Ok, so it really is not silky! It barely has a luster. And it feels somewhat rough, and spins out lumpy. I wanted it to be soft and shiny, but it just can't be.
But it is silk.
Not being able to afford $20 for 100 gm (around 3 oz) for pre-roved top quality silk, I opted for Silk Noil, which is a lot like the cotton in cotton balls, but with a higher ratio of medium to long fibers (with cotton balls, the long fibers have been removed).
I cannot rove Silk Noil. It is too cottony and won't hold together for that. But I learned to draw it out and spin it. I don't like doing that with wool, the results are less consistent than if I rove it first, and roving was absolutely essential with Mohair.
The silk thread that I spin out is lumpy, and barely lustrous in between the lumps. I could work it a bit more, and remove some of the fluff, and end up with smoother thread, but I don't bother, because this will work up nicely even if I am making simple lace with it.
You CAN make heavier thread or yarn from the silk, but from the moment you start spinning it, it tells you it wants to be thread. So thread I spin.
I'm using a stick to spin it. I glorify this stick by calling it a Spindle, but it has no whorl, and the bumpy knots on the sides of it insistently proclaim it to still be just a stick with pointed ends and some grooves sanded into it to hold the base of the yarn and to fasten a half hitch at the top when I rest.
This is not only the first time I've been able to draw out the yarn from a disorganized wad of fiber, it is also the first time I've been able to spin without hitching the yarn each time I stop. I'm not dropping the spindle, I'm just twisting it, horizontally, while I work the silk.
Silk is DIFFERENT than everything else I've spun. It is something you really have to get a feel for. If you work it too tightly (you have to spin it tightly, but I'm referring to the amount of force you require as you draw it out), your hands get sore, because if you want to wrestle with it, it is strong enough fiber to resist. The lumps and thick parts will pull out thinner if you unwind them and tug a bit, most of the time. Some small lumps won't. But it is like the lump UNWINDS within itself, not like the lump is pulling out from either end like wool does. It can be astonishingly thin and still be very strong and not come apart. And then it can just break without warning, and with no wisps on the end at all!
I've spun for three days. I think I have about a quarter of an ounce of fine thread. Like tatting thread, or fine crochet cotton. But lumpy.
I can't quite figure out why I want to keep working it, or why it appeals to me more than the wool. I like working it though. It is quietly satisfying.... casually awesome. Not exciting exactly. More INTERESTING.
It also accuses me more than the wool. I've spun the wool for three days also, and the large spindle is full, with maybe 3 oz of yarn. The little spindle probably has around the same length of thread as the large spindle has yarn, but it is so fine that it looks like very little.
I hope to be able to work with some Sliver soon, but the cost is so much higher I am not sure I can justify it even if I had the money. It is so pretty, and I really want a royal blue, or a plummy purple.
A friend said that silk Sliver roves out beautifully. If you want a shiny smooth thread or yarn, use Sliver, not Noil.
Once I get a little more silk done, I'm going to try doing this with cotton balls instead of cutting them into Poverty Rovings.
No pics yet, I'm deep into working on a book that documents the things I've learned to make and do from an accidental exposure to a bag of Mohair locks.