Silk is considered to one of the most beautiful fabrics and it is frequently used in the production of clothes, especially silk shirts and ties. Silk is also used for duvets and pillows cases as it is considered to be one of the most comfortable fabrics for bedding. Silk differs from other fabrics in that the process used to develop silk is an intricate procedure. Because of the time it takes to create silk and its qualities it is considered to be a luxury product by many people.
Despite being particularly smooth and soft, silk has a high tensile strength which means that silk is relatively resistant to damage from pulls and tears.
The process of creating silk is called sericulture and central to the process is the silk worm. The silkworm passes through a number of phases in its life, beginning as an egg, hatching into a larva (silkworm), metamorphosing into a pupa and finally into a moth, thereby completing its cycle. As part of this process, the silkworm builds a cocoon, which can be a number of different colours including white, grey and yellow. To an extent, the quality of the silk can be determined by the colour of the cocoon. Cocoons also come in a variety of different sizes, shapes and textures.
In order to extract the silk from the cocoon it is exposed to hot and cold temperatures in quick succession. This breaks down the gum, which is called Sericin, allowing silk fibres to be gently parted. Once these threads have been extracted from the cocoon they are rolled onto a reel to create the raw silk which will be made into threads later in the process. Because each strand of silk is so fine, the silk strands are spun together to create silk thread which can be used in commercial products. The number of silk threads depends on the manufacturer but is generally between 3 and 12 strands.
This thread is then bailed. This means that they are rolled on to large bobbins which generally weigh between 2 4 kilograms. This is the raw silk that is supplied to the factories and goes into production of garments and other silk products.