Thursday 17 April 2014

Nepalese Silk - Handspun & Zaguri

Silk is a natural fibre that we have been working with for some years now, but we are pleased to say that all of the silk we now work with comes from silkworms reared and spun in Nepal. We'd like to keep our sourcing and production within Nepal and rely less on fibres brought into the country, namely from China and India.

The image above shows the cocoons of bivoltine silk worms (worms having two broods a year). The worms have been removed to keep silk purity to a maximum. These silk worms are found in sub-tropical hilly regions and are said to be higher in quality than the multivoltine silk worms found in tropical regions.

The empty cocoons are washed in hot water and made ready for hand spinning. The image below shows a lady creating a handspun yarn with a pedal powered wheel. The organisation we work with was established to promote Nepalese silk and also uplift the economic status of the many women employed in the various regions throughout Nepal.

Sericulture and silk production are relatively new to Nepal, but a valuable sector for organic and sustainable development and more than worthy of our support. We are delighted to add a handspun undyed silk yarn to our craft materials available on our stall and also online in the coming weeks. The silk yarn is available in 50g balls. The image below shows a scarf that has been loosely woven from handspun Nepalese silk.

The final image shows what we know as 'zaguri' silk.
Zaguri is a spinning process (originating in Kozuke, a silk-producing area of Japan) where the cocoon is left intact so a continuous individual filament can be extracted. Depending on the denier of the silk thread being reeled, the craftsperson would take multiple filaments from different cocoons to produce an even thread. The zaguri silk thread in the image has been made up from  fifty filaments.