Silk fibre produced from the cocoon comes with a coating referred to as sericin or silk gum. This silk gum is stiff and dull, and has a matte surface and rough finish. It is easily distinguished from the other types of silk from the subtle flecks on it which are natural particles of the cocoon. It is off white in colour.
Silk made from wild silkworms is called tussah silk. The natural colour of this silk is usually shades of pale beige, brown and gray as against the pure white. It is generally a little rougher than cultivated silk.
REELED SILK OR THROWN SILK:
This is the term used for silk fibre that is unbound from the silkworm cocoon. It is the finest silk and is very strong and shiny.
This silk is made from broken cocoon. The short fibres feel more like cotton to touch.
While yarns are prepared to be weaved they are boiled in a solution of soap to remove the sericin or natural silk gum. This silk loses 20 to 30% of its original weight. As silk has a great affinity to metal salts such as tin and iron are absorbed and the weight increases. Thus a heavier fabric is made at a lower price than that of pure silk.
Also called mulberry silk, Bombyxmori silk is produced by domesticated silk worms raised on a diet of mulberry leaves and reared indoors. This silk is exclusively softer, finer and very lustrous. This silk comes in shades of white. It is the most superior quality silk. Most of the common silk produced in the world comes from this variety of silks. Silk generally means mulberry silk.
If the natural gum or sericin is removed from the silk and no further material is added to increase the weight of the fibre without any metallic weighing, it is called the pure silk. Pure silk is soft and possess fine lustre.
This is a traditional silk which has a shimmering satin weave. The back of the fabric is a flattened crepe.
CREPE DE CHINE:
A lightweight fabric made of fibres, where part of them are twisted clockwise and others in a counter clockwise direction. These fibres are then woven in a plain weave fabric. The twisted fibres give this silk the “pebbly” look and feel.
This silk is produced from two silk worms that spin a cocoon together. This makes it stronger, but the yarn is rough and irregular. Black specks which occasionally appear in the fabric are part of the original cocoon of the silk worm. These are inherent to the silk and are not defects in weaving. Removing them will weaken the fabric.
A plain weave fabric weighing from 5mm to 12mm. Most scarfs are made from this silk.
It is produced by the caterpillars of Altacusricmi feeding on castor leaves. It is creamy white in colour.
This Assamese silk is obtained from Antheraea Assama feeding on the leaves of som, champa and moyankuri.
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