Saturday, March 31, 2012

about luxurious and difficult silk
Silk is difficult, isn't it? It is so lovely and luxurious, and still - the making of it requires killing the mulberry silkworms inside the cocoons, usually by boiling. Doesn't sound too nice, does it? Just to get some understanding on the scale - it requires about 50,000 cocoons to produce one silk sari!

There is the wild silk, which is produced by caterpillars other than the mulberry silkworm. With this the challenge is the color variations, plus the silk thread that makes up the cocoon has been torn into shorter lengths by the pupa emerged before the discovery thus the quality of the silk suffers significantly.

But but but - I ran into the following article, so we have hope to have fully feel-good silk in a larger scale in the future!
"Kusuma Rajaiah, an Indian man, has developed a new technique for producing silk that does not require killing silk worms in the process. Rajaiah has won the patent for producing the "Ahimsa" silk. Ahimsai s a religious concept which advocates non-violence and a respect for all life. However, the production of the silk is more expensive. For example, a saree which costs 2400 rupees to produce using regular silk, will cost 4000 rupees when made with Ahimsa silk.Rajaiah says: "My inspiration is Mahatma. He gave a message to the Indian silk industry that if silk can be produced without killing silkworms, it would be better. He dreamt but that did not happen in his lifetime. I am the happiest person that at least I could do this little thing."
Rajaiah says he started giving a serious thought to "Ahimsa" silk when in the 1990s. Janaki Venkatraman, wife of the former President, asked if she could get a silk saree that is made without killing silk worms. Yarn for a silk saree is usually produced by throwing live cocoons of silkworm into boiling water. A single saree needs up to 50,000 cocoons. Rajaiah allows the moth to escape from the cocoon by waiting for 7-10 days and then uses the shells to produce yarn."

Eagerly waiting for this new technique to spread!

Silkki, silkin valmistus

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