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Silk, Soumak and a New Year

I have returned from Seattle refreshed and overwhelmed with ideas and work.  White in Seattle Elena and I did a lot of brainstorming (my head feels ready to fall off) and now it’s our job to make these ideas become reality.

We stumbled upon this wonderful company that sells and dyes recycled sari silk.  This is not the spun version (although they do that too), rather this is comprised of strips of sari fabric that have been sewn together to create essentially ribbons of silk.  Of course, we ordered every color to see what we like best and we liked them all, of course.

My job upon returning to NH was to figure out how to best use these ribbons on a Mirrix loom.  I was thrilled to return home to my box of silk which quickly found its way into balls and into a basket.



See what I mean about the colors!



I decided to set up a rather thin warp and just weave the strips back and forth.  I used C-Lon cord for the warp. Confession:  I don’t particularly like rag rug weaving.  Sure I’ve done it, but mostly because I wanted the final product.  Something about it just does not flow for me.  Turns out that weaving with this silk material/ribbon is very similar to weaving cotton rags.  I wasn’t having any fun, and for me weaving is all about having fun and getting lost in the process.  I wasn’t getting lost.  I was getting annoyed. At some point I thought:  let’s try a little soumak weaving here.  It’s not really weaving actually; it’s really wrapping. This is what Soumak looks like:



Here’s the piece off the loom.  Pretty ugly because most of it was just weaving and you can’t see from this photo the detail of the Soumak.



This is a close up of the plain weave part.


And this is a close up of the soumak . . . .what a difference!  I was in love.



So I warped my loom again for a wider piece (4 1/2 inches) that would be long enough to be folded into a small purse.  I did not need the shedding device because even though I did a few rows of plain weave here and there, there were not enough to require using a shedding device.  Warping was quick and simple and I was able to embark on this new almost all soumak piece right away.  Bliss!


A third to go still.  The edges are perfectly straight and lovely.  The texture is amazing and really shows off the beauty of the silk.  I can imagine a whole bunch of things one could make from this.  And yes, the next step is to go bigger with shapes (one on a 16 inch loom) and then even bigger (one on a 32 inch loom!).  I can see making this a habit.  It is so calming and the results so perfect.  I have just discovered my new obsession for 2014.


I have ordered more of the silk and we will be selling it soon so you won’t have to miss out on all the fun.  I will also be dyeing some gorgeous silk ribbon in 2mm and 4mm widths.  We’ve been using that to wrap the edges of bead woven bracelets . . . but that’s another post altogether.

Tomorrow I will post the finished product of this weaving and maybe the beginnings of the 16 inch loom project.  It’s getting too dark to take anymore pictures.

Happy New Year!




5 Responses to Silk, Soumak and a New Year

  1. Shirley - Reply

    January 13, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    What a gorgeous result! I’ve not heard of soumak, it makes a wonderful texture. Hope you’ll show the finished piece as well. Thanks for sharing the technique and the results!

  2. Susan Murry - Reply

    January 14, 2014 at 9:04 am

    C it is always exciting when a spark sets your creativity a fire. Wonderful to start the New Year with creative juices flowing and fabulous silk! Try a narrow cuff bracelet woven east/west. I think it shows off the silk and wrap even better. Doesn’t necessarily need a cuff form. The soumak gives enough stiffness. Think hairband adding a piece of elastic for finishing. Larger Loom, belts can be wrapped. Simple and easy project pillows! I find the silk easy to work with and the colors AMAZING!Looking forward to your renewed creativity. Hugs, mac and sue <3

  3. Karen K. - Reply

    January 15, 2014 at 10:42 am

    “We’ve been using that to wrap the edges of bead woven bracelets.”

    Can you please explain a little better? I’m very curious what you mean. Thanks.

  4. mirrixlooms - Reply

    January 15, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Karen- Claudia has been experimenting with edging bracelets (or other pieces) with silk. We will post some more information about it soon! -Elena

  5. Karen K. - Reply

    January 16, 2014 at 11:38 am

    Thanks Elena, I am looking forward to reading this.

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