Make a noodle of steel wool to clean out the female and rinse it with alcohol. If there is any unseen burr (fairly common on older ferrules) the cotton with catch and you'll never seat the ferrule correctly and end up over lapping the male to compensate. This is how they should look when seated properly as I was shown. You can see that 1/16th gap of unlapped male ferrule, its not much but believe it or not it will help in giving the ferrules a longer life.
Can't help with the silk line though but I did find this Silk Fly Lines
what's listed there is basically all the reasons I don't
use silk. I still think its pretty cool but I'm too lazy.