Types of Silk
Mulberry Silk: The King
A major portion of the silk produced worldwide comes from this variety. Mulberry comes from silkworm which breeds on the leaves of mulberry plants. In India major mulberry silk production comes from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Jammu and Kashmir, almost 90% of the mulberry silk comes from these regions. Mulberry silk is unique and special because it is the highest quality silk available for purchase. It is more refined than other types of silk. Products made from 100% Mulberry silk are among the most durable and produce the most luxurious silk goods. Mulberry silk contains a natural protein called sericin that reduces the possibility of an allergic reaction hence forming a healthy and safe choice for those with allergies.
Tasar (Tussah) is copperish colour, coarse silk mainly used for furnishings and interiors. It is less lustrous than mulberry silk but has its own feel and appeal. Tasar silk is generated by the silkworm, Antheraea mylitta which mainly thrive on the food plants Asan and Arjun. The rearings are conducted in nature on the trees in the open. In India, tasar silk is mainly produced in the states of Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Orissa, besides Maharashtra, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Tasar culture is the mainstay of many a tribal community in India..
This golden yellow colour silk is prerogative of India and the pride of Assam state. It is obtained from the semi-domesticated multivoltine silkworm, Antheraea assamensis. These silkworms feed on the aromatic leaves of Som and Soalu plants and are reared on trees similar to that of tasar. Muga culture is specific to the state of Assam and an integral part of the tradition and culture of that state. The muga silk, an high-value product is used in products like sarees, mekhalas, chaddars, etc.
Also known as Endi or Errandi, Eri is a multivoltine silk spun from open-ended cocoons, unlike other varieties of silk. Eri silk is the product of the domesticated silkworm, Philosamia ricini that feeds mainly on castor leaves. Ericulture is a household activity practised mainly for protein-rich pupae, a delicacy for the trial. Resultantly, the eri cocoons are open-mouthed and are spun. The silk is used indigenously for preparation of chaddars (wraps) for own use by these tribals. In India, this culture is practised mainly in the north-eastern states and Assam. It is also found in Bihar, West Bengal and Orissa.
The process of Making Silk
Post rearing of silk worm into cocoons by farmers the cocoons are bought to their near silk cocoon markets and auctioned. The silk relers are issued a license and given rights to bid price for the cocoons. Based on quality the rates are determined. Post this reeling of Silk yarn is done by silk relers. Silk relers are entrepreneurs who are in process of deriving silk yarn from cocoons. Silk reeling is the process by which a number of cocoon are reeled together to produce a single thread. This is achieved by unwinding filaments collectively from a group of cooked cocoons at one end in a warm water bath and winding the resultant thread onto a fast moving reel. There are various type of Silk reeling machine which has an impact on the quality of silk yarn they are Charka type, Semi automatic type, Mutli end type and Automatic type. The silk yarn derived using Charka type is known as Charka Silk yarn and the ones derived from semi automatic, Mutli end and Automatic type machine is usually classified as Filature.
On an average, it takes about 6-7 kgs of Silk cocoons to derive 1 kg or Raw Silk. This hugely varies and is dependent on the climatic condition at the time of silk rearing and silk reeling and also on the quality of silk cocoon and the machinery used to reel the silk.
Arun Yarns manufactures various deniers of raw silk yarn ranging from 16-18, 18-20, 20-22, 24-26 and 28-30 using charka, semi automatic and multi end machinery.
Warping and Wefting
Adding twist to silk
Post the process of reeling raw silk from cocoons the raw silk arrives at various silk trading zones majorly located in Banaglore and the manufactures/traders meets the silk relers. Based on demand and supply the silk rates are determined based on the traditional system known as Out Cry system of trading. The raw silk now goes into another process known as twisting warping/wefting. The raw silk first goes through Winding followed by Doubling then twisting and then rewinding into Warp or Hanks form.
Winding: The main functions of the winding are to put the yarn in a long continuous length to suit later processes and also to eliminate imperfections such as slubs, seak places, dirt and so on.
DOUBLING: The object of doubling is to double the individual threads. Doubling avoids unevenness and the strength of doubled yarn is correspondingly better than the single thread.
TWISTING: Silk Twisting machine is of up twister principle. There is a vertical spindle on which doubling bobbin is mounted and yarn from this is wound on to a perforated bobbin mounted horizontally and driven by surface contact. The twist is imparted on account of the difference between the speed of the spindle and winding drum
RE-WINDING: Re-winding machine is practically like winding machine. Its production capacity is more since normally double yarn is wound on this. If a two-ply yarn is re-wound, production rate would be more than two times as compared to winding machine.
WARPING: In silk weaving, normally sectional warping is followed because of the fine denier of silk thread and consequently higher number of ends required. Warping machine mainly consists of two parts (I) Warping creel (ii) warping drum.
Based on the meters required and stiffness of fabric required (measured in reeds) the yards and threads are calculated and warping is customised as per client needs.
Warp and weft are terms for the two basic components used in weaving to turn thread or yarn into fabric. Warp” is a series of threads that run from the front to the back, and “Weft” is a series of threads that run in a pattern through the warp. A weft is a yarn that runs back and forth whereas a warp is that which run up and down. Warp is usually known as a skeleton of the fabric.
Arun Yarns customises the warp based on customer requirements. We supply for use in both handloom and Power loom machinery our warp ranges from 40 yards and goes up to 365 yards. For weft, we are renowned for providing 2ply, 3ply, 4ply and 5ply. We do increase the ply and twists based on client needs.
Adding Colour to the Silk
Before the Silk goes onto the looms to start its journey to become a fabric, it goes into its final process of Dyeing. Silk is comparatively easier to dye and is less sensitive to temperature. However, there is always a risk of damage of silk filaments during dyeing and the dyeing on the damaged material may apparently look like faulty dyeing. Also due to the cost of silk being very high one must take at most care while dyeing the yarn. Silk can be dyed using two processes, one being the basic process where silk is dyed without degumming and one with degumming. Degumming is the process of removing the sericin, or silk gum, from silk. Removing the gum improves the sheen, colour, hand, and texture of the silk. Because the gum can serve as a protective layer, it is typically left on the silk until it is ready to dye. Due to degumming, there is a natural loss of weight in silk which ranges from 20% to 30%, this usually depends on the quality of silk the better the quality the lesser the loss. Major fabric like silk sarees is made from degummed silk.