Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Mawata Silk Love!





I wanted to make another pillow for a Christmas gift.

...and I wanted to try using the mawata silk hankies that I had ordered but which had just been stuck in a bin, collecting dust.

If you've never heard of (or seen) these hankies, they are quite amazing (from a science geek kind of perspective).

Mawata is Japanese for "to spread around."

...and each hankie is made from a single silk worm cocoon, soaked and softened and spread out into a large square...making quite a few very thin layers of silk per hankie.

They are a little hard to work with, since you need to be sure that your hands are completely exfoliated and smoothed with lotion, prior to 'peeling' the layers.

Any bit of dry skin will 'catch' the silk and make it hard to lay out squarely.

So...first, I laid out my wool, added some cut up bits of shimmery red
fabric ribbon, and then applied the individual layers of silk hankie over the fiber's surface.

(The silk helps to anchor the 'added bits' of embellishment.)

Then, I added some red wool accents and felted as usual.

The silk adds a bit of shine and texture...

...and once in awhile you can see a circular area called a 'cradle'...

...which is the last bit of silk that the worm discharged before changing its skin inside the cocoon.

Very cool!

Next post: the finished pillow.
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