Silk: Thailand’s Finest
Even if at first glance it seems that each silk is just the same, there is something different about Thai silk when compared to other types of silk produced from other countries., It can last for centuries if handle with care., It is soft silk that has coarse texture with knotty threads that give it that special handmade feel., It shines like satin. Each hand woven silk is made by hand by a rural Thai woman. It is an art form and not just a piece of cloth. In the past, Thai weavers used what they consider as standard width of 37 inches. Starting in the year 2003, Thai weavers are producing silk with 40 inches width.
Producing Thai silk is a rather complicated process. The process starts when silkworms’ eat mulberry leaves. Once these worms grow into maturity, they spin silk cocoons. These cocoons are processed by weavers using special chemicals through a degumming procedure. These weavers then boil this degummed silk with the use of chemical dyes at 90 degrees Celsius. After this, the dyed silk is left to dry out. This raw silk is spun into yarn in wooden or plastic tubes. From this yarn, the spinning of the Thai silk as we know it begins. Most of these silks are created in the homes of Thai weavers and use traditional methods like the use of vintage looms that their mothers and grandmothers have once used.
Thai silk is classified into different kinds. There is the rough silk which is beautiful but is not soft. It is commonly referred to as Thai dupioni. Two ply dupioni is good for scarves. Four ply dupioni is suitable for curtains and drapes. Interior designers who want to use this material must take note of this. It is also used in bridal gowns. A second kind of Thai silk is what is known as two-toned silk. It is iridescent and is an eye candy. The iridescent effect is produced by two different colors interwoven into the silk. This can be personalized which simply means people can chose their vertical and horizontal thread. Another type of Thai silk is striped silk. This is an alternate pattern of soft and rough silk. This is ideal for home decorating use as well as furniture covering and as clothing apparel.
Silk needs proper care. Dry cleaning will help to maintain it in good condition even for centuries more. It must be hand washed in lukewarm water with the use of mild soap. Use clear white vinegar before the final rinse. Never wring the silk. Dry it in mild breeze. Iron the silk while it is still slightly damp. Use a damp cloth once again on the outer portion of the silk and iron through the cloth. This is a small compromise for silk that can be passed on to future generations of children and grandchildren. For those who are planning to shop for Thai silk be prepared to pay a good price. It does not come cheap but it is well worth it.