Silk “Waste?” I Think Not…

Maybe there’s no such thing as “silk waste” when you can truly use every little bit.  Recently I cut apart many silkworm cocoons in order to obtain individual scales for my Silk Dragon sculpture.  There were mounds of leftover trimmings!  Untidy cocoon interiors peeled away.  Domed cap ends too convex to lay flat on a dragon; cut off.  LOTS of bits & cuttings, all nearly discarded.  Then I came to my senses.  What was it I’d read about “waste” silk fiber in a multitude of forms & uses?  Could I rescue useable silk fiber from the leftovers?  I should try to de-gum my silk trimmings!


So into the pot they went…a few heaping handfulls of silk cocoon trimmings,  along with 2 Tablespoons each of Washing Soda and Orvus paste.


I didn’t stir, just sort of nudged the trimmings around.  The water only simmered for about 20 min before the glue-y serecin melted off the cocoons, leaving puffy silk floating around the pot.  After a hot water rinse in the colander, I had this wet mass on the counter.


Patted dry between paper towels & set aside to dry.  The next day I began to pick apart the slightly matted silk ~ which easily fluffed up into silky clouds. Maybe tomorrow I’ll try dyeing the fluff, then layering it into wet-felt projects, or add the silk bits when carding fiber.


All the bits I put into pot.  Simmered, rinsed and dried.  Lovely silk shimmery fluff ready to use.  I’m glad I rescued this “silk waste” instead of tossing away all the trimmings.





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