Third maker

Spinners who turn cocoons to yarn

The journey from cocoons to hand- spun yarn involves a spinner performing series of steps for the appropriate treatment of cocoons that can enable hand spinning of yarn. These steps have remained unchanged through generations of hand- spinning culture of Assam. At Ahimsa Eri Silk Project, we have retained the indigenous steps without much alteration.


Spinning-based livelihood beneficiary:  63 household
Spinning region: Jharobari, Assam
Villages involved: Nawapara, Khatiamari, Bakarapara


 

Degumming

Empty Ahimsa cocoons are first cleaned and softened by boiling them in water and soda for around an hour. This removes the Sericin layer binding together the fibroin.

Degumming

Empty Ahimsa cocoons are first cleaned and softened by boiling them in water and soda for around an hour. This removes the Sericin layer binding together the fibroin.

Washing

After boiling, the cocoons are rigorously washed with running water to rid them off all “instar to moth” transition waste.

Washing

After boiling, the cocoons are rigorously washed with running water to rid them off all “worm to moth” transition waste.

Flattening

The wet cocoon is flattened adeptly using tips of fingers to turn them into flat round “cakes”. Only experienced artisans are able to achieve this step correctly.

Flattening

The wet cocoon is flattened adeptly using tips of fingers to turn them into flat round “cakes”. Only experienced artisans are able to achieve this step correctly.

Drying

5-6 cocoon cakes are taken together stacked on top of each other to dry on mud wall. Drying on mud wall makes the drying process more efficient and consistent.

Drying

5-6 cocoon cakes are taken together stacked on top of each other to dry on mud wall. Drying on mud wall makes the drying process more efficient and consistent.

Mounting

Usually about 50-60 dried cocoon cakes are then mounted atop a light wood stick, preferably made of Jamun tree wood pulled downwards turning into a mass of fibrous wooly appearance. This is the preparation step of hand spinning.

Spinning

The mass of fibre on wood stick is then gently pulled with fingers giving it consistent twist while being stretched meticulously through the weight of drop spindle. Eri silk spinning is akin to cotton or wool hand spinning process with out without spinning wheel or charkha. This step is the most crucial aspect of hand spinning and takes years of expertise to master consistency.

Spinning

The mass of fibre on wood stick is then gently pulled with fingers giving it consistent twist while being stretched meticulously through the weight of drop spindle. Eri silk spinning is akin to cotton or wool hand spinning process with out without spinning wheel or charkha. This step is the most crucial aspect of hand spinning and takes years of expertise to master consistency.

With this step, the hand spun Ahimsa Eri silk fibre transforms into yarn. The yarn is stored usually in the form of hanks of similar weight carefully rolled together.