Silk Preparation

De-gumming Recipe

 

This recipe is for 100 cocoons, if you have less, halve the recipe and only use enough solution to ensure your

cocoons are floating and covered by the solution.

 

Ingredients

 

1/2 cup of biodegradable liquid soap (Dr Bronners liquid soap is fantastic AND organic)

 

1/4 cup bicarbonate soda

 

1.5 litres of pure clear water

 

Method

 

Combine soap, bicarb and water well, place in a large stainless steel pot and heat gently till solution is

steaming/gently simmering but not boiling, maintain this temperature, do not allow solution to boil as it will tangle the

silk.

 

Add cocoons (trimmed and with contents removed) use a clean wooden spoon to help immerse them in the solution

but DO NOT STIR as your silk will become a lump of tangled fibres!

 

Simmer for approx 30-45 minutes

 

When the cocoons have degummed successfully they will fluff out in the solution, if you remove one and rinse it under

running water, it should come up white with no trace of yellow Sericin left in the fibre.

 

Carefully pour off the solution and rinse with pure water, it takes a lot of rinsing, so continue until there is no trace of

soap left in the silk.

 

When the silk is completely rinsed leave it floating in a few inches of water and add a few capfulls of organic vinegar,

leave this to sit for half an hour. The purpose of this is to make the silk slightly acid. Silk that is alkaline will deteriorate.

When there is enough acid present the silk will squeak when squeezed or pressed. This is called ‘scroop’.

 

Rinse again and squeeze gently to remove water, hang in an shady airy place to dry, this can take up to 24 hours.

 

For spinning, pull out and fluff up a cocoon and draft to desired thickness, then spin!

 

Cocoon Cleaning Instructions

 

Using a clean sharp pair of nail scissors take a cocoon and trim around the emergence hole at the end, neatly

snipping off the rim of silk in a circular motion, only cut off the few millimeters damaged by the moths saliva. Next use

the tip of the scissors to scoop out the worm and pupa skins and lastly shake out any flakes. Repeat for all cocoons

before degumming.