I am sorry to have to answer this way but I can not seem to stay connected to FB tonight to answer questions about using Silk Rods.
First, with the rods you do not need to degum them if you wish them thinner. Just spritz with a little bit of water and then like peeling skin off or that of an onion - slowly and gently start on the side and start peeling. I like to sometimes use a steam iron and a thin cloth and just steam a bit to open it up and then peel.
If you are wishing to add them into spinning yarns I just open the ends a bit when wet so it is a Tad bit fluffy that way it will grab on. You can also sew, bead, paint and stamp on them but remember not too close to the edge or the fibers can come loose.. If you are painting or stamping not too wet or again you will release the fibers.
If you are using the cocoons I can send you a degumming recipe because they have more (worm spit) in them and requires a bit more to loosen them apart.
I hope that helps but if you have further questions just leave a comment here and I will promise to answer you. I am sorry for the computer issues - dial up sucks and so does figuring out how to work around computer temper tantrums.