Silk from Worms?
Can you imagine that a beautiful fabric like silk was produced by worms?
WHERE DOES ‘SILK’ COME FROM?
Silk is a natural protein fiber, usually woven into textiles, mostly obtained from cocoons made by the larvae of the mulberry silkworm. The worm is killed, and the cocoon unwound into a single thread. They are called mulberry silk worms because they feed off mulberry leaves.
Many cocoons would have to be unwound to get lots of threads. That is why silk is one of the most expensive fabrics.
"Wild silks" are produced by caterpillars other than the mulberry silkworm and cannot be artificially cultivated. Cocoons gathered in the wild are usually damaged when the moth wants to emerge, so by the time the cocoon is unraveled, the threads are shorter because of the damage.
Silkworms are killed by dipping them in boiling water before the adult moths emerge, to avoid shorter threads for better commercial value.
The worms could also be pierced with a needle, to allow the whole cocoon to be unraveled as one continuous thread. This permits a much stronger cloth to be woven from the silk.
Wild silks are more difficult to dye than silk from the cultivated silkworm.