Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Silk or Not?

The fact that I'm having so much trouble ironing my fabric has really puzzled some of the sewing ladies I've consulted online. Silk dupioni should wash and iron like a dream, at least that's been their experience. One person wondered if perhaps I'd been sold a blend instead of 100% silk and suggested I do a burn test.

I'm familiar with testing for cotton, but had never tried silk. All of the sources I consulted seem to agree that silk "usually burns readily, not necessarily with a steady flame, and smells like burning hair. The ash is easily crumbled."

So I set up my tin foil lined pie pan and, using tongs, held a small piece of my fabric over the burner of stove. It did not catch fire very easily. In fact, it just seemed to char and then bubble up into a lump. Finally, it flamed. But when I dropped it into the pan, the flame went out. I expected the bubbly black mass to be hard and solid. But it was crunchy and easily crushed. But did it smell like burnt hair? How should I know? I mentioned my difficulty to Fillius, and he assured me that it definitely did.

"How do you know?" I asked. "When did you ever smell burning hair?"


There are some things that mothers never find out until their children are grown.

"I once burnt some hair when I was little. Just to see what would happen." I recalled then that he used to love playing with magnifying glasses when he was young.

"And, um, I accidentally burnt some of my hair by bending too close to the stove burner one time."

"Ah," I said and asked no more. Sometimes it's better not to know any details.

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