Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Scrumptious Silk

Here is Bryan not keeping still for a photo again and about to show us how to reel silk.  It was quite late one evening when we had this demonstration and I was spellbound, two excuses for a lack of good pictures.  Fortunately there is a photo-journal of the process here
Bryan raises his own silkworms, one of my Indigo Sisters tried to persuade us that they are good pets!

Myra was the first to get her hands on some silk - that's a lovely shibori scarf around your neck Myra :-)

We had a wonderful time looking at and handling silk that Bryan had reeled and dyed with a variety of natural dyes.  At this point we all realised how rough our hands had got with washing out our indigo dyed cloth and not having time for our usual regular manicures!

We used the dyed silk thread for kumihimo, making braids on the marudai.  Here's Judi working on her braid which used eight fine threads on bobbins and took a lot longer to make than for those of us using just four threads.  NB Nat is not bored, just tired!

This is my first braid.  I enjoyed doing it, finding the moving of the bobbins very rhythmic and almost mesmerising with their little click-clack as they settled.  I also liked the result.  DH is going to make me a marudai so watch this space for more kumihimo in the future.

Bryan showed us the stitch that is used to attach the braids to our little stencilled bags, he did one side....I just had to do the other!  Er sensei, could you just show me that one more time please?

In a wonderful book of Bryan's containing sketches of Fujino in the 1930s there are some illustrating the raising of silkworms:

16th May
Nat sent me these photos of the silk cocoons bubbling gently to start the reeling process and of Bryan working with one of his wonderous pieces of textiling equipment, some original, some homemade and all rather "Heath Robinson"!


  1. I loved the braids I have done Kumihimo braiding too, I have a little round kind of like foam disc must hunt it out again! The silk braids are beautiful!

  2. oh how beautiful the kumihimo is in silk.

  3. Yes, Lis, silkworms are great pets. Mulberry trees grow all over the place so food is plentiful. They just eat and then sit there waiting for the next leaf to drop on their heads. They do not drop hair like the dog or take over the house like cats and as they reach their last instar you can hear their contented chewing sounds.

  4. Your silk braid is truly beautiful. Mine hasn't shown up yet. That Worm spite link is good uh? Hope it's useful for someone who would like to raise silk worms!

  5. Thanks for the lovely memories. Still trying to work out how to attach my braid to my bag

  6. What a lot we can learn from your blog! The links to silk reeling and marudai braiding are so interesting.
    I think your braid looks lovely and I am in awe that you had the time to weave such a lenght of fabric as well as complete a whole braid. I use the foam disc for my braiding work and it takes TIME!

  7. My youngest got silk worms one Christmas. Four worms and plenty of food. Two spun themselves into a cocoon, and both did hatch, but not at the same time, so no babies. We still have some of the silk, amazing stuff. Thanks for reminding me


I really appreciate your lovely comments, ideas and opinions, they make my day. Thank you for visiting Piece'n'Peace,
hugs, Lis x