How is silk made
1. The life cycle of a silk moth.
The fascinating story of silk production begins within the natural life cycle of the silk moth. The ‘Bomyx mori’ moth of China has become the most widely used species of moth in the production of silk. This moth lost its ability to fly centuries ago and has since evolved into an excellent silk producer which is only able to mate and produce eggs, so ensuring the survival of the species as well as a steady supply of the raw material used to make silk products. There are many varieties of silk moth but the Bomyx mori is considered best due to its ability to produce the finest thread. It is because of this quality that Chinese silk has been highly regarded throughout history.
2. Great Material Produce Fine Product.
The production of silk is a complicated process that has been developed and refined by the Chinese over thousands of years. The key to this process has been ensuring that the silk moths are well-fed, and later in the process, prevented from hatching out of their cocoons so as not to damage the threads. It all begins by ensuring that the silk moth eggs are kept at the correct temperatures, and after they have hatched, the ravenous silk worms are provided with a constant supply of fresh mulberry leaves. Due to their huge appetites, the worms increase their weight approximately 10,000 times in only one month.
Silk worms constantly feed right up until they are ready to spin their cocoons. When it is time, they use their silk glands for 3 or 4 days to produce the thread which is immediately spun into a white ball around their fat bodies. After 8 or 9 days, the silk farmers take the cocoons and bake or steam them to kill the silk worms. The cocoons are then soaked in hot water to loosen the intricately woven threads.
The final step in this process is to unwind the cocoon threads and these can be almost a kilometer in length. Five to eight of these fine threads are twisted together to produce a larger thread that is suitable for weaving into silk fabric.
The Secret Of Sericulture
Producing silk is a lengthy process and demands constant close attention. To produce high quality silk, there are two conditions which need to be fulfilled – preventing the moth from hatching out and perfecting the diet on which the silkworms should feed. Chinese developed secret ways for both. * The eggs must be kept at 65 degrees F, increasing gradually to 77 degrees at which point they hatch. After the eggs hatch, the baby worms feed day and night every half hour on fresh, hand-picked and chopped mulberry leaves until they are very fat. Also a fixed temperature has to be maintained throughout. Thousands of feeding worms are kept on trays that are stacked one on top of another. A roomful of munching worms sounds like heavy rain falling on the roof. The newly hatched silkworm multiplies its weight 10,000 times within a month, changing color and shedding its whitish-gray skin several times. *The silkworms feed until they have stored up enough energy to enter the cocoon stage. While they are growing they have to be protected from loud noises, drafts, strong smells such as those of fish and meat and even the odor of sweat. When it is time to build their cocoons, the worms produce a jelly-like substance in their silk glands, which hardens when it comes into contact with air. Silkworms spend three or four days spinning a cocoon around themselves until they look like puffy, white balls. *After eight or nine days in a warm, dry place the cocoons are ready to be unwound. First they are steamed or baked to kill the worms, or pupas. The cocoons are then dipped into hot water to loosen the tightly woven filaments. These filaments are unwound onto a spool. Each cocoon is made up of a filament between 600 and 900 meters long! Between five and eight of these super-fine filaments are twisted together to make one thread. *Finally the silk threads are woven into cloth or used for embroidery work. Clothes made from silk are not only beautiful and lightweight, they are also warm in cool weather and cool in hot weather.
History of silk
For centuries, silk was a valuable and sought-after product destined only for wealthy customers across Asia, the Middle East and Europe. For more than two thousand years, little was known about its production and this added to its mystique and value.
The production of silk is thought to have begun about 6000 to 7000 years ago in China. The age of fragments of fabric, silk thread and some spinning tools found in the lower Yangzi river region suggest it may have even started earlier. A Chinese legend tells the story of the Goddess of Silk, Xi Ling Shi, introducing the silkworm and the loom, so starting an industry that was to keep China as the world-leader in silk production right up until present day.
Soon after its discovery, silk was only used by the emperor and very senior members of the royal court. As improved production methods were developed, its use became more widespread and it became a very important part of the ancient Chinese economy. Due to its quality and value, silk became an accepted form of currency within China, and later, for trade when making payments to foreign countriesThe trade in silk was believed to have officially started with the opening of the silk route across Asia in the second century BC, however, silk relics have been discovered in Egypt dating from around 1000 BC indicating the possibility of some earlier trading. The ancient Romans were particularly impressed by silk fabrics and when introduced to Rome, it quickly became one of the most sought after commodities of this era.
Despite the Chinese trying to enforce a level of secrecy surrounding silk production, it eventually spread to Korea and India. Then, in around 550 AD, two monks smuggled silk worms from China into Byzantium and this started an industry which supplied the Middle Eastern and European markets. However, Chinese silk was still very popular in the west so the trade along the silk route was still maintained. Eventually, the Persians began to weave their own silk garments and in the 13th Century, the Italians adopted silk production. This was the beginning of the European silk industry which soon spread to other countries in this region.
Today, China still maintains it status as the world leader in silk production.
Silk, one of the most precious fabric in the world, has it’s individual characteristics which attract more and more users these years. Based on it’s benefits, silk is mostly used in bed linen, pillowcases, pajamas, and clothing.
You have many reasons to buy yourself silk bedding sets, now, let’s talk about these reasons.
Silk is acknowledged one of the most comfortable fabric in the world as it is extremely smooth, soft, light, and never conduct static electricity or attract dust mites. It is really a best choice for people who have sensitive skin.
Mulberry silk contains about 20 kinds of Amino acids and natural cellular albumen we needs, which can effectively stimulate skin cell‘s metabolism, give a baby skin, therefore slowing the aging process.
Silk pillowcases can also prevent hair knotted, hair matted, hair thinning, reduce wrinkles. Moreover, silk is also a very beautiful fabric to highlight your bedroom.
Silk is breathable, it is also a natural temperature regulator, when the weather is cold, it can reduce the thermal conductivity, warmer than leather and cotton; when the weather is hot, it can release extra heat to keep inside the quilt comfortable and ensure the quality of sleep.
Silk makes people sleep well, and promote good health.
For silk bed linen
Machine wash or hand wash at about 30°C, use a gentle, non-biological detergent specially created for washing silk, don’t soak or wring, and never bleach or use any kind of bleaching agent. Wash silk separately.
For silk duvets, pillows, blankets
Usually silk duvets never need cleaning, air them indirect sunlight for a few hours each season. If it is necessary, dry clean only. Washing silk filled duvets will make it lose some of its natural properties.
Air dry is better, do not dry silk bed linen in direct sunlight. Do not tumble-dry silk.
Use a Cool iron on the inside setting. Always iron on the inside.