So today was the big day. Time to stifle the cocoons. I know- some of you are squeamish about this so perhaps you want to click away to the kittens right NOW!
Turns out I have about 800 cocoons-actually 794 to be precise. Since I didn’t order the eggs but used my own from the last rearing I wasn’t sure. I guessed around 1000. Not a bad guess as you lose a few along the way.
There are a preponderance of yellow cocoons so apparently most of the eggs were from the reverse silkworms. This year, I separated out a few of the best cocoons into two separate boxes for mating purposes in case I want to do this again next year in a more controlled manner. Last year it was pretty much an inter-racial silk moth sex party.
I also saved out a few cocoons for more fresh reeling. I need to get to these tomorrow before they emerge.
So, continuing on, it was time to stifle the cocoons so they can be stored and used later. I used Michael Cook’s instructions as before for this which involves drying them out in a low oven over a couple of drying sessions. A little toast (no, not that kind) was made in their honor (coffee, mind you as it was morning) and the drying is in progress.
Just so you know, once the moths emerge, they will live for about 10 days (they do not eat during this time as they have no system for this) mating and laying eggs (female only of course) and then they die. Left to their own, the eggs will hatch (500 per female!!) and if not fed they too will die. So it’s a service they do for us- to create cocoons which then we can harvest and use. If you want some eggs, let me know.
Also , I have been playing with the cocoons a bit-
Also, the pocket squares for the London wedding are completed and ready to ship tomorrow, the mandala class is now tying their mandalas, and other orders accumulated while I was away are ready to ship out. I had to catch up on a little indigo today as well and I have to say the fermentation vat is just stellar right now.
To order solid shade hand dyed indigo cotton, go here.
For other indigo items, try here. I just restocked some of the items.
Next up on the “to do” list- making silk shibori ribbon, silk reeling, and mawata making practice, and of course indigo dyeing on some really great fabrics I brought back with me to try.