Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mulberry Trees and Silkworms

I am sure there must be people who have never seen mulberry trees. Someone from Sweden or Canada or Alaska? And of course here we have plenty of them; they are grown along roadsides and sometimes as field borders:

They give very nice fruit:

...and the leaves are used to feed silkworms which then make cocoons, and the cocoons are used to make wonderful mulberry silk. Traditionally, it was primarily produced in Ferghana valley, in the city of Margilan, but now they started production in Karakalpakstan (people there suffer from the Aral Sea disaster and certainly need to generate more income).

I know everyone knows about silkworms. I must confess I have never seen them live, but my distant relatives used to breed them to sell cocoons, and they had to pick a lot of mulberry leaves to feed the creatures.

I was just thinking, how lucky we are to have silk produced here, of our own raw materials. I am collecting vintage silk, and some fabrics are really beautiful. In the picture below you can see me hunting for my silk treasures in Bukhara:

And I think these fabrics are stunning - I draped my Arabella to see what it looks like:

The inner layer is chiffon, weightless like air, breathing and moving with every breath and  movement of the owner. The upper layer is crepe de chine, matte and smooth and much heavier than chiffon. I have a chiffon top on sale here -  the very last one, we only had enough fabric for three, and one is mine. And now I am thinking of making a draped blouse of the crepe de chine to wear them together (oh no! I have no space in my closet and I do not have enough days in the year to wear everything... however I think I will have a blouse, anyway. You can have one, too).


  1. Such a wonderful story. We used to have many mulberry trees around our house when I was a child. The berries were so sweet and juicy. Thank you for reminding me this part of my childhood.
    Great post, love your silks!

  2. So, the first reader knows what mulberry trees are like ) Thank you for your lovely warm comment.

    I had a bid mulberry tree in my childhood, too - in my grandparents yard. The tree is still there, but everything else isn't...

  3. Wow, thank you for taking me back in time. Growing up we had a large Mulberry tree in our front yard and for several months of the year my brothers and I were known for having purple feet. We would climb that tree all day and play under its branches. You knew it was a good day when our feet were colored bright :)
    Thank you!

  4. Jill, nice to see you!

    There is a huge mulberry tree in the yard of my grandmother's house. It's the biggest one I have ever seen. And we used to have purple fingers because we picked the berries. That tree was not good for climbing, as even the lowest branches were way too high, so we had to throw sticks to beat the berries down.

  5. Очень интересно про шелк прочитать. У вас это все там прямо близко и везде. А для нас это экзотика. Хоть шелковичные деревья когда то видела в детстве в Крыму - вкусные ягодки. Вот бы покопаться в таких магазинах и шелках Ах!

    1. Гала, приезжай как-нибудь? У нас хорошо весной и летом, и здесь есть интересные туристические маршруты по древним городам. А уж шелка мы с тобой накупим! Я не уверена, что он хорош для валяния - хотя жалею очень, что не сунула тебе кусочек эксельсиора в посылку, замоталась просто... ты б посмотрела, на что похож. Надо бы отправить тебе его все же.


Please say a few words if you feel like it - I will be very happy to read your comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...