Facts about silk
Silk comes originally from China. It is said that some 4,500 years ago a Chinese empress discovered how a small larva spun a thin thread around itself as protection. “Surely it must be an earthly delight to wrap oneself in such a fine thread,” the empress is to have exclaimed. She ordered the ladies of her court to attempt to unravel these threads and weave them into a cloth. In honour of her discovery, the empress was raised to goddess stature and is to this day remembered in silk growers’ prayers for a good harvest.
None other than the emperor and his family could originally bear clothes of silk.
Silk is a fibre spun by the silkworm, a butterfly larva. The larva lives on the mulberry tree. When it is about to commence its metamorphous to a butterfly, the larva spins a cocoon around itself to protect it during the process. This cocoon is made from a single thread that can be from 2,000 to 4,000 metres long.
The cocoons are picked and treated with hot air, steam or frozen to kill the larva. The silk thread is then loosened. A silk thread is spun from the fibres of 4-12 cocoons depending on the thickness of the thread desired. Each cocoon produces 1-3 km of silk thread.
The silk thread can then be woven into a number of different types of fabric – for example satin, which is a weaving method that includes silk stain, polyester satin, cotton satin, etc.