Syria had been famous for textile industry and the silk industry in particular flourished throughout this century. Textile industry in general and silk industry in particular is handmade one which people of this country worked in over the centuries. When we mention the word “brocade” or “Damasco” for example, the name “Damascus” comes immediately to our minds.
Silk fibers (filamentous materials) are shiny and used in the clothes industry. Silk has a natural glitter which is characterized by a few of the other fibers and for this it is called king of fibers. Silk fibers are made of silk cocoons called silkworm and there are many other animals produce silk threads such as spiders and other insects but its threads are non-economic that can be turned into fabrics.
Silk is of the strongest natural fibers, silk thread is even stronger than the steel rite with the same diameter. Silk has a high flexibility when it is tightened; silk clothes are very light and warmer than cotton and linen clothes. China is one of the most productive countries of the silk.
- Sources of Silk:
- Natural silk has two types:
- Planted silk: it is produced from silkworms that are raised on mulberry leaves.
- Wild silk: it is produced from silkworms which feed on oak leaves. It is hard to bleach this type of silk due to its natural dark brown or yellow color as it is less bright that natural silk.
- Rearing of Silkworms:
The female silkworm put 300 – 500 eggs at the beginning of the summer on special paper tapes prepared by the silk producer and the butterflies die soon after laying eggs in a cold place. At the beginning of spring, eggs are placed and saved a suitable temperature for hatching after 20 days so that silkworms get out. Having these worms grown up, it crawls on wooden sticks to weave silk on it. Three days later, the cocoon turns into larva which turns later into a moth after three weeks mostly. When the larva turns into a moth, it breaks out of the cocoon and so the silk producer allows for a small percentage of the larvae to turn into butterflies and kills the larvae before leaving the cocoon by placing them in ovens in order to save the silk.
- Making of Silk:
- Rolling: silk workers dismantle the wrapped silk threads after killing the larvae in special factories in several steps to roll it on special reels to form packets composed of 10 – 30 knots that reach approximately 60 kg.
- Defamation: raw silk becomes stronger after the rolling process which makes it strong and increases its tissue resistance for the textile process later on
- Boiling and weight: This process removes the remaining adhesive liquid in order to uncover the beauty of the natural silk, where the color becomes whiter and softer.
- Dyeing: It can be processed either before or after the weaving process.
- Weaving: Silks threads are woven using looms similar to those of cotton and wool and it is known as brocade.