Sunday, 30 December 2012

Reeling Silk/ Spinning Wool

It is just bloody cold in this house in the winter. How did they survive in this place for hundreds of years with just small charcoal braziers?

Fedora sits in the kitchen reeling cocoons and Noriko sits in the sitting room spinning wool on a Saturday class. The rhythmic sounds of the wood machines adds some warmth.

Fedora bought some 'B' class cocoons to reel for warp thread as they were out of 'A' class cocoons. She makes gorgeous impossibly thin paper thread by hand for weft thread.  She has the patience of a saint to reel these rotten cocoons. One of the pleasures of reeling silk is to witness the clean perfection of the cocoons unravelling to find the chrysalis inside appear slowly as it's protective cocoon is reeled away meter by meter.

But the sheer magic of getting this pure white silk from the discolored cocoons is a marvel.

These are the cocoons that just wouldn't reel. I boiled them in a slightly high pH solution and made floss from them. Fedora will spin and dye this and combine it with her paper thread. 

Noriko's wool to be woven into a shawl.


  1. Well, a lot of activity for a cold day. I see that the temperature doesn't affect hands ability!

  2. I'm trying hard not to think about how cold the house must be...and this from a Canuck brought up in the North! The reeled silk is gorgeous, will she dye it?

  3. your photos remind me of living in the mountains and spinning wool, lots of wool, (and of course the barnfull of sheep and goats) for the necessary warm clothes we all needed. i'm curious to see the silk/paper shifu!

  4. My beloved would say, "Put another sweater on," but I think you may need more than this, maybe those antique hot water bottles?!! Are Noriko's wools their natural colours, I imagine so? My best wishes for the New Year Bryan, may you be happy and warm x

    1. Hi Lis..Jeeesh my comment on your sake flask was "for your eyes only!' The wool is natural. I peeked at your family pictures. Seems you had a lovely Christmas. Best for the coming year,

  5. love the photo with the ito maki!
    have some lovely mochi today!

  6. Yesterday I was in the barn doing chores, windi howling, awfully cold in the face of it and I thought of you! I thought "Bryan is cold today, I am sure, after all we are all in winter" and it warmed me up. There is warmth in knowing. Warped perhaps, but warm is good.

  7. One hour inside warming up and one hour outside warming up my senses in the minus something windstorm today. It would have been a good day to work in the barn actually....maybe tomorrow. Enjoying the winter holidays.