Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Silkworms are Spinning!

The silkworms are finally spinning.
I would like to thank my husband for my new silkworm condos. I ran out of egg cartons and he saved the day by making me condos. What a guy!
Every flat surface in our home is currently occupied by boxes of silkworms, I am hopeful that by Monday all of the little guys will have spun beautiful little beds.

I have been trying to capture the spinning process from beginning to end. So far I have not been successful, I seem to miss a few steps. But here is my first attempt. This little guy started spinning first thing in the morning.

This picture was taken about noon.

This pic was shot around 4 pm.

Here are my first 23 cocoons of the year. I like to carefully string the cocoons together and hang them up, the first cocoons will become a living sculpture. All of my silkworms are given the opportunity to hatch and live out their lives as moths. I will post pictures as the moths start emerging from their cocoons.

Today I am mailing out the rest of the Daffodil inspired roving. I will also be carding a new color roving, I am thinking maybe purple and green. I will have to raid my stash. More soon.
Happy Spinning!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Silkworms are taking over my Life!

What a cutie!
I just love my little friends.
Ok, I will admit 500 silkworms are too much for me to handle at one time. To start out they are so small, just a spec really. Now they are between 1-4 inches long and they are taking over. It only takes about 30 min a day to clean and feed, but I am now making food for them to eat every day. They are also taking over every flat surface in my living room. I am so thankful my family understands and makes room for them.

This little guy and several of his friends have graduated to the spinning boxes. They are close to 4 inches long and should start spinning soon. This is the most fragile state of their little lives many will die before spinning cocoons. So I wait and worry.

Today I cooked up an experimental batch of chow for my little friends. Last summer my mother-in-law dehydrated mulberry leaves for me. I have kept them in the freezer all winter waiting for the right time to use them. Silkworms spin best when they have fresh leaves to eat, but as I am in Iowa we will not have leaves for at least another month. So today I added 5 grams of dehydrated leaves to 2.7 ounces of powdered commercial chow and 1 cup of water, then I steamed the chow for 30 minutes. I am hoping that the leaves will trigger the silkworms to spin. We shall see.

This is a group of silkworms that are 3-4 inches long, they are eating commercial food with blue cake dye added. I was hoping to replicate an experiment that was done last summer in China. So far none of the silkworms have changed color.
More soon. Happy Spinning!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Growing Silk Worms

I Love Wednesdays and Fridays. They are the days that I don't have to run around, so I can stay home and work on my projects.
Today I am going to work on finishing a ball of roving I started spinning over the weekend.
And I have spindles that want turning.
But First are my babies!

These two shots are of the silkworms on Monday. I think I have an overcrowding problem because I have several different size worms. Most are the two larger sizes but I do have a few really little ones.

This is a picture I took this morning ( Wednesday). I have to separate the silk worms again today because they have grown so much! I now have to cook chow everyday and I will soon have to make 2 batches every day. I use my rice steamer to cook the chow, it works much better than cooking it on the stove or in the Microwave.

This is a 2.5 ounce 2 ply skein I did over the weekend. Kim dyed the Soy/Merino roving for me last spring. I don't remember how she dyed it but it was really stiff. I recently re-washed the roving and it was still really stiff so I carded it. It was such a joy to work with. now what to do with it.

Ok, I am a yarnaholic my stash probably is larger than my life expectancy. I have been trying really hard not to add to my stash but I added 6 skeins in March and Teusday I added 4 skeins of this metallic eyelash. I really need to stay out of Hobby Lobby. I have enough of my handspun to keep me busy for years. I better go I hear the silkworms calling.
Happy Spinning!