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Silk or Wool?

Dewey_Norton | Posted in The Archives on

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Does anyone know how to tell the difference between silk and wool? I just bought three yards of what is supposed to be silk, but it is quite rough and feels more like wool to the touch. I burned a few threads and the ash looked sort of like a piece of black plastic, but crushed easily to a powder; from what I have read, both silk and wool behave this way when burned.

Although I’m allergic to wool, I don’t always have a problem immediately when I’m near a piece of wool, but my nose will eventually start to run like a faucet so I want to be sure this stuff is silk before spending the time to turn it into a coat (if it’s not silk, I’d also like to return it while I can).

Replies

  1. Lara_Tucker | | #1

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    If you wet a small piece you should be able to tell what it is from odor. I find both silk and wool have distinctive smells.

    1. Marty_Christopherson | | #2

      *Good thinking Lara, nothing smells quite like wet wool. Claire Shaeffer's ""Fabric Sewing Guide" says silk sputters and is usually self-extinguishing while wool doesn't get the sputtering part and is self-extinguishing. Silk has a "crushable black bead" while wool has a "small, brittle, black bead".That might help clear up the confusion between the two. This book has by far the best burn chart I have ever seen. I have the 1994 Edition ISBN 0-8019-7802-5. I have no idea how I ever sewed without it.Marty in Seattle

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