How is Silk Made?
The answer to the question of "How is silk made?" is evident in the name of the silkworm. It is important to note that there can be significant differences in the silk manufacturing process since not all silk manufacturers use the same species of silkworm to produce their silk. For example, wild silk is made using the ruptured pupae of silkworms that breed and pupate out in the wild, in significant contrast to their domesticated counterparts.
However, in most cases, the silk manufacturing process relies on the domesticated silkworm, which continues to be reared in much the same manner as their predecessors since time immemorial.
The Steps in the Silk Manufacturing Process
The silk making process begins with the silk moth laying its eggs. Since even a single silk worm can lay thousands of eggs in one go, this results in an enormous number of silkworms once they begin hatching out of their eggs, meaning that farmers have to be prepared with an appropriate supply of leaves harvested from the mulberry tree.
As the silkworms feast on mulberry leaves, their skin has to moult so that they can continue growing. Growth spurts have to occur no less than four times before silkworms are ready to pupate. This takes place as soon as silkworms climb onto convenient branches placed there for that exact purpose by the farmer.
Each silkworm begins by creating the net that will hold it in place before it begins enclosing itself in its cocoon. In total, each silkworm produces a single strand of silk that measures about a mile in length, held together in the shape of a cocoon using a gum called sericin.
Once the silkworm have enclosed themselves in their cocoons, the farmers will put them in hot water. This dissolves the gum holding their cocoons together and is crucial because it makes it possible for manufacturers the farmers contract with to separate strands of silk, bind them into thread, and then wind it onto reels as raw silk. Once the strands have been processed into raw silk, it can be shipped out for further processing into consumer goods such as our bedding and sleep-wear.
How Our Process Stands Out
Of course, even though the answer to the question of "How is silk made?" is generally the same across silk manufacturers, small differences can still lead to big differences when it comes to the results.
For example, the excellence of the silk used in Manito’s products can be attributed to a couple of facts. First, our parent company has been involved in the manufacturing of silk for decades, including contracting with farmers who work in 30,000 acres of land in beautiful Huosan, Anhui Province. We know silk, from farm to finished product. Second, we not only insist on 100% mulberry silk but we purposely choose a traditional, narrow loom charmeuse weave and combine this with an optimum 22 momme, the measure of silk's weight. In combination these attributes result in some of the world's most luxurious silk bedding and sleepwear.
Please do not hesitate to contact our representatives at Manito if you have further inquiries related to either how our silk is made, or the bedding and sleepwear made using our silk.