By: Rex Freiberger

When you brush a piece of Thai silk against your face, your senses will purr with the softness of this most unique and popular fabric. Some silk producers rely on heavy machinery and an assembly line to produce the silk products you see today. In Thailand, the tradition of silk production is marked by many years of hard-earned pride, skill and style. Hand woven silk products offer a quality that is much better and of a higher standard to items created through machines.

Silk: The Legend

Legend has it that the Empress Si Ling Chi of China was the first to discover silk. It is said that while she sipped a cup of tea underneath a mulberry tree, a cocoon fell from above and into her teacup. As she tried to extract the cocoon from her cup, a very fine thread began to unravel from the pod. Soon, silk was regarded as a status symbol and kept a secret for many years. It was also a crime to even pass on silkworm eggs or cocoons for fear that their treasured thread would be revealed. Although evidence supports silk cloth production during the ancient times of Thailand, it is still a little hazy on how it came to be.

Thai Silk

The most respected reputation in silk production has been earned by Thailand, which is known for producing the finest silk in the world. Although other countries, such as Italy and China also produce silk, Thai silk is rather distinct and highly impressive. The hand woven silk from Thailand feels fine to the touch, yet still retains an earthy quality. Throughout the years, Thais have perfected a number of weaving techniques and processes, which produce a variety of weights, patterns and designs.

Silk Production Process

The process of hand woven silk production is one that requires patience. A weaver usually has the capacity to create close to only four meters of material in one day of work. With that piece of information, you should definitely value your authentic silk products even more! First, the raw silk yarn is extracted from the silk cocoon. It is then prepared for a dye job. The yarn is then treated, boiled and eventually dyed. Once dying is complete, the silk yarn is then dried before it is spun on wooden spindles. The weaving of the silk yarn is the final step. Depending on where the silk was produced, you will encounter a wide-range of styles and colors, such as the iridescent variety from Korat or Surin.

The Many Uses For Thai Silk

Although silk is often connected to clothing, there are many different uses for Thai silk you probably werent even aware of. For starters, it is highly unlikely that youve ever tied the material to the clothing worn by astronauts. It is also used to produce carpets, sewing thread, typewriter ribbons, as well as fishing lines. Lets not forget all of the wonderful places you will encounter silk on the home front. Silk table sheets for the dining room add softness to the room. Many bedrooms display a silk bed spread, blanket, sheets or matching pillows. Silk curtains and other home accessories can really add flair to any room in the home.

How to Care For Your Silk Products

When you want to ensure the life of your silk product, you should know how to properly take care of this type of material. To clean your silk products, they should be hand washed. For a colorful cloth, it is suggested to soak in salt water for the first cleaning. When ironing, the setting should be warm.


Interesting Facts About Silk Production

1) Did you know that the silkworm isnt really a worm at all, but is actually a caterpillar?

2) Did you know that one cocoon holds a single fiber measuring 500 meters long?

3) Did you know that the natural color of the silk fiber from Thailand silkworms is gold?

Thai silk is something that can be enjoyed by all and if taken care of, it can last more than a hundred years. There's a reason why: its the only silk still hand pressed and its beauty and texture is recognized for this reason.

About the author:

You can learn more about Thai Silk Fabric at Rex's handmade handbag site, SiamSensibilities. He sells handbags and accessories made from Thailand's indigenous materials--silk, hyacinth, leather or hemp--at budget friendly prices. Visit http://www.siamsensibilities.com for your next unique handmade purchase.


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