Silk Process

I went on the most amazing trip to Cambodia and visited lots of amazing locations. I thought I would share the silk worm factory I visited where everything was made by hand with amazing skill.

IMG_0238

First they showed us the worms (photo above) and brought the mulberry leaves to fed them. Did you know silkworms are really not worms at all, silk worms are the larvae of ‘bombyx mori’ moths and silkworms are actually domesticated insects. I found out that silk worms are native to china and no longer exist in the wild. The silkworm is now incapable of flight and mates quickly after emerging from its crysalis, and dies a day or so after laying eggs.

IMG_0242

The worms are later sealed within a yellow cocoon and embark on the process of metamorphosing into a moth. Which the moths make 1000’s of little cocoons.

IMG_0245

The process, from silkworm egg to complete cocoon, takes about twenty-five days.


  IMG_0248

The cocoon is now treated with  boiling water. The silk is then unbound from the cocoon by softening the sericin and then delicately and carefully unwinding, or ‘reeling’ the filaments to create a single strand.

The sericin protects the silk fiber during the process, this is often left in until the yarn or even woven fabric stage. Interesting fact that Raw silk is silk that still contains sericin. Once this is washed out (in soap and boiling water), the fabric is left soft, lustrous, and up to 30% lighter. The amount of usable silk in each cocoon is small, and about 2500 silkworms are required to produce a pound of raw silk. It real makes you appreciate the time it takes to make one silk scarf.

  IMG_0250IMG_0246

Silk weavers hand-reel the threads onto a wooden spindle to produce a uniform strand of raw silk. The process is very labor intensive, as it takes nearly 30 hours to produce a 0.5 kg (around 1 pound) of Thai silk. Did you know that a single cocoon can produce up to 1.5 km (almost 1 mile) of silk thread!

IMG_0252 IMG_0253

IMG_0254

The silk is dyed using natural materials such as paprika, Lavender and lots more organic products.

IMG_0255  IMG_0257

The final step is weaving.  Silk weaving creates a fabric by interlacing the yarns.  Weaving is carried out on a hand loom.

Advertisements

About lovelydeer

My name is Gemma Phillips and I am a designer and illustrator of a range of home ware called Lovely Deer. https://lovelydeer.wordpress.com/ http://www.facebook.com/lovely.deer.5?fref=ts
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Silk Process

  1. littlekoo says:

    Wow, really interesting! I had no idea how much goes into producing silk!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s