Topics: Silk, Bombyx mori, Wild silk Pages: 6 (1565 words) Published: February 23, 2013
Silk is a fabric that is used throughout the entire the world. It is a very elegant fabric that many people prize to have. The silk fabric can trace its origins back 4000 years in China. It has a very interesting myth related to it but for all that can be said it may also be the truth. Silk is farmed and manufactured in a method known as sericulture and it is an extensive process but it is almost the same wherever silk is farmed. There are two major types of silk which are pure silk and wild silk, which is known as tussah. These two types have specific fabric and farming differences. In today’s world silk is imported and exported by countries all over the world. The discovery of silk has a very interesting legend that is associated with is. It all begins in 2640 BC when the 14-year-old wife, Xilingji (His-ling-chi) of China’s third emperor, Huangdi (Huang Ti) is in the palace garden making tea. She accidentally dropped a silkworm cocoon into a cup of hot water and discovered that the silk fiber could be loosened and unwound. By taking more cocoons and placing them in hot water she was able to take the single fibers and wind them together to create a thread that was strong enough to be woven into cloth.

There are two main types of silk that exist in the world. The first one is raw silk and this comes from the silkworm species Bombyx mori. The other main type of silk that exists in the world is known as wild silk or Tussah. Raw silk is a very luxurious fabric with a luxurious hand. It is extremely durable, and it can be easily dyed but as for overall strength raw silk is not the strongest of the different types of silks. The way that raw silk is manufactured is listed in the paragraph above. The tussah silk is considered to be created organically because they are not being harvested. This type of silk is collected in tropical or semi-tropical forests after the moths have emerged from the cocoons. Since this occurs the silk is not as fine as pure silk but it is a lot stronger and durable. It is not as pure white as raw silk but rather has a beige to brownish tone depending on the leaves that the larvae ate before creating its cocoon. The production of the tussah silk is different compared to that of the raw silk. First the cocoons are softened using a special method involving soap and then the fibers are handspun into thread. These are the major differences between two different types of silk.

It is not certain if this is the way that silk was truly discovered but it is an interesting story. Yet, recent archeological finds have proven that silk manufacturing is certainly much older than recorded history. For many centuries, it was the Chinese nobility’s most closely guarded secret. Only nobles of the Chinese society were allowed to wear anything made out of silk, and if any foreigners entered the Forbidden City in China anything th


The finest silk fibers, and most of what we use today, are produced by "cultivated" silkworms grown in a controlled environment. The worms are fed a diet of mulberry leaves and increase their body size 10,000 times in their short life span. Once the cocoon is spun and before the worm hatches through the silk into a moth, the cocoon is soaked in hot water then unraveled, producing filaments that can be up to a mile long in size.

The raw silk is then processed to remove the sericin - the natural "gum" that protects the fibers and causes them to stick to each other as the cocoon was spun.

Silk is a protein fiber, similar to wool or to human hair. It is only natural for silks to have some irregularities – sometimes called "slubs". This is the nature of the 100% silk fabric.

Silk that has been processed can be woven or knit into a variety of fabrics. Silk will shrink, so if you are using it to construct clothing, be sure to preshrink it. Silk often has a wonderful feel, (referred to as a "hand"), and an almost iridescent sheen that makes us think of...
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