Tonight’s adventure in silk management… making mawatas – silk hankies!
This is the cocoon after it comes out of the simmering degumming solution. It’s in a little crock pot for about an hour, in a special mix of water, Rodin powder, Orvus paste, and washing soda.
I wiggle the end open, without breaking or cutting the fibers, and take the bug out.
This is what comes out – each one gives up a dead pupa, and a piece of caterpillar skin.
Then, I begin to stretch out and attenuate the cocoon. I can’t show the part where I hook one corner on a post sticking out of the frame, then spread it out to hook on all the other posts, because I’m taking these pictures myself and it’s a two-handed operation.
Here’s a stack of about a dozen cocoons that I’ve spread out on the frame, one on top another.
This is a side view; you can see the thickness it builds up.
This is a single mawata, after it’s dried. The patch that didn’t spread out smoothly is the cradle – the last bit of silk that the worm spun before changing its skin inside the cocoon. My mawatas aren’t quite as smoothly spread out as the commercial version, but they’ve been improving consistently, so I imagine it’s just a practice issue.