Making silk and Tom McCarthy’s “C”.

One of the books I’m reading right now is Tom McCarthy’s third novel, “C“, and one of the early scenes describes silk being made as it was made back before mechanization and industrialization. This artisanal process isn’t entirely lost to the modern age.

“I breed the silkworm moths in late summer and put the eggs in a refrigerator in winter. Then in spring I take the eggs out and babies hatch,” he said. “In a month they grow from 1 mm long to 12 cm, and they start to make cocoons. From those cocoons I make different threads.”

However, silkworms are so gluttonous that he has to feed them several times a day — and they eat only mulberry leaves.

“I usually raise 5,000 worms at a time, and they need a small truck full of mulberry leaves each day, so I have to work the whole day,” he said, explaining that he has 300 mulberry trees in a field a 15-minute drive from his house.

News photo

(via Boing Boing)