Sunday, 27 November 2011

Silk In Hoi An

We are now in Hoi An. Coming in to this city was exciting – well for me – there were huge advertising boards all along the highway and all of them were advertising silk shops!!!

This is how my collection of raw silk started in Hanoi – just three colours and one of them is cream as you can see. So it is time for more variety.

I think I have a bed runner in mind for the end of our bed and a long landscape shaped wall hanging for above the bed head. I think the runner will be geometric and the hanging will have some appliqué on as well – who knows at this stage – it is such a vague idea that I have.
One stop in old Hoi An was to a silk factory where a lovely Vietnamese lady took us through the process of silk production. These are fat silk worms munching away on mulberry leaves – they get a new batch of leaves to munch on every three hours – these ones are 19 days old and nearly ready to go into cocoons. Most start spinning cocoons after about 23 days and it takes them about four days to spin it rotating their body in a figure eight direction over 300,000 times.

Once in cocoons they are gently placed in these racks – the two colours are because there are two different varieties of silk worm breed in this factory. Some are kept to go full cycle and turn into moths to start the next generation of worms off. Others are taken for their silk.

These cocoons have been chosen for silk production and dropped gently into hot water to kill the worm and release the silk fibre. A strand  is taken from four to six cocoons and twisted together to make one thread  and wound onto the big reel on this machine – done by hand here.

These reels of thread are then ready to be dyed – the white and the yellow are in the natural state and the blue has been dyed.

Then it is off to the weaving machine – this one was electronic and noisy, but fast. It was producing silk which has the crosswise threads of one colour and the length threads of another to give a shot effect.

Other thread were kept for the ladies doing the traditional silk embroideries.

Watch for progress as we are back into town tonight and into the night market. So who 
knows what we will find - more silk products and fabric I suspect.

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