How is Silk Made--From Silkworm to The Queen of Fibers

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How is Silk Made--From Silkworm to The Queen of Fibers

The history of silk can be traced back to thousands of years ago and until now, silk has still been highly regarded as one of the most valuable luxury fabrics even considered as the “The queen of fibers”. Up to now, silk production is still a labor-intensive process to a large extent involving large hard work. Lingsilk’s product is a kind of luxury textile produced by craftsmanship.

What is silk made of?

Now there are many different types of insects used for silk production, and the materials produced by these silkworms and having the most excellent characteristics are one of the most popular materials. Silk has gloss and is lightweight but has an impressive intensity. The intensity of one silk seems to be stronger than steel wire alike.

Raw Material characteristics

Natural fiber

The natural fiber contained in silk is mainly silk fiber which is a continuous filament fiber that is solidified by liquid silk secreted when mature silkworm cocoons. In addition, it’s one of the earliest animal fiber that human uses, including mulberry silk, castor silk, cassava silk, and so on. Lingsilk’s products are made of 100% mulberry silk.Silk fiber solidified by silkworm-modified mucus is the only natural filament fiber that has been applied in practice.

Silk structure

Silkworms spit out two silks at the same time and after solidification, they will combine to form a cocoon. Each cocoon silk has two silk fibers stuck together by sericin called silk fibroin, which is silk fiber without glue. Silk fiber has a relatively perfect original fiber structure that can fully perform natural fiber’s excellent quality.

 

Here is the process of producing silk above:

Silkworm breeding 

Female silkworms would lay nearly 300-500 eggs at any time and the eggs eventually hatch into silkworms in a controllable environment until to be larvae(caterpillars). Silkworms constantly feed a large amount of mulberry leaves to promote growth. After about six weeks, they will stop eating and put their head up--this time they are ready to cocoon. 

Silkworms spend around 3-8 days spinning and cocooning when they attach to a safe frame or tree. Each silkworm produces only one strand of silk, around 100 meters long, which is glued by a natural glue called sericin. Surprisingly, producing a pound of raw silk nearly needs 2500 silkworms, which shows its value.

Extraction of silk thread

Once silkworms are spun into cocoons, they eventually will close themselves inside and that is time to extract silk thread.

Silk cocoon is put into the boiling water to soften and dissolute the colloid that holds the cocoons together. This is a key step in the silk production process because it can protect each thread’s continuity from damage. Then each thread is carefully rolled from silk cocoon into a separated long thread and twined on the scroll. Some sericin possibly remain on the thread to protect the fiber, which can usually be washed by soap and boiling water. 

Dyeing

After the silk thread is washed and degum, it will be bleached and dried before the dyeing. Later, silk is immersed in a dyeing bath to absorb the color. Additionally, silk can be put into the dyeing bath by two cylinders or steadily fixed on a circular fixture that has been immersed in the dyeing bath. 

Do Spinning

The processing of spinning is to unfold the dyed fiber onto the scroll and flatten it preparing for the weaving process, which can be done in many different ways such as hand spinning to ring spinning to mule spinning.

Spin

Weaving is the last step of producing silk. Silk has many different weaves--satin weave, plain, and plain weave are the most common. Besides, silk’s appearance depends on the type of weaves.

In general, weaving involves the crisscrossing of two groups of threads, which makes them lock each other to form a solid and united fabric. These threads will be intertwined at right angles and the two different angles are called warp and weft. Warp moves up and down the fabric, while weft passes through the fabric.

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