Monday, 21 March 2011

Silk Fibres Containing Sericin



silk cocoons



cocoon strippings



reeled silk



silk carrier rods



throwster's waste 'paper'
Silk fibres are emitted from the glands of the silkworm and are covered with a sticky substance called sericin, this is what keeps the cocoon intact. The cocoon is soaked in hot, soapy water so that the silk fibres (still containing sericin) can be unravelled. Each strand of silk is joined with 10-15 more cocoon strands to form the glossy reeled silk fibre.

Cocoon strippings are the silk fibres that hold the cocoon in place as it changes into the silk moth and they contain the most sericin. The fibres are soft and fluffy with a matt finish.

Throwsters is a by-product of unravelling the cocoon to make the reeled silk. It is a high quality silk fibre which retains the sericin making the fibres feel coarse to the touch.

The reeled silk is processed to create the fine silk threads used for weaving silk fabric and during this process, a number of other silk variations are created.

Silk carrier rods are a ‘woven waste’ product of the silk winding process, contain sericin and have a high sheen. The image shows how the rod has been pulled apart to separate.

Any of these sericin rich silk fibres can be used to make a simple silk paper. The ‘glue’ (sericin) can be activated by spreading the fibres on baking parchment, spraying with water, covering with another sheet of parchment and then ironing on a medium setting until the fibre is dry.

This image shows hand-dyed Throwsters Waste 'paper'.

See our Fact File page, Silk Fibres for Spinning, Dyeing, Needle Felting and Silk Paper Making for more information about the silk fibres featured here, plus other silk fibres such as Mawata Caps, Tussah and Noil.

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