The demonstration started out with a refresher of the stages of development for a cocoon. The larva, the pupa etc. Then our guide explained and demonstrated how to tell real silk fabric from the popular polyester "silk like" fabrics. Two ways:
- Burn a small piece, and if it melts into a tiny ball, it's poly. If it turns to ash, it's silk.
- Or, with a bit of practice, with a light breath, you can lightly blow through any silk and feel the breath on the back of your hand. Your breath will not pass through polyester fabric.
|Cocoons are graded and the single and doubles are separated.|
|Eight single cocoons are submerged in the steaming water and threaded into the guides. From the eight cocoons, the eight micro silk threads are pulled up and twisted together to make a single thread which is wound on a hank at the top of the photo.|
|A while row of spinning cocoons are taken care of by a single worker.|
We learned about the single cocoons and the double cocoons, which I had never heard of. They are very valuable. Double cocoons are when two worms start spinning their silk too close to each other and it creates a bigger, but matted cocoon. These double cocoons are layered in groups of 100 cocoons, then by hand, they are stretched on top of one another to make a duvet type of quilt. I bought a queen sized duvet quilt at this factory for just over $100 and it had 10,000 cocoons. I was floored by the number of worms that it took.
Here's a short video of how they stretch out the pad of 100 cocoons. It takes 100 of these to make one duvet.
This factory did have lots of clothing and silk scarves and ties for sale, but they were rather pricey. I was hoping they would have the thread by the spool and even some yardage to buy, but there was none. I'm glad with the purchase of my duvet.