After cocoons have been partially degummed, the fibres are expanded and stretched over a piece of bamboo, bent into an arch shape. Hand spinners use this sort of fibre to make yarn.
Photo: Silkworm cocoon
The process of removing natural gum or sericin from silk goods or yarns by boiling in soap solution.
A unit of measure by which silk yarn is weighed and its fineness calculated.
Silk formed by two worms united to spin a single cocoon which is therefore composed of two filaments. They may be reeled into a coarse slubby yarn which is used in the manufacture of pongee, shantung, douppion and other textured silks.
Eri (or Endi):
The common name of the Samia ricina caterpillar which eats the leaves of the castor plant (ricinus communis) or kesseru (heteropanax fragrans). This is a semi-domestic silk producing caterpillar reared in Assam, India. The silk is white in colour, with a semi-matt finish.
An establishment for the production of raw (reeled) silk from cocoons.
Gum (or sericin): A protein material that coats the filaments of raw silk as it is extruded from the silkworms body. This gum bonds the filaments of silk together and aids in the formation of the cocoon. During silk manufacture, the gum is useful as a natural sizing in weaving.
H - Z
After cocoons have been partially degummed, the fibres are expanded and stretched by hand over a frame forming approximate 10" squares. Handspinners use this form of fibre to made yarn.
The common name of the Antherea assama caterpillar which eats the leaves of the Som tree (machilus bombycine) or Soalu (litsaea polyantha). This is a wild caterpillar reared in Assam, India. The silk produced is golden in colour.
Common name of the Morus alba tree, which is the sole food of the Bombyx mori silk producing caterpillar.
Photo: A series of cocoons
This refers to any spun silk yarns (ie: not reeled) which had been degummed by a lengthy and very smelly fermentation process.
The peculiar scrunching or rustling sound silk acquires when treated with certain organic acids (acetic and formic).
A fabric woven with different coloured warp and weft thread so as to make a tinted or iridescent appearance.
Tussah (or Tasar, Tussore):
A wild silk of the Antherea mylitta caterpillar which eats the leaves of the Arjun tree (terminalia arjun), Asan (terminalia tomentosa) or Oak (querus). This caterpillar is raised in the forested regions of China, Korea and India. The silk is honey beige colour.
The practice formerly used to compensate for the loss of the sericin weight during silk processing. Usually done with tin salts. This caused the fabric to be brittle and wear badly.