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Topic: Making Mawata  (Read 3548 times)
Tags for this thread: mawata , silk , handspun , craftster_best_of_2013  Add new tag
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Belladune
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« on: December 01, 2013 09:14:43 AM »

If you are vegan, please click out of here. You are likely to find this rather offensive.

 Or if you are squeamish, or find dead bugs just as or more gross then live ones, don't scroll all the way through, though I will mark the one image as mature, just incase you have your settings set that way you won't see it.
 BAHH! It won't let me edit out that code error! grrr.  That image is not marked as mature yet. Just on't scroll to the very bottom if you don't want to see it!  Thanks for fixing it, Sweets4ever!


This is a photo journal type post of what one could do with silk cocoons

Let it begin!! Hubby had a handy dandy thermometer for me to borrow, so that i could make sure my pot never got above 65'c.

The making of silk mawata! by SpinHeartSpin, on Flickr

Into the pot! Silk cocoons float, so I grabbed a broken strainer, thinking it would keep them under the water. Apparently they are buoyant enough to lift it....  So I grabbed another small pot and laid it atop to strainer.

The making of silk mawata! by SpinHeartSpin, on Flickr


The making of silk mawata! by SpinHeartSpin, on Flickr

After 40 minutes of cooking these bad boys, I decided they were done.  They say until they become transparent, but they were super soft, so I didn't wait any longer.

The making of silk mawata! by SpinHeartSpin, on Flickr

You cut an end and pull it over the four corners of a frame, which makes the mawata!

The making of silk mawata! by SpinHeartSpin, on Flickr

And this is the pic you may not appreciate, and I've marked it as mature, but it's an undeniable part of the process. Truth of it is that silk comes from silk worms. More often then not these creatures need to have their lives taken in order to harvest the silk.  It's an unfortunate part of the silk industry. This is what comes out of the cocoons, dead bugs and bug poop. Yes. Poop.  they did just eat so many more times their weight in mulberry leaves, after all.
 
to change your image viewing settings please click here


And there you have it!  They are drying on the frame as we speak.  I'll be spinning up a sample of them as part of my Master Spinners study. Once that's done, I'll add it to this thread!

FURTHER FUN WITH MAWATA!! The spinning part! (edit added Dec 8th 2013)


Working further with the Mawata (or hankies, as they are also referred to as)
So, the layers peel apart, each cocoon is one layer.  In this shot I have 2 pieces peeled, which each have quite a few cocoons, which in were further separated when I did the next step.

Silk mawata progress by SpinHeartSpin, on Flickr

The next step I didn't photograph, simply because I do not have a photographer following me around.  Unfortunate, no?  But the next step is to take 1 or 2 layers and stick your hands through the middle and pull outwards.  The fibres then elongate and turn into a roving of sorts, which looks like this:

Silk mawata progress by SpinHeartSpin, on Flickr

I spun up two bobbins worth, both looked like this:

Silk mawata progress by SpinHeartSpin, on Flickr

I was interrupted by the cat, who'd had enough time alone, and really really really needed my love *right.then.* Notice the bits of silk on her whisker...

Silk mawata progress by SpinHeartSpin, on Flickr

dump the cat and trudge on, because these things are *not* fun to spin.  At least not as fun as commercial hankies.  It's nearly impossible to get a decently even yarn out of them.  But here it is:

Silk yarn from homemade mawata by SpinHeartSpin, on Flickr
and

Silk yarn from homemade mawata by SpinHeartSpin, on Flickr

And this is the "waste" (in quotes, because it's good for textured funky batts, but not much else... paper making or compost maybe?)

"Waste" from homemade silk mawata by SpinHeartSpin, on Flickr

So.  I did go and weigh the whole shebang, it was 8 grams. That includes the waste and the yarn and the extra one I had to set aside to turn in for homework. I ended up with a whopping 23 yards of yarn.  So, starting with 48 cocoons, that's what I got. And I think I wasted 6 cocoons completely, but they were so yucky looking(very dark with poo and bug yuck)I didn't want to do more then think of opening them. I'm sure the silk would have been no good anyway.


And that's pretty much the end of the story!! Of course one could knit it all up, but not for this wee bit, and not this project.

 Thanks for looking!
« Last Edit: December 08, 2013 05:41:55 PM by Belladune » THIS ROCKS   Logged

sweets4ever
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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2013 10:24:33 AM »

That's so interesting!!  Thanks for sharing!

I fixed the image coding for you, so it's marked as mature now.
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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2013 11:02:36 AM »

Wow! That is really interesting, Bella! I had no idea how this would even be done. Will you share more of the process as you go along?
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Belladune
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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2013 01:49:31 PM »

Thank you so much, Sweets. No matter what I tried, I could not fix that coding... Something was glitchy.

HSG, I'll share the finished sample. And maybe how one would work with them.  I've managed to get a nearly cobweb weight of 3 ply yarn with these things! They are fun to work with, and it was fun to create my own!
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« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2013 02:48:33 PM »

Wow Bella! You are taking DIY to a whole new level. I had no idea how silk was harvested. Thanks for sharing.
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« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2013 03:15:08 PM »

Are there suppliers for the pods(?) ? Really an aspect of spinning I never even had a clue!
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« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2013 03:52:33 PM »

So is that like Silk hankies? I've seen the cocoons for sale on Ebay before. Where did you get yours? Yay poop!
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2013 04:18:58 AM »

How interesting!
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Belladune
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2013 04:30:56 AM »

HSG, Jexx, You can get silk cocoons just about anywhere you'd find wool, you just have to search for it. I got mine from Larkspur funny farm on Etsy. 
Of course, HSG, they do come pre made, and they are much nicer then mine.
And yes, they are more commonly referred to as Silk Hankies, Jexx.

I thought there may be some folks who'd find this pretty interesting, glad to have shared it!
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2013 07:29:08 AM »

I've heard about this before, but never seen it.  I have an ancestor who "farmed" silk cocoons, spun them, and all that a hundred years ago.  So it's extra interesting to see how it's done.  Thanks so much.
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