More of the Tiny Masters

These are some shots from the silkworm adventure.

This is when they were tiny and cute.

Then,

And once they get big, they can really chow down.

Within just minutes, they will reduce this leaf to mere veins….

kind of like

vegetarian piranha.

9 replies
  1. admin
    admin says:

    I’ll try to get some more shots….

    It’s a long and relatively involved process, but the end result is silk thread.

    Right now, they’re almost all in their cocoons. They have a little “silkworm city” made of twigs and little pieces of shelving, and they crawl all over it until they find the perfect spot, and spend two to four days spinning a cocoon. They pupate for two weeks or so. Some of them will be allowed to eclode (hatch out into moths) and breed and lay eggs. The majority of them are stifled (killed by heating) so that the silk can be reeled off. I use silk in my soap, too, although so far haven’t done any with my hand-made silk. At this point, I’ve only manufactured enough silk to sew on a couple of buttons. It takes a LOT of work. I have about half enough cocoons to make a shirt; it takes something like 3,000. I’ll probably end up using it in some brocaded ribbon work.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Wholly cow guy! That is simply fabulous.
    I almost went and woke up Sindra to look at it (and she’da killed me).

    I hope that you drop by Kingdom A&S just to show off.

  3. admin
    admin says:

    No Kingdom A&S for me…

    I’ve been out of it for so long… I’d need to do a whole bunch of new stuff, ’cause all the old stuff has been “seen.” If I do get back into it, tho, I imagine that the silkwormery would be the next project I’d do for A&S.

    I need to take some more shots – I’ve currently got “Silkworm City,” a big pile of twigs and such for the cocoons – all full of the little white peanuts of their spinning. It’ll be moth time starting in about a week. I want to photo the cocoons themselves in their habitat, the moths, and then the reeling process. I’m bidding on a reel on Ebay – those things are damnably hard to find for anything like a reasonable price! I finally figured out that they exist on Ebay and other sites, they’re just referred to as “winders” instead of “reels” most of the time.
    shows one being used in China; is one that I’m bidding on at Ebay. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to see a combination of those two pictures soon, with me sitting and reeling silk from lil’ cocoons. I reeled some year before last, using a rigged-up contraption made from a plastic cannister and the base of an antique hand-crank meat grinder; it wasn’t exactly the most conducive to getting lots of silk reeled. I have several little rolls of fiber, and a few finished, dyed thread sets – enough to brocade in a few figures on ribbon, but not much more than that.

  4. loveisagypsy
    loveisagypsy says:

    Re: I’ll try to get some more shots….

    What do you do with those ribbons? My best friend is a flamingo addict 🙁

    I know this will sound stupid, but are they like pets? How long do they live? I was just wondering if they had a purpose outside work and of course the cool sounds they make.

  5. nadalia
    nadalia says:

    Wow.

    I am very amazed. I had no idea you bred silk worms. That is pretty kewl. I bet it will be wonderful in some of your already superb soaps.

  6. admin
    admin says:

    Well….

    You can definitely hear them. You can hear them when you open the door to their room; a soft pattering that sounds like rain. The one source that I found with a definitive answer, said that it was actually the sound of their little feet opening and closing on the leaves. But they definitely do make a slight “skritch-skritch” noise with their jaws – I’ve gotten down very close and listened.

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