China is known around the world for their silk.  For centuries it was their well-kept secret until someone smuggled out silkworms in a hollowed out walking stick.

1.10.06 Chinese Silk

Now, even I know how to make silk.  ;-)

<– this machine spools the silk threads off silk worm cocoons

Did you know that one silk worm can spin a thread of silk that is one mile long?

It’s true!

One thread by itself is strong, but usually 12 of them are put together to form a super strong thread.  This machine keeps the cocoons wet and  spins 12 threads into 1.  Different dyes can be added to the water to make the silk different colors.

Fact:  Royal palaces had a special room, sometimes even an entire building, with the sole purpose of praying for a good silkworm harvest.

<– the white things are the cocoons of silk

To make a blanket with silk lining, the cocoons aren’t spun into individual threads, they are soaked and stretched.  Actually, in the background of this picture on the left you can see 2 white triangles.  First they stretch 7 cocoons onto the small triangle, one at a time, right on top of each other.  Then they take the 7 (now smushed into just 1) and stretch it onto the bigger triangle.  Finally they create 15-20 layers, of the 7-layer stretched cocoons, to eventually stretch into just one layer of silk blanket lining.

They let us help stretch out one of the layers.  Not as easy as you’d think.

Depending on how thick they want to make the blanket lining, anywhere from 50-100 layers will be stretched on top of each other.  This blanket never bunches and doesn’t even need any quilting to hold it in place.  Alot of work goes into making just one blanket.