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Eri Silk, spinning on a top whorl spindle

The best way to load a ring distaff for spinning eri silk sliver.

First, why load the sliver onto a distaff in the first place? There are several good reasons actually: 

  • It gives you a chance to slightly attenuate the sliver if it is compacted from packaging or dyeing.
  • Eri silk is almost as fine as Bombyx. Even the slightest breeze can blow its fine silk strands about. A distaff keeps the gossamer strands in check and generally just helps to keep your fibre source tidy.
  • A tidy fibre prep translates to a more neatly spun singles which helps to spotlight eri’s beautiful pearlescent lustre.
  • When dealing with hand-painted eri, using a distaff helps keep the colours more distinct. 
  • It is easy to walk around with distaff and spindle in hand.
  • Lastly, a distaff is easy to pick up and put down.

Because I spin my eri singles with Z-twist, I insert S-twist to the sliver while loading the distaff. The S-twist keeps the silky fibres from bedding into the silk layers below. Why S-twist? It makes the fibre easier to draft than if Z-twist were inserted. Enjoy!

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