Silk is the soft and bright fiber produced by silkworms. Silkworms produce the fiber in order to spin cocoons for themselves within a thirty days of feding period.
Humans discovered this thousands of years ago, produced yarns out of this fiber, and wove fabrics. Silk is a bright, soft, and elegant animal-produced fiber.
To gain threads in the desired thickness, silk fibers of a certain number of coccons are combined and wound together to unravel the silk. Unraveling silk comprises putting water to boil on wood fire early in the morning, pouring the combed, clean, and flawless coccoons in water which is then 90- 95 °C, and finding their ends with the help of a broom made of persimmon branches. The process of finding cocoons’ ends is carried out both to unravel silk, adn to separate silk fibers which are mixed from the coccoons. These mixed fibers on the cocoons are called schappe. The cocoons whose ends are picked are taken to another cup and the process goes on until they are easy to unravel.
Cocoons whose ends have been found are thrown into unravelling stoves. A thread thickness is obtained by combining around 30- 40 cocoons (Number of coccoons depend on the thickness desired). Silk threads are wound around a wooden reel for one circle, fastened on and rotated around the winder. Each cocoon has around 1400- 1500 filament long silk thread. It is regarded as the longest fiber in the World. The threads rotated around the winder are untwisted in the form of hanks.
Hanks are hung on a long reed for combing out and drying.
Hanks of raw silk become stiff when they are dried, because raw silk fiber is covered with a substance called sericin. The internal layer is called the fibroin, which refer to the proteins of silk cocoons.
Silk should be cleaned from sericin so that it obtains its own brightness, whiteness, and softness. When the silk is in the form of threads, boiling and dying could be made. However, it is preferred more after weaving, since sericin produces a cover to protect the fibroin, which protects the fibre against mechanical impacts during thread-producing and weaving. Boiling process is made for a minimum 2 hours using water with ash, and oil and laurel soaps. The time depends upon the type and amount of the product. When the sericin is cleaned from silk products, the product recovers its White-cream color, perfect brightness, and gloriously soft touch.