I have been taking classes at the School of Fashion Design here in Boston for the past 2 weeks (I have a whole summer of classes in front of me :)). Since I define myself as a photographer, it may be a little bit confusing for you why I’m learning how to sew and cut and sketch, but definitions are only definitions, and the secret of life is to constantly challenge yourself (…or not? Probably this is the secret of a busy life).
Anyway, during the Textile lessons, I’ve learned about TUSSAH SILK, and I’m already in love with this fabric!
TUSSAH SILK is a common variety of the so-called WILD SILK. As the word suggests, this silk is spun by worms that live naturally in forests, and not from cultivated silkworms. The cultivated ones, after they spin their lovely cocoons around their bodies, are steamed alive (and then they die, of course). The wild caterpillars, instead, break through their cocoons (and fly away free and un-steamed :)), but in this way they shorten the silk fiber (which is not anymore a long, intact filament). Being shorter, the Tussah-silk fiber doesn’t have some of the properties of the cultivated silk – “Textiles, concept and principles” defines Tussah-silk coarser and less lustrous. However, it may be less shiny than “normal” sink, but it’s still very warm for its weight, and very breathable. It’s actually thicker, that makes it more durable and resilient to bends and folds.
Using Tussa silk yarn, that has a natural tan color, you can knit stylish sweaters as described in The Luxurious Sublime Tussah Silk Hank Knit Book.
Here are some fashionable garments made (entirely or partially) by Tussah Silk. Let’s show some love to caterpillars and moths, even if they’re less cute and fluffy than rabbits and beavers! 🙂