1. How is Eri Silk produced?
Eri silk is produced from the cocoons of Eri silkworms. The first step is Eri silkworm rearing.
Eri silkworm rearing and production is done indoors where certain conditions are maintained. The worms require an ambient temperature of around 27°C and relative humidity of around 70%, adequate ventilation with adequate lighting and protection from insects, pests and fires must be ensured.
Having sufficient stock of their food, being the leaves of castor plant (Ricinus Commnis) and/or Cassava leaves, is important. As soon as the worms hatch from the eggs, they begin feeding. The young worms are fed tender leaves. In later stages, the leaves are adjusted according to the maturity of the worms.
The larval period (when the worms grow from being tiny to plump and long) can last 17 to 45 days, depending on the type of food given and the season of rearing.
Rearers use bamboo sticks as containers and collect the castor leaves in bundles of bamboo poles. The worms eat a lot and so they replenish the leaves, along with water, about 4 times a day.
Eri silk larvae molt (shed their skin) up to 5 times, as they increase in size. When the larvae are fully matured, they excrete their last excreta and began searching for a place to start the cocooning process.
Their bodies turn translucent and that is when the rearers put them on trays called ‘chandriki’ where they will find places to spin their cocoons. Each larva spins a cocoon around itself with a protein that it expels from its mouth, a true wonder of nature.
Cocooning process takes 3-5 days to finish. Over the next 7 to 11 days, depending on the season, winter being the longest, the larvae transform into moths and the cocoons will be ready for harvest. The moths are allowed to leave the cocoon before the cocoons are processed to harvest Eri silk fiber.
Worms are fed castor or cassava leaves: No fertilizers or pesticides are used as castor leaves grow abundantly in Meghalaya and are not infested. Cocoons form: Once fully grown, each silkworm spins itself a cocoon and hibernates to transform itself into a moth.
Degumming of the cocoons: The moths leave the cocoon, and the cocoon is degummed by boiling in water with an alkaline washing soap. This is the only stage where a ‘chemical’ – an alkaline soap – is used. Alkaline soap is eco-friendly, unlike detergents.
Yarn is made: The Eri silk fiber is hand spun from the cocoons and then made into Eri silk yarn for weaving or knitting.
The yarn is woven into fabric either before dyeing or after. Dyeing is done using natural dyes: No toxic chemicals are used.
So, note that no toxic chemicals are used in any stage of the Eri silk production process. We speak with confidence about the Eri silk that Muezart produces. We can vouch that it is an eco-friendly fiber, and the production cycle is sustainable.
2. Is Eri Silk Soft?
The delicate softness of Eri Silk is mostly attributed to one main reason:
''Zero toxicity'' which is because the only 'chemical' that comes in contact with this Silk, is the alkaline soap used during the degumming process; hence the fiber retains all its original assets, which is its natural sheen and softness.
3. Why is Eri Silk so expensive?
Eri silk is expensive as it is hand-made using traditional methods. Eri silk weaving has not been commercialized, thankfully and the output is organic and the whole process is environment friendly and sustainable.
Rearing and the making of Eri silk is extremely labor-intensive, comprising many meticulous and cumbersome steps:
- Hand processed through degumming process
- Hand spinning of the yarn
- Hand dyed using natural ingredients
- Handwoven fabrics using floor loom
4. How to identify Eri Silk?
Muezart is a certified Authorized User of the Silk Mark. But there are various ways to test and distinguish the genuineness of your Silk.
You can read all about the purity of Silk here.
5. Is Eri Silk warmer than cotton?
Eri Silk’s good absorbency makes it comfortable to wear in all temperatures, and low conductivity keeps warm air close to the skin during cold weather hence Eri Silk provides better insulation than cotton.
6. Are Eri Silk yarns bleached?
No. Our Eri Silk yarns are not bleached. The process of degumming the cocoon is the first and only step that we perform to get the Eri silk yarn. Throughout the degumming process the only chemical that Eri silk cocoon comes in contact with is the Alkaline soap solution. So, our Eri silk yarn are not bleached. They maintain their soft natural off-white color throughout the whole process.
7. Does Eri Silk make you sweat?
Eri silk being a natural fiber is hydrophilic in nature. It has brilliant air permeability. That is to say, it allows the air to pass very well. Eri silk is a fabric that helps maintain good air circulation between the skin and the environment, avoiding excess humidity and perspiration.
8. Is Eri Silk good to wear in summer?
Eri silk is hydrophilic in nature and its good absorbency makes it comfortable to wear in all temperatures. It is also known as the most absorbing silk compared to Mulberry silk which tends to repel water.
9. Is Eri Silk more breathable than cotton?
Cotton is more breathable than Eri silk but Eri silk in the other hand also has brilliant air permeability allowing the air to pass very well. It also helps maintain good air circulation between the skin and the environment, avoiding excess humidity and perspiration.
10. Is Eri Silk more breathable than Satin?
Eri silk is a natural protein fiber with unique properties of it being hydrophilic in nature and maintains good air circulation while Satin is a man-made fiber which is non-breathable and will suck any moisture that it comes into contact with.
11. Is Eri Silk safe for babies?
Eri silk cloth is the best for babies because its hypoallergenic, breathable and soft.
12. Can you blend Eri Silk with other fibers?
13. Does Eri Silk Pill?
With use some silk and woolen material develop small knots on the surface which can be unsightly! That is what is pilling. Hydrophobic fibers (textile fibers that repel water) tend to pill more because hydrophobic fibers have more static build-up, and end up clinging together on the surface of the fabric instead of falling off. Wool is an exception to the rule. Wool, although hydrophilic, tends to pill because the surface of the wool fibers is scaly and the scales stick to each other and to the fabric.