I’ve been meaning to do a little post about this for a week or so now. Ribbon dyeing has kept me at the dyepot and the flower sewing table.
Here is how it ended (badly):
It started by my wondering why I needed to peel the cocoons before cooking them to soften the sericin before making mawata. The silkworms spin a loose hammock of silk in which to suspend the cocoons and each cocoon has a beautiful halo (kibisu) of this silk. Seemed a waste to peel it off. Why not just leave it and add to the mawata? Sometimes wondering leads you astray as it did here.
After cooking the cocoons, they became hopelessly tangled with each other and when trying to separate them they proved impossible. I soaked them longer, I spun some of it directly from the water (interesting) but in the end most was relegated to the compost pile.
So I learned that yes, peeling the cocoons is best when making mawata. Most people are not facing this issue as they are buying commercial cocoons where the outer silk has already been mechanically removed. Live and learn.
It did lead me to wonder about wet spinning directly from cocoons though…
Update on the silkmoths-
There are a few still here but most are gone and I have been collecting and storing eggs for next year.
And, I have been peeling the cocoons and using the silk as batting for the shibori leaves and flowers.
And a new flower style-