20 September 2009

The spider behind the counter

Going to a spider-silk shop can be a daunting experience if you don't know precisely what you want, for spiders are very precise in the silk they make, the same spider spinning and weaving different skeins, nets and fabrics, depending upon the purpose.

Although you might be prepared to specify line weight, pull strength, crimp or stickiness, dullness or shine; thick felt, papery or mylar-smooth tough bagging, you should also be ready to smile knowingly when the salesnid asks, "And now, which colours?"

See these fascinating pages from two informative and extensive sites:
Common Net-casting Spider- Deinopis ravidus in the Chew family's Insects and Spiders in Brisbane.
Desis - Long-jawed intertidal spiders or lace web spiders in Ed Nieuwenhuys' Spiders of Australia.


Anonymous said...

That's a very beautiful green.

anna tambour said...

I wish I could show it in all its moody glory, and its gemlike sparkle. When I first came upon it amongst the leaf-littered forest floor, it was lit by a ray of tree-filtered sun, and it looked like spun aquamarine. The play of colour reminds me of opals, and I think it has to do with the crimp, for this monofilament makes the close-crimp of super-fine (<20 microns) Marino wool look like bridge cable teased by the friction of tectonic plates.

Anonymous said...

Anna, you may find this article from today's New York Times interesting: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/arts/design/23spiders.html?_r=1&ref=todayspaper. It's about making cloth from the silk of Madagascar golden orb spiders.


anna tambour said...

Thank you, Alice! I'll have to put that into the Irresistibles. I wonder what it feels like having silk pulled from your body. I suppose 'silken', but . . .