History Of Silk
A Time-Tested, Natural Fabric
Silk is a protein fiber harvested from the cocoon of the silkworm caterpillar (Bombyx mori). Silkworms feed on mulberry leaves. When the silkworms are about 35 days old they are 10,000 times heavier than when they hatched. A silkworm spins approximately one mile of filament, completely enclosing itself in a cocoon. Silk batting is obtained by stretching numerous cocoons into broad, thin sheets.
Legend has it that silk was discovered in 2640 BC by the Chinese princess Hsi Ling Shi. It is said she dropped a silkworm cocoon into a cup of tea; when she removed it, it emerged as a single thread. Harvesting silk still uses this principle of softening the natural sericin adhesive in boiling water. Over 30 countries produce silk, but China produces roughly half the world's supply.
Silk fibers are the lightest of all natural fibers. Comforters made with silk are both lightweight and incredibly warm. Silk is a natural insulator and breathes very well, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Silk fiber is lustrous, smooth, supple, lightweight, elastic, and strong. In fact, silk fiber is so resilient that it will stretch by up to 20% without damage. Silk resists mildews, molds, and rots that attack other fibers.
White Loft comforters are made with time-honored, traditional techniques.
- The cocoons are cleaned, steamed, and submerged in boiling water to soften the natural sericin adhesive that binds the thread together.
- One by one, the cocoons are stretched by hand, first over a curved bamboo frame and then between two workers, to form large sheets of silk.
- Thousands of cocoons of silk are layered together to form a lightweight batting that will not bunch or shift.