Thursday, March 5, 2015

Cotton vs. Silk

I've been working on a new doll (you will get to see the first photos of her next week, most likely). She is a beaded BJD like Esmeralda, but with a couple of differences. One, I moved the ball joint in her torso down a bit, so that it is more centered in her waist. The other difference is the thread. Up to this point, I have been using organic cotton thread to make my dolls. I like it, but I decided to make this doll using ahimsa silk, for a few different reasons. The main reason is strength. I don't use beading threads, which are generally made of nylon or other plastics, even though they are very strong, because they are bad for the environment, and also for my health (I have chemical sensitivities, and when I tried using these materials I got really sick). So I like to stick to very natural materials, and, as far as that goes, silk is stronger than cotton. For my dolls, I chose an undyed, naturally processed, ahimsa silk. Here is a photo of it, next to the undyed organic cotton I normally use:

I love the feel of it when I'm working! I also like the slight sheen it has, very soft and subtle, kind of pearly. It's very luxurious and pretty. It doesn't knot as frequently as the cotton, and when it does get a knot, it seems easier to undo it. It is definitely stronger too - not once did my thread break, and it didn't fray as much at the part that goes through the eye of the needle either. 

On the other hand, although both threads are basically the same weight, the silk seems to be very slightly thicker, which was a problem with the 3 smallest pearl sizes I use as ball joints, because I couldn't pass the thread through them as much as I would have liked.

There was also something I didn't expect: my new doll is about three quarters of an inch taller than the last one! It doesn't sound like much, but she looks a lot taller. That isn't really a problem, though, as she is still a nice size, and sits nicely in my hand. It was just a bit unexpected.

So on the whole, I liked working with the silk, and will definitely use it again in the future, when the dolls have a similar skin tone to that thread. Otherwise I will have to use the cotton, because it comes in a bunch of colors, but the silk does not. 

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