I have been asked twice recently about tsumugi silk. Well, the short answer is that tsumugi (紬) is a yarn spun from the silk waste, with nubs and some unevenness. Not shiny, but has a good grip – excellent choice for a weft if you’re thinking about a baby wrap, a shawl, or a scarf. And if it is spun firmly, it can be a warp too.
In other words, the silk noil or bourette silk, known to the Western world, is tsumugi silk. The Silky Weave, by the way, offers thick and thin bourette (tsumugi) silk in wide range of colours and options to have it hand-dyed in single colour or variegated.
Wait! you would say. What about the Habu yarn with those colourful speckles? They call it tsumugi.
If they call it tsumugi, then it must be tsumugi. I have not seen that particular yarn in real life, so I don’t know for sure, but I wove with the tsumugi yarn with speckles. Those speckles, in various colours different from the main colour, were added during the spinning process. The overall result looks like this:
Red silk has yellow speckles and green – red speckles. A beautiful yarn from one of my favourite yarn suppliers, Avril.
So, here you go. No more mysteries about tsumugi – it is a bourette silk, and it can be dyed after spinning or spun with pre-dyed fibre to get the speckles.
Oh, and one more thing – it can be Mulberry or Tussah, but in the majority of cases it will be Mulberry.