Gypsy's Travels


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wordful Wednesday - Thai Silk

I guess these need a little explanation....

These photos were taken about 1969 in Thailand. The top photo shows a room full of young women sitting on the floor winding the silk threads used in making lengths of Thai silk fabric.

Silkworm cocoons are gathered and placed in a boiling cauldron. The pupa is removed and three or four fibers are gathered together and attached to an overhead roller. Northeasterners are particularly fond of this stage of the process, as the boiled pupa is savored as a tasty delicacy; it tastes like corn and is very rich in protein.
The silk fibers are slowly unraveled from the cocoons, wound onto wooden spindles, and then spun into thread or yarn. The silk fiber of Thailand's silkworms is a natural gold in color, and one cocoon consists of a single fiber that is often as long as 500 meters.
At this stage, the silk yarn is washed and bleached until it is creamy white, and is then ready to be dyed any color. Originally, only vegetable dyes were used, but the Thais' love of vivid colors soon led to the use of synthetic dyes, which are colorfast and more permanent than vegetable dyes. After this, the threads are washed and stretched, and when dry are
wound onto drums ready for the weavers.

The bottom one shows beautiful blue fabric drying in the sun after coming from the dye bath. This may be cotton fabric.
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6 comments:

  1. Very interesting. I've never seen that before. :D

    Happy WW!

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  2. When I was in the Far East, cloth was dyed in the local river and dried on the rocks or plants on the river banks. Of course it wasn't silk but cotton and made for a very bright and colorful scene.

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  3. Were you riding in a surrie?

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  4. I think we were in a boat on the canal....klong?

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  5. I never knew that about silk either! You commentary is as interesting as the photos.

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