Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Posted by Peg in South Carolina

I didn’t think it was going to go well, despite what I had thought earlier


First of all, the dyeing process had caused the yarn to shrink enough so that the skein became too small to fit my Goko—my unwinder of choice for fine silk.

But the skein fit fine on the LeClerc skein winder. However, unlike the Goko, when I unskein from the LeClerc, I have to turn it with the handle at the same time I turn the handle on the cone winder.  The LeClerc is just too heavy for the cone winder to pull it around.  The Goko, on the other hand, is very light.


Despite the flatness of the skein and the softness of the yarn, the threads did not align the way they do with my hand-made skeins.  And it was clear that there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.

I tightened the LeClerc as tight as I could get it.  But part of the skein was still a bit looser than the rest. Not a good sign.


Then I looked for the place that the ends were tied together.  I cut them apart and attached a length of 20/2 pearl cotton to each.  I do this primarily so that the end I am not using to wind from does not get lost in the event that the yarn I am winding breaks and I cannot find the end. Then I can always begin with the end of the skein.

I checked to see where the ends came from.  Both ends appeared to be on the inside of the skein.  That is how I put the skein on the winder.  But I know that each end has to come from the opposite side of the skein.  Sure enough, I found that end and worked my way with it to the front of the skein.   I pulled at it for a few rounds and it very nicely came off across the top of the skein.

This is something I had never bothered doing.  In fact, I had never even thought about it until Laura mentioned that it was important to use the end that ran across the top of the skein.  But I’ve decided that this is pretty significant.


I undid the figure-of-eight ties and gently started to unwind the yarn.  It did just fine.  I put in through the yardage counter and attached it to the cone in the cone winder and got to work.  Loose Loops in Skein Whoppee!   The thing winds!

Well, maybe not perfectly.  Because the skein is not perfectly taut throughout, loose ends crop up.  In the photo you can see a couple of loops that had just come up and caught onto the unwinding yarn (the black arrow points to the unwinding yarn).  But all I had to do was grab that end and jerk it gently away from the skein and all was well again.

This happens from time to time, but not enough to be annoying or cause a significant slow-down. 

If you take a look at the skein, it really looks like a mess.  But apparently it is not.  When I watch the yarn unwinding, I see it go back and forth across the width of the skein.   Clearly these skeins are made in a manner different from my process.


Also, the white thread visible at the top of the skein is the piece of 20/2 pearl cotton which is tied on to the other end of the skein.  Clearly that will be easy to find if I need it.

Related Posts: 
   Silk Skein Dyed and Dry
   Winding Weft Yarn for Dyeing Continues

Winding the Dyed Silk Onto Cones” was written by Margaret Carpenter for Talking about Weaving and was originally posted on March 31, 2009. ©2009 Margaret Carpenter aka Peg in South Carolina


ClaudiaJane said...

I love the color. What size is the silk? I'm crazy about purple and just dyed and skeined a 60/2 skein of silk for warp. I have a beautiful skein of JOY yarn for weft and am planning a huck pattern. First, I found some silk in my stash, a reclained skein from a friend's stash, and am working on the details of the huck pattern. The beige silk will be a sort of sample. I'm planning on getting pictures up on my blog once I start winding the warp. I'm having trouble figuring out sett. The reclaimed silk is 5040 ypp and I'm using the Ashenhurst method.

Peg in South Carolina said...

ClaudiaJane, the silk is 60/2 bombyx silk. For sett i have found Ashenhurst works very well indeed as long as you take into account different fibers and uses. Silk and rayon, for example, require a closer sett than Ashenhurst gives you. For plain weave I find that 60 epi and for twill 72 epi work very very well. They give a very slightly warp dominant fabric which makes for good draping. I would have probably have to use a temple to get equal picks per inch. On the other hand, I have been using 60 epi for my crackle woven twill fashion (1 treadle after another). This gives a slight weft emphasis which means that the weft blocks show up better. So......Ashenhurst is a very good place to begin! I look forward to following your blog posts.