Friday, May 2, 2014

Silk Factory- Beijing, China {day 3- journey to Ruby Mei}

I took a couple of pictures out the window of the van on the way to the silk factory.  There are more apartment buildings in Beijing than I ever thought possible.  The population is staggering.

Life cycle of a silk worm:
The silk is from the cocoon of the silk worm- it is spun in one continuous strand and measures 1- 1.5km long(nearly a mile!).

As the silkworm prepares to pupate, it spins a protective cocoon. About the size and color of a cotton ball. If the silkworm were allowed to mature and break through the cocoon, the silk would be rendered useless for commercial purposes. So the encased insect is plunged into boiling water to kill the inhabitant and dissolve the glue holding the cocoon together. The end of the silk is then located and the cocoon unwound onto a spindle to be made into thread.

The silk has to be unwound from the cocoon- either by hand or by machine.  Then many strands have to be twisted together to form one single piece of silk thick enough for making things.
Here is what the pupa looks like after the cocoon is removed.

Here is layers of cocoons just stretched out instead of unwound- it is turned into a comforter.

And here is a loom!

We learned a lot here and it was extremely interesting.  The kids really enjoyed it.  We then walked next door to a delicious lunch- it was actually one of our favorite meals in Beijing!

No comments:

Post a Comment