Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Michael Cook's Wormspit

We came across Wormspit when we were doing silk research for our 2008 trip to Assam. If you have any interest in silk you need to know about Michael Cook, his blog (which goes back to 2003) and his site, Wormspit (www.wormspit.com). It is detailed, informed, supported by copious high-quality close-up photos, and at times outrageously funny. There is equal emphasis on raising the insects and working with the fibers.



Michael Cook, who lives in Dallas, Texas, got started raising silkworms in 2001 after he had already been weaving for ten years. Since then he's been raising various breeds, reeling the silks, dyeing the fibers and documenting the process. He was recently published in the Fall 2009 issue of SpinOff magazine and was the sericulturalist for the American Museum of Natural History's video Traditional Silk Making Today (with music by the Silk Road Project).

We were lucky enough to get Tussar cocoons from Orissa and Assam, but Michael got his in the mail and wrote about it. He has raised the Chinese Tussar Moth (Antheraea pernyi) and the North American relative, the Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus).

Since 2004 Michael has been moderating a Yahoo group, CatHerders - for people who raise silkmoths.

Interested in silkmoths, silk textiles, or just silk? Wormspit. Do you have experience raising silkworms - either for interest or textiles? Comments are welcome.

2 comments:

  1. Hi there,
    We raised hundreds upon hundreds of silkworms since they hatched late April. We were so overwhelmed by the work (clearly too much) that I decided to boil (i actually tried not to boil the cocoons, but...) some with the moth inside and ready to hatch, and some from the already hatched cocoons. I left them in my craft kitchen (in a different location from my home) overnight in the water. I worried all night about them! I just learned of making silk hankies though, and think it may be the easiest solution for me so as not to loose them all, I thought I had to reel them, which looked rather labor intensive for our situation. We work side by side with special needs adults in a Camphill Community here in PA, and labor intensive is not the best! I will go back this morning, and heat the water again this time adding the washing soda and soap, and let them soak a while. I hope to come across a wooden frame I can stretch them on, unless you have any other suggestions! Thanks, Jill

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  2. By the way, thank you Michael for your generous eggs from what I believe to be last year. It is so clear to see why you may be so easily able and willing to send them!

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