Silk Sari Yarn

I usually have several blog posts in draft mode, but sometimes none of them are ready when I want to publish two weeks after the last one, or the timing isn’t right for the topic, or I don’t want to publish about socks multiple times in a row. For example, last winter there was a post about socks I knit as a Christmas gift for my daughter. It was ready to go, but I had to wait until after I gave her the socks before publishing it. Those scenarios are times to post about a past project before I started blogging.

When I first started spinning over 15 years ago I made a scrapbook of my projects and fiber adventures. That was the only scrapbook I ever made. There was a time when some people really got into scrapbooking. There were entire stores and companies dedicated to this hobby. My version of scrapbooking was to slap photos in an album and hand write a few captions. I was very good at documenting our lives this way until I went back to working full time after having a half time schedule for many years, which coincided with the end of film photography for our family. We have photo albums starting from the 1970’s and going until 2005, numbered and with the years documented on the spine. I even used the double prints you got with paper photos to make duplicate albums for each of the kids. Of course now they do not want those and I may even have tossed them when we moved three years ago.

After 2005 my husband managed the digital photos and for many years I did not pay attention to where or how to access them, or have the energy to figure it out. Currently we have a system of uploading photos to Amazon Prime Photos, which Wayne loves because you can view them on the TV. He makes digital photo slide shows that serve as photo albums for our personal use, or for events like milestone birthdays, weddings or memorial services. The spinning scrapbook I made was like an earlier version of this blog, except that hardly anyone has seen it. This post is about a project documented in my scrapbook.

In 2010 a friend and I went to Shepherds Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival in Lake Elmo, Minnesota. If you live in Minnesota and are a fiber crafter, you have probably heard about this large festival with many vendors, classes, demonstrations, food, music, and fiber animals. I was there again this spring and posted about about it here. It is normally the same weekend as Mother’s Day which was often a problem for me in the past when the kids were younger. There were several obstacles to my attendance including the fact that it is usually the same weekend as Fiber Day at the Ellison’s sheep farm in Otter Tail County (read about that here), it is often the same weekend as Fishing Opener, and also for a number of years my daughter had a fastpitch softball tournament the same weekend. My husband’s annual fishing opener trip with friends was non negotiable, so that left me to take our daughter to the softball events. I could have skipped the softball tournaments, but I did not want to do that. Once my daughter was done with school and travel sports, I was free to choose between Shepherds Harvest and Fiber Day while my husband went fishing. I would usually choose Fiber Day as it is so much more personal and hands on.

At Shepherds Harvest in 2010 I bought a recycled Silk Sari. The vendor had a large selection of old saris that could now be repurposed into something else. She was demonstrating how to fold and cut a sari into diagonal narrow strips for spinning into sari silk yarn. It was hard to decide which sari to buy, but I purchased one in a beautiful periwinkle color.

The photos of the sari project are scanned from the paper photos in my scrapbook. The colors are all over the place and are not very accurate. Unfortunately I cannot take new ones, so these will have to do. Following is a photo of the sari as it was when I purchased it.

The recycled silk sari from Shepherds Harvest Sheep and Wool Festival

I trimmed the raw edges with pinking shears so they would not ravel. Then I folded the sari fabric in half and sewed across edges to make a large tube. The process is the same as making tee shirt yarn, except this is woven fabric so it is cut on the bias to give it some stretch and reduce raveling. I laid the large tube out flat with the seam in the middle, and then cut diagonal strips, without cutting all the way through the folded edge at the top. That resulted in creating one long bias strip of fabric about 1/2 to 3/4 inches wide, with periodic seams from where I sewed the edges together. The color in the photo below is too lavender, but shows the cutting in process.

The next photo of a scrap left after cutting the strips shows the pattern and color most accurately of the selection I have, although it will show up differently depending on what device it is being viewed on.

A scrap from the silk sari

Once I had cut the long strip of fabric, I spun it on my spinning wheel to make a version of yarn. The process of spinning fiber involves three steps: drafting, followed by twisting, and then winding on to the bobbin. In the case of the long silk sari strip there is no drafting of fiber. There is only twisting and winding on. It is a good project for a new spinner since you only have to manage two steps instead of three.

The next photo shows the resulting yarn. There are little flaps of fabric poking out at the places where there was a seam in the bias strip. The fabric could be trimmed down so it does not stand out so much at the seams, but I thought it was a fun look.

Recycled silk sari yarn

I used part of the silk sari yarn in a shawl with some other yarns. I wore the shawl to a wedding in the Los Angeles area once during the summer. Normally it would have been warm out, but there happened to be an unusual cold snap that weekend. The wedding was at a beach club on the ocean and all the ladies with sleeveless dresses were freezing. The wedding couple happened to have a supply of pashminas as gifts for the women guests. I don’t think they had any idea how useful the pashminas would be when they were planning the wedding! I think there is a photo of me wearing the shawl (probably with a pashmina on top of it) at the wedding, but it would be in with the lost years of photos between paper albums and Amazon Prime storage of photos.

Shawl I knit with a selection of yarns, including the silk sari yarn

I still have one small ball of the silk sari yarn left that is not enough to make anything. When I come across yarn from past projects it is fun to reminisce about where I got it or how it came about, and how successful (or not) the project was.

What is left of the my silk sari yarn

I have never seen recycled silk saris for sale at any fiber fair since I bought this one. A couple of times I have researched buying another one online, but have not found the same large selection of entire saris. I would love to make more silk sari yarn if I ever find the fabric again.

Published by Meg Hanson

Hello. I am a recently retired empty nester. My husband and I moved to Jewett Lake in Otter Tail County, Minnesota, after living most of our lives in the Minneapolis area. I have no trouble keeping busy with knitting and spinning of wool, selling yarn and handmade goods, reading, walking, watching movies, surfing on the internet, traveling, doing bookkeeping for our family cabin, and spending time with family.

9 thoughts on “Silk Sari Yarn

    1. Thank you! I bet there is a much smaller selection of empty albums for paper photos. I really enjoy looking at the old paper photo albums. Oh and the photo books you can make at Shutterfly or Walgreens are nice to have too. One nice thing about looking at photos on the TV is you can show them to a group more easily than a paper album.

      Liked by 1 person

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