I have been itching to do a bit of weaving lately. I wound off the warp yesterday and spent today dressing my loom with a fine white wool/silk blend yarn interspersed with random stripes of muga silk.
I thought some of you might enjoy reading a bit about silk……silk is harvested from the cocoons of moth larvae/caterpillars commonly known as silkworms. Moths, like butterflies, are part of a large order of scale-winged insects known as Lepidoptera. The main differences between moths and butterflies are: the mechanics of their wings, the structure of their antennae and the time of day they are most active. The manner in which the wings beat together as a single unit is one of the more prominent differences between these two families of insects. In moths, the wings are physically coupled by a device called a frenulum. In butterflies, the trailing edge of the forewing overlaps the leading edge of the hindwing which in turn helps their wings to operate as a single unit. Moth antennae are usually stout with comb-like edges while those of butterflies are generally slender with clubbed tips. Most moths fly at night. The few species that are active during daylight hours are usually very colourful and, at first glance, easily mistaken for butterflies.
Of the 400 – 500 species of silk-producing moths in the world, only about 9 species produce commercially viable silk filaments. These are separated into two main categories, domesticated and wild silkworms. The silk in the white wool/silk blend yarn is from the domesticated species, Bombyx mori. Bombyx silk is also known as cultivated silk and yields a creamy lustrous white fibre. The muga yarn is from a wild species known as Anteraea assamensis. The muga silk used in this scarf is a beautiful golden beige colour.
I plan to dye the scarf after it has been woven and look forward to the subtle variation in colour that the muga stripes will provide against the white wool/silk ground.
Next post…..August 1st.