Before the silk there is the yarn, but what comes before the yarn? Once upon a time…
Did you know? Silk comes from the cocoons of silkworms!
The silk farmer controls the hatching of the caterpillar eggs, more commonly known as silkworm eggs, which are stored at a cool temperature to prevent their development. Once hatched, the hungry silkworms feast on mulberry leaves, hence their name “Bombyx mori”, meaning “silkworm of the mulberry tree” in Latin. At four weeks, they measure 8 to 10 cm and begin to spin their cocoon by producing a semi-liquid silk that solidifies in contact with the air and forms a continuous filament which can measure up to 1.5 km!
If you are curious to find out more about how a hungry silkworm produces its filament, come and meet Bernard Perret and Bernard Mauchamps (“Papy Bombyx”) – former researchers at the international sericulture unit and founders of Lyon Vers à Soie – and Clara Hardy from Sericyne.