Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fun Silk Facts

8 Silk Production Facts of Thailand

     * The production of silk (a.k.a. Sericulture) or silk farming, has been practiced in Thailand for more than 3 millenia.

     * A single silkworm moth lays about 500 eggs, over a 4-6 day time frame.

     * Silkworm caterpillars are fed an exclusive diet of fresh mulberry leaves, in order too produce the finest, quality silk.

     * Silkworm caterpillars take about 1 month before they are large enough to spin their cocoons, the process of which takes approximately 3-5 days.

     * Within each Thai silk cocoon, there is an amazing 400-900 meters of silk filament!  But since a single filament is too thin for weaving, the majority of silk thread processed in Thailand, incorporates 4-8 filaments, using a hand-reel method, which are reeled together on a wooden spindle, to produce a resultant strand of silk thread (this occupation is almost always performed by women).  It takes up to 12 hours to hand-reel a mere 0.25 kg of silk thread, depending on the experience of the worker.

     * It takes approximately 5,500 silkworms (or 8kg of cocoons) to produce just 1kg of raw silk!

     * While some cultures tend to dye the resultant woven fabrics, in Thailand, the silk thread is dyed before the weaving process.  It is not uncommon for the warp and weft threads to differ, this creates more depth and enriches the aesthetic quality of the the resultant fabric. 

     * Of the resultant silk fabric produced in Thailand, about 60%  of that is still handwoven;  The width of this handwoven silk, typically 1 meter or less, is often smaller than that of machine woven silk, being limited to the size of the loom the worker is using;  An experienced weaver can weave up to 4 meters of silk fabric per day!

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