Silk Works

Scalpay Linen processes fine silk yarn for knitting, weaving and crafts.
Our silk is imported in its raw state through a contact who has connections with the village in Laos where it is produced.

This page describes the various stages through which the raw silk passes during its transformation into the feather-soft, glamorous yarn which is rapidly becoming another of our signature products.

The first stage is to "de-gum" the raw silk.
For this operation a large lidded pot and heat source are needed.
The silk has already been separated from the cocoons and wound (reeled) into hanks which contain the fibre from 8 to 10 cocoons.
Some hanks are ivory in colour, others are bright yellow. The colour depends on the type of silk worm and its diet.
Hanks are lowered into a solution of boiling water, pure liquid soap, and washing soda.

Everything is boiled up until the gum has been dissolved and forms a scum on the surface of the liquid.
The hanks of silk are carefully lifted from the pot and the excess water drips away along with the yellow colour.

After a thorough rinsing and a firm twist to take out as much water as possible, the hank is hung outdoors to dry in the fresh air.
Now it has been de-gummed and dried, the silkiness of the fibre has emerged. Though it is a bit tangled looking, it now has the familiar "scroop" when squeezed (imagine the feel of gently treading on fresh snow), and that characteristic slippy, shiny look.
It can be combed and used as it is, or it can be dyed.

Add the yarn to the dye-pot and stir around for a while.
Now add some dissolved salt........

...swiftly followed by some dissolved washing soda.
Leave for a while, then rinse thoroughly.

After drying, combing, chopping and blending - Let spinning commence!
The finished product -
self-coloured or blended.
Beautiful, soft and feathery,
glamorous and luxurious.
Can you resist?

This page updated 02 September 2013