Guilt Free With Organic Silk
Confused about organic silk…and silk terms in general? Well, don’t feel bad. I was too, so I spent hours unraveling the differences…
Silk has a 3000 year history and has to be one of the most amazing and most beautiful of all of earth's fibers.
It is created by the protein secretions of silkworms which solidify to create the cocoon fibers. If you were to compare fiber by fiber, this remarkable natural creation is stronger than steel.
There is no question that organic silk production is the more environmentally friendly, non-violent and sustainable practice of silk cultivation. Zero chemicals or treatments are required for raw silk, which is readily biodegradable.
Care What You Wear...
Silk has a 3000 year history and has to be one of the most amazing and most beautiful of all of earth's fibers. It is created by the protein secretions of silkworms which solidify to create the cocoon fibers.
This is an amazing phenomenon in itself, but if you were to compare fiber by fiber, this remarkable natural creation is stronger than steel.
Silk fabric has always signified luxury and elegance and is today, still valued highly, dubbing it the "Queen of Fiber."
These days, green silk is taking eco fashion to new heights. You can caress your body in the rich luxury of silk without feeling guilty, while still maintaining your eco values.
What Is Organic Silk
Organic silk (aka raw silk) is created without the use of any chemicals or treatments using insecticides, pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. The silkworms are allowed to live out their full lives and die naturally.
Environmental friendliness utilizes natural and sustainable farming techniques. Of course, raw silk is biodegradable. Natural silk colors are produced but some organic silk is dyed with natural dyes.
Organic Silk Benefits
Raw silk has the versatility to be blended with just about any other fiber.
When blended with animal fibers, the resulting fabric may loose some of it's sheen, depending on the silk content.
However, blended yarns will have improved drape and elasticity.
Blends with cotton and other fibers will produce a silken sheen and added softness.
- luxurious and cool to touch
- slippery soft, smooth and sensual
- lustrous shimmer
- very lightweight
- beautiful drape qualities
- offers warmth with superior insulating properties
- natural strength and durability
- takes dyes well
- abrasion resistant
- shrinkage can be restored by ironing
Disadvantages of Silk Clothing
- higher cost
- low elasticity
- wrinkles easily
- shows water spots
- fades easily
- poor sunlight resistance
- tendency to yellow
- sensitive to perspiration
Silk Fabric Care
Always, always follow the garment label. Some silk fabrics can be hand washed but others cannot depending on the dye and finish used in the garment. Giving your silk clothing the proper care will freshen the fabric and prolong garment life.
- Protect your silk clothes from perfumes and hair sprays.
- It is advisable to wash a small test area first.
- Hand wash each item separately and always handle silk clothes gently.
- Never use bleach or presoak products.
- Wash in cool water with pre-dissolved mild soap designed for silk (or a gentle shampoo). Avoid soaking and do not wring or twist.
- Rinse in cool water with a capful of vinegar OR lemon juice added.
- Lay garment out on a clean towel and gently roll to remove excess moisture.
- Air dry away from direct sunlight by hanging on a padded hanger until damp dry.
- Using the silk setting (warm) on the iron, press the garment inside out. When using a steam iron, set to the low setting. Visible water spots will appear from a steam iron that spits.
Hanging in the bathroom will allow shower humidity to remove wrinkles.
Organic silk farming has reaching effects by also promoting the sustainability of mulberry trees, which are the silkworms food source. One mulberry tree will feed roughly 100 silkworms. One acre of renewable trees sustains silkworm life to produce 30-35 pounds of raw silk.
Highly sought after natural reddish or golden silk colors are produced, depending on the specific silkworm breed and it’s feed.
These trees, in turn, provide a valuable renewable resource for local production of baskets, furniture even folk remedies.
- Organic silk is a highly sustainable crop with cocoons being produced when the silkworms are about 35 days old. The silkworm continues it's natural cycle to morph into a moth. Then it lays eggs and dies naturally about 5 days later.
- Wild Silk (aka Tussah or Tussur) 100% natural; organically produced by worms that thrive in their natural habitat. They complete their full life cycle and emerge as moths before mating and dying as nature intended.
Wild silk is very labor intensive. Indigenous people collect the cocoons and hand spin the fibers or hand loom into cloth for sale. Wild silk is earth friendly and protects lands otherwise threatened by deforestation. As well, employment is provided for the local villagers.
- Natural Peace Silk is produced mainly on silk farms where the silkworm moths are humanely allowed to emerge and die naturally.
Because the cocoon fibers have been broken, the fibers are then spun rather than reeled. The results are a softer fabric with a slightly different look and feel.
Since the worms spin organic silk and complete their full life cycle unimpaired, these (organic, wild and natural peace) silks are often called Peace Silk or Vegetarian Peace Silk.
Understanding Silk Descriptions
- Raw silk - is made pure silk fibers without chemicals. Anywhere from 5 to 10 cocoon fibers are wound together to form silk thread. Several threads are then wound together to form the yarn of raw silk.
- Silk noil - is yielded from the silk waste of the spun or reeled processes. The resulting yarn has reduced luster and strength.
- Spun silk - is produced by using silk noil or chopping the cocoons into manageable lengths, then spinning or carding the fibers creating fibers that are easy to work with and possess good luster.
- Tussah (Tussur) silk - is wild silk fabric that is less lustrous and more uneven.
- Eri silk is an almost white, spun peace silk.
- Muga silk - is organic and has a highly valued natural golden color. However, it is not peace silk.
- Reeled silk - produces the highest quality yarn. With this method, the cocoons are carefully unwrapped and joined together for incredibly long fiber lengths of highest quality and luster.
- Weighted silk - refers to adding metallic salts (chromium, lead, sodium magnesium, iron, barium and tin) in the manufacturing process to add luster and weight. This process is applied to reeled silk because more expensive silks are sold by weight.
Conventional cultivated silk is not an animal friendly process and concerns are being raised by consumers worldwide. Sericulture is a hugely developed worldwide industry earning it's livelihood from domesticated silkworms.
A few moths are allowed to emerge to breed the needed population, but most of the the cocoons are boiled or baked with the pupae inside. This process is carried out so that the silk fibers are not broken when the moth emerges from the cocoon.
Broken silk fibers result in silk noil. These shorter fibers are spun into a more textured silk rather than being reeled from a continuous strand and marketed as fine silk.
One pound of silk for the creation of silk clothing requires the sacrifice of about 2600 silkworms. Most often corporate silk farms utilize chemicals for higher production. Hormone disrupters which slow the growth rate and extend the silk producing time of the worms are commonly used, as well as pesticides and fertilizers.
Chemical treatments are added to create wash and wear special finishing such as dyes, wrinkle reducers, anti-static properties, water repellents, etc.
Ethical Silk – A Consumer Dilemma
The consumer dilemma is that sometimes raw silk production is in fact organic because it has not underwent any kind of chemical intervention.
However, an ethical question may arise because organic silk may not necessarily be peace silk. So it really boils down to consumer compromise between emotions and organic desires.
a)Choosing natural silk is in favor of chemical-free production and/or natural or low-impact dyes.
b)Choosing wild or spun silk does not kill the silkworm.
Organic silk produced in small villages by indigenous people is the choice for the purest silk. Whatever you choose, be sure to ask about
Fair Trade prinicipals.
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Care What You Wear...
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