The Practical Spinners Guide to Silk is a great companion to your spinning library and includes the varieties and properties of silk, processing silk, blending silk, spinning silk, dyeing silk, and inspiration for using silk yarn.
What I liked most about this book was the focus. Several books in my library mention types and processes of fiber - but don't get into much depth. This book is all silk and answered a lot of my questions regarding a technical point of view of this beautiful lustrous fiber. This is definitely the only book I'll ever need about silk. It covers it all.
I enjoyed reading about the history of silk and found the descriptions of the various types of silk (cultivated vs. wild) very informative. The depth of information regarding the strength of silk fiber, the way it absorbs moisture, the elasticity, how it reacts to heat, and shrinkage was also helpful - as I have often mindlessly spun silk and then wondered why it reacted poorly after I had tried to set it or wash it or blend it. I wish I had this book when I started spinning so that I could have been more careful with my earlier silk skeins and not had to suffer as much "trial and error" learning as I did in the beginning.
There are excellent photo tutorials explaining the different types of silk, how to blend silk with hand cards, and spinning silk. I have often found silk frustratingly slippery when spinning, and the photo tutorials in this book helped me change my hand position to better accommodate this fiber.
My favorite part about this book was the "Make your own Silk Hankie" section that explained how to turn a silk cocoon into a hankie. I've always wanted to do that!
I found the silk characteristics, preparations, and spinning instructions perfect for a "beginner" level - but the projects in the second section of the book were written to an intermediate or advanced audience. I was inspired with ideas on what to create with silk yarns, but I also don't have the education and intuition to complete many of the projects. However, after taking a weaving class or reading a book about weaving - I would surely have the knowledge to complete the project as it is described in the book.
In closing, this is the perfect manual for my spinning collection - and I have a silk brick in my stash that I've been waiting to spin because I didn't feel prepared to do it correctly. Now after reading the Practical Spinners Guide to Silk I know how to turn that gorgeous fiber into a sweet baby sweater for my daughter Josephine (due in December) and know how to handle and process the fiber so it can be treasured as a family heirloom.
Thank you Sara Lamb for this excellent silk compendium!
The Practical Spinner’s Guide - Silk by Sara Lamb (Interweave/F+W; $26.99; July 2014) includes brief discussions of spinning for both knitting and weaving, discussions on the properties of woven and knitted fabric, and information on what you’ll need to take into account while creating the yarn and using it in a subsequent project. Taking her thirty plus years of experience as a handspinner, dyer and weaver, Sara addresses the various forms in which silk is available, how best to handle, draft and spin the various preparations, what dye processes are best for adding color and how to spin silk into other spinning fibers.
Sara Lamb is a longtime handspinner, weaver and dyer with more than thirty years of experience. The author of Woven Treasures and Spin to Weave, Sara has also been published in Handwoven, Spin-Off, Weaver’s Magazine, and Shuttle Spindle & Dyepot. A highly sought-after workshop instructor and speaker, Sara has won many awards—including the coveted HGA Award, twice!
The Practical Spinner’s Guide - Silk
by Sara Lamb