Updated: Sep 5
I am falling in love with silk hankies more and more. It is all about rich textures and colours.
What are silk hankies? They are produced from the silk worms of the Bombyx Mori Moth whose diet consists of Mulberry leaves - hence the name. Once the gum has been removed from the silk cocoon it's spread on a frame to form a hankie or square shape. More than one cocoon is spread on each frame so hankies have more than one layer and may be peeled apart before use. These silk hankies are very fine layers of silk arranged in a square of approximately 26cm which can be separated into finer layers. It's possible to spin directly from the silk hankie or to incorporate it into your felt making and as it's silk it may be dyed with either fibre reactive, acid or natural dye. I stock 30 colours of hankies, selling single colours and packs of 4, 6 and 8 colours.
I should admit, that in the past I did not like to work with silk hankies. They are difficult to separate, they stick to everything and if any tiny invisible thread sticks to your hands or clothes, with any movement, suddenly all the layout will be on the floor. However, the beauty of textures and colours made me to fall in love and experiment further. The possibilities are endless. You can spin, knit, crochet and wet felt with silk hankies.
You receive a bundle of silk hankies and your first task is to separate them into a single hankie. This task can be challenging. Latex gloves to a rescue. I do this in front of a TV or while listening an audio book while relaxing, enjoying vibrant colours.
What can be achieved in wet felting with help of hankies? Silk hankies are absolutely great to add textures and colours to a felted piece. You can cover all surface or partly, painting with hankies, putting them straight in squares as they come, cut in triangular and stretch or scramble.
The picture below shows a fragment of the tunic. I covered one side with hankies completely. I cut hankies in a triangles, stretched slightly and scrambled in some places. I then add viscose on top. Hankies are great for textures, however they can be dull. Adding viscose on top gives a combination of beautiful textures luxurious shine. I play further and add silk sari waste for further texture.
This is the final result achieved with merino wool, margilan silk, silk hankies, viscose and silk sari waste.
I also like to use hankies creating a nuno felted scarves, I call them Stained Glass nuno felt where I make fine prefelt first with merino wool, hankies and fibre. Hankies in this case help to keep prefelt together while adding colours and textures. Please, check my online class, Stained Glass Nuno Felted Scarves for more information.
Another example of use of hankies is to create very distinctive textures, like the pictures below show. This technique is demonstrated in details in my online class, Textured Felted Cushion, Hat and Neckwarmer.
The possibilities are endless and only limited by your imagination. With my 30 colours of hankies, over 40 colours of viscose, 18 colours of silk sari waste, 23 colours of flax and carefully selected packs of merino wool plus my support, you will be able to create beautiful projects.