Thursday, October 13, 2011

Silk grown and woven under a house

When we were wandering around the village near the Boat Landing we came across a lady offering to sell us silk scarves.  We had seen the weaving looms all around Laos but this was the 1st time we had seen the silkworms being farmed. 
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Under her house she had an in meshed in area baskets and baskets of silk cocoons and eggs waiting to hatch and feed on shredded mulberry leaves
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Knowing nothing about the process we found when we got back to Vientiane the yellow cocoons were genetic – just like eye colours.  In the wild many cocoons are yellow for camouflage but farmers bred to get more white silk.  It’s obviously easier not to have to bleach the yellow ones before applying the colour dyes.  Some information resources about silk-worms are Silkworms for classrooms or About Silkworms
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In many parts of the countryside it is really common to see a loom under a Lao house.
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But this was the first time we had seen the go – to –woe of the whole process.  From growing the cocoons that unravel to be silk thread, the thread being spun and dyed, and the silk being woven into scarves.
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The lady was really good trying to show us what materials were used to make the colour – woods, roots, leaves plant stems...  She had been dying some gentle pink/yellow silk when we visited and to achieve that she used a special wood we were familiar with – we use it to light our barbecue here.
And we bought number of scarves
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