15 March 2013

Homemade Silk


I'm raising silkworm (Bombyx mori) so I can reel silk and make my own silk thread, perhaps to ply with other fibers I plan to spin. Growing silkworm is surprisingly approachable--let the tiny eggs hatch in their petri dish, put them in a plastic tub with some added heat, and feed them rehydrated powdered silkworm food until they get big enough to make cocoons!

Bottom of the plant shelf
At the bottom of the plant shelf, the two 34-quart plastic tubs on the bottom hold my silkworms. They each have a seed-starting heat mat underneath to give the silkworms the extra warmth they'd like. The right two trays on the shelf above have vegetable seedlings for this year's garden, also with heat mats underneath. The left two trays have various gesneriads at various stages of propagation.

Luckily the silkworm don't need light like the plants do. There's plenty of competition already for the space I have available under the lights.

Silkworms (Bombyx mori) caterpillars, dried food remains, and poo
The caterpillars, dried food remains, and poo. Silkworms poo a lot. You can see the seed-starting heat mat through the bottom of the plastic tub (the black and green thing).

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A closeup.

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Silkworms and cocoons in the corner.

Silkworm (Bombyx mori) cocoon
A single cocoon in the plastic tub handle area. So white and pure! I wonder whether I should dye the silk, and with what? The woad I grew and processed last year?

I'll have to slowly bake the cocoons at a low temperature to prepare them for storage until I'm ready to reel the silk--reeling isn't something to start without a large stash of cocoons ready!

2 comments:

OK. What's next? Are you growing grass in your apartment yet for your heard of Swiss dairy cows to make gruyere cheese?
Can't wait to see what happens with the silk: a silk cotton blend for the summer?
Ray

I've been told by my hobby-enabler that a Baby Doll Southdown flock is in my future. I think I'll probably wait a bit

I'm debating what to do with the silk! I might do a couple different things and a few different blends to see what I like best!

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