To become the silk that we know and love, this fiber has a very interesting story.
Silk comes from the cocoon of the Bombyx moth. Before turning into a moth the Bombyx caterpillar spins itself a cocoon of 1000 yards of silky fiber to house itself during the transformation. The caterpillar secretes a substance that is a thin but strong strand of fiber, which is what we know as silk.
In the conventional harvesting of silk the cocoon and caterpillar are boiled before it hatches to produce a continuous thread of silk. Peace silk, also known as Vegetarian silk, or Tussah silk, harvests the cocoons after the moths have hatched. While this is seen as more humane, the process to get the cocoon to become silk as we know is not as simple.
In the conventional production of silk, the boiled cocoon is simply wound onto spools. In the production of Peace silk, the cocoon is spun like other fibers to create yarn. This is because for the moth to emerge from its cocoon, it secretes a chemical to break down a part of the cocoon’s wall to form a hole. The continuous thread of the cocoon is broken once the moth leaves. The chemical also turns the silk a different color than conventional silk. The upside of Peace silk is that it is still just as strong and luxurious as conventional silk.
Tussah silk is also considered vegetarian, but instead of the silk gathered in a commercial setting, the cocoons are harvested from the wild. Their color ranges from beige to brown because the caterpillars eat a more diverse diet.
For something with a little bit more weight Color Song offers a 100% Tussah silk yarn in sport weight that is warm and strong without loosing its luster. Cornflower (pictured) and Popsicle are just a few of their wonderful color ways that they offer on this great looking yarn.
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Image credit: Color Song