Mawata Thigh Spinning

Mawata as Weft Accent
- Kim McKenna

One of my favourite techniques for adding interest to my handwoven scarves uses Sanjo Silk’s colourful hand-dyed Mawata hankies to make thigh-spun silk yarn. One to three picks of thigh-spun Mawata can add textural interest or a shot of colour to your scarves and….. it doesn’t require a wheel.


Steps for preparing your own thigh-spun Mawata yarn:

  1. Remove the thinnest layer of Mawata you can from the lot. Do this by peeling back a thin layer along the edge of the Mawata lot.
  2. Continue to peel back along the whole edge and slowly work your way inwards until you have removed the thinnest veil of Mawata.
  3. Stretch the Mawata veil out a bit in all directions.
  4. Put your thumbs through the middle of the veil.
  5. Pull your thumbs in opposite directions to stretch the Mawata into a loop.
  6. Stretch the loop until, when twisted, it is the grist you want.
  7. When you have the grist you want, break the loop. This gives you a nice long length of silk.
  8. Take a bowl of very warm water, wet your forefingers, lay one end of the silk on your thigh, and, starting at one end of your length of silk, roll the fibre down your thigh.
  9. Continue to wet your forefingers, reposition the silk and roll it down your thigh until you get to the other end.
  10. Allow the silk to dry.