Man has always loved this splendid fiber of unparalleled grandeur from the moment the Chinese Empress Shiling Ti discovered it in her tea cup. It has stood the test of time and is the reigning queen even today. Sericulture is an ancient science, and the modern age has not brought any great change to silk manufacturing. Some qualities of silk are not possible for man to make. Polyester or nylon, are not equal to silk! Recent researches have been focused on examining the molecular structure of silk as it emerges from the silkworm, in order to understand how new, stronger artificial fibers can be made. Silk spun by the silkworm starts out as a liquid secretion. The liquid passes through a brief interim state with a semi-ordered molecular structure known as a liquid crystal, before it solidifies into a fiber. Scientists have been able to manufacture durable fibers using liquid crystal source material, but only at high temperatures researchers are continuing to study the silkworm to determine how the liquid crystal is transformed into the fiber at ordinary temperature.
Chemically speaking, silk is made of proteins secreted in the fluid state by a caterpillar or the silkworm. These silkworms feed on the selected food plants and spin cocoons as a ‘protective shell’ to perpetuate the life. Silkworm has four stages of life: egg, caterpillar, pupa and moth. They are fed leaves, and, after 120 days, a twig placed near them to spin their cocoon a dense fluid secreted from the worms structural glands, results in the fiber of the cocoon. The silk is a continuous filament of protein secreted from the salivary glands in the head of each larva and gum, sericin cements the filaments. The Sericin is removed by placing the cocoons in hot water, which frees the silk filaments and prepares them for reeling. This is known as the degumming process. Single filaments are combined to form the yarn, which is drawn under tension and wound onto reels. After drying, the raw silk is packed according to quality. The silk produced by other insects, mainly spiders, is used in a small number of other commercial applications, for example, weapons, telescopes, and other optical instruments.
The Silk Thread
Silk thread is also called yarn. It is formed by throwing, or twisting, the reeled silk. First, the skeins of raw silk are categorized by color, size, and quantity. Next, they are soaked in warm water mixed with oil to soften the sericin. The silk is then dried. Then the silk filaments are reeled onto bobbins, they are twisted in a particular manner to achieve a certain texture of the yarn.
For instance, singles are several filaments which are twisted together in one direction; they are turned tightly for sheer fabrics and loosely for thicker fabrics. Combinations of singles and untwisted fibers may be twisted together in certain patterns to achieve desired textures of fabrics such as crepe de chine or voile. In general, organzine thread is used for the warp threads of materials, tram threads for the weft or filling, crepe thread for weaving crinkly fabrics and a single thread for sheer fabrics. Broken or waste filaments and damaged cocoons are retained, treated to remove the sericin, and combed. This is then processed into yarn, marketed as spun silk, which is inferior in character to the reeled product and much cheaper. The silk yarn is put through rollers to make the width more uniform. The yarn is inspected, weighed, and packaged. Finally, the yarn is shipped to fabric manufacturers. The yarn reaches our weavers and then they use their tana bana to create hand woven beauties which we love and treasure. Shatika is famed to be the only online saree house, which can boast of authentic handwoven silk cotton sarees. We have sarees from each part of India.
India is the second largest producer of silk and also the largest consumer of silk in the world. It has a strong tradition and culture-bound domestic market of silk. In India, mulberry silk is produced mainly in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Jammu & Kashmir and West Bengal, while the non-mulberry silks are produced in Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Orissa and north-eastern states. Silk is one shimmer, which women cannot do without!
Check out Pure Silk Sarees from different region in India at Shatika !