Silk Thread for Belvet Design

“And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street” Silk
“by Dr. Seuss” Reillet

 Mulberry Silk

Some crochet patterns shout for special yarn and what could be more special than silk?  Silk (from the Chinese Si’) is a natural protein fiber produced by spiders and moths. Hagfish also emit a type of thread fiber, which they release in the form of slime when threatened. While spiders manufacture seven different types of silk, moths produce only one. Of these various silks, only certain types can be woven into textiles, mainly the larvae cocoons of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori, a domesticated, sericultured and genetically altered species whose sole food source is mulberry leaves.

The earliest example of silk textile was found in China, where the fabric was first developed. It dates to 3630 BC and sadly, was used in the funerary wrappings of a child. Prior to this date, an ivory basin, also found in China, dated to 4900 BC; it contains carvings of silk moths. China remains the top producer of silk textiles with India leading the remaining sources at 1/3 the production rate of China.

Similar to the cultivation of saffron spice; wherein vast fields produce only a finite quantity, silk retains its market value due to its limited quantity and labor intensive process. Twentieth Century attempts to produce a synthetic silk resulted in the 1930’s discovery of nylon polymer.

Belvet Black Flowers Bouquet

Belvet, in Black

This Irish Crochet Motif was designed by Belvet. It’s titled “Black Flowers Bouquet” and available for purchase on Ravelry. Victoria’s style here is Arabesque and among the finest of modern design. To purchase this pattern:  http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/black-flower-bouquet

For the Belvet project I’m using 100% pure Mulberry Queen Silk that I’ve been saving for a special occasion. It’s a lace weight thread in cone form. I purchased this in coral, sage and white. The texture is wonderful to work with and the sheen appears to glow at various angles. Crocheted with steel hooks ranging from 6 to 12, I plan to use my finished piece as an applique for a favorite cashmere sweater; also made in China.

H IRLAND

Helga Irland, in Blue, 2009

4 thoughts on “Silk Thread for Belvet Design

  1. Thanks for including some historical context in your post. It made for an interesting read. The crochet looks very intricate as well. Very nice!

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