out here, even the slightest humidity makes an impact. I envy you what you do have out there :).

My friend, Patty, runs a cool mist humidifier near her loom when she works with linen out here -- I'm wondering if you've tried that with your silk? You're great at problem solving, so I suspect that you already have.

Here's wishing you some great weaving time and less 'static.' :)

Cheers,
Jane

jane said...

Oops - -forgot to add that with a lot of the static electricity that we get out here (our clothes cling, etc) -- that a swipe with a fabric softener sheet helps calm things down.

Now, I have no idea if that would help with your silk, or if you would want even the small amount of softener on your fibers, but I thought I'd just pass it along in case you wanted to experiment a little.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Neki and Jane, I do get some humditiy at the loom, for I do have a humidifier right next to it. We have found through experience the whole house humidifiers are not very effective so we use room-sized units. Here in the southern states, the problem is actually worse in the summer. Though the humidity (and heat) rise to horrible highs, our air conditioner quickly drops the temperature and creates practically a desert atmosphere in terms of dryness. The furnace in winter is not nearly as damaging vis-a-vis dryness.

Peg in South Carolina said...

bspinner, thank you for the compliment.