This is the type of industry that I enjoy supporting, the kind of purchases that make me feel good. Regular people, working in their home environment. I know I can pay these people a fair price for their goods because I am dealing directly with them.
Here’s what I learned about small production silk.
Silkworms (which are actually caterpillars or larvae) are bred and fed leaves to eat.
The larvae naturally form silky cocoons. From which in nature they would of course emerge as a moth.
Checking on the larvae
The cocoons are placed in boiling water which helps to separate the silk threads so they can be spun into lengths of thread.
This is done old school with a small log fire and a small cast iron caldron. As the silk threads are loosened they are brought together with a very simple looking wooden tool and are spun together on a small spinning wheel. This is kept in constant motion by pulling the finished thread so more small silk threads are brought up out of the water.
A couple of videos to give you a chuckle...Peter was brave enough to eat the larvae.
A walk down the road to a few houses over where the threads are being made into fabric.
I have never seen a fabric loom set up with this length of thread…this is going to be one huge piece of fabric. About 30 feet long! Amazing!