Hatchling silkworms and other thrills

Last year, I bought five silk worms at a school fair and raised them into moths. Later, when I was wondering what to expect next, I had quite a conversation with a delightful woman in the Button Bar in the Adelaide Arcade, as you do.  I can’t remember how we got from the tea cosy she was knitting to silk worms, but somehow we did.  She told me to expect the eggs that resulted from a dalliance between a couple of my moths to hatch in September.  I remember thinking about this on 1 September.  Then on Friday 13 September I realised I had taken no action and sprinted down the hall to check on them and lo!  There were tiny black creatures wiggling around!  I made an immediate mercy dash to the nearest mulberry tree.  Can you make the hatchlings out?


The hatchlings are the tiny black lines.  Those spots on the cardboard are eggs.  Today I conservatively estimate I have 50 silkworm hatchlings, and I have started working on finding some of them new homes.

Meanwhile, I have been on a bag jag… sewing loads more bags and taming [some of] my scrap collection.  I decided to photograph a lining in progress on the weekend, because what is more thrilling than a lining?



Well, one of our chooks seemed to think so.  She could tell whatever was happening on the table was worth looking into, so she flew up immediately to check into it.  Regrettably, this was not an edible thrill from her point of view.


Thrills come in very disparate packages, all depending on perspective… or so it seems to me!  Audrey finds earwigs a lot more thrilling than I do.

Meanwhile, I have taken the nettle stems back out of the retting bath (which this time certainly did go to the garden–) and set them out in the rain to rinse.  Since so much of my crafting takes place in crevices of time and is ordered by whim rather than a linear plan, I hope you’re managing to follow all these emerging themes …


Filed under Fibre preparation, Leaf prints, Sewing

10 responses to “Hatchling silkworms and other thrills

  1. SubmarineBells

    Raising your own silkworms? That’s very cool. Gonna be a LOT of work as well, from what I hear. Have you seen the article Serving the Tiny Masters, about raising silkworms? Might be worth reading, if you haven’t already.


    • I don’t think I am up for raising this many… hence my search for other homes! I do have a friend with two large standard mulberry trees who was keen to help me out last year, so that will be of use… the handy neighbourhood mulberry tree a short walk from home was rendered inaccessible last year by the neighbourhood infrastructure drama. Happily, I did find Serving the Tiny Masters last year when I was trying to educate myself. What a fabulous resource! To scared to read it again now given the large number of hatchlings now working their way through a leaf or two at home while I’m at work 🙂 Do you want some?


  2. SubmarineBells

    While my first instinct is to say Oooo, silkworms? Bring ’em on! I think I need to sit on that instinct, because I don’t have ready access to a mulberry tree. I gather that one might as well forgettaboutit without a mulberry tree in one’s own garden (or at the very least, on one’s street), and it would be rather unfortunate to have a pile of little baby silkworms all expire from starvation because I couldn’t feed them regularly enough. But I’d definitely LOVE to hear all about your progress with them! It sounds like a fascinating project – I’ve followed the doings of the Wormspit guy for years, and admiration of his work was one of the things that got me started on tablet weaving with silk.


    • He is so interesting and inspiring, I agree… I first heard him in a podcast years back, but had no way I could locate a silkworm. Now I should be planting a tree, by all accounts. Only too happy to provide updates on the doings at our place. I very much doubt I’ll be taking up reeling silk though! That is a bridge too far for me at this stage.


  3. SubmarineBells

    Reeling the silk always struck me as the coolest bit! But I guess one has to have the right equipment first… If I had a mulberry bush to hand, reeled silk is totally what I’d be going for, with the eventual plan of tablet-weaving it into something shiny and spectacular! What are your plans for the silk, should you succeed in producing some?


    • I still imagine a yarn with silk cocoons sproinging off it in all directions. In fact, I have decided the time is overdue (and you may feel the same!) and I’ll create one on the Guild weekend away in October. I have only 4 cocoons from last year’s efforts but if I had more I think I could have fun using some as they are (golden) and dyeing some with plants (orange to red if I’m lucky) and spinning them onto a yarn… I have teacosies or bizarre hats in mind as I propose this… because there can never be too much bizarre yarn!


  4. SubmarineBells

    Sounds like you’ve got it all planned out! I look forward to seeing what you come up with. 🙂


  5. That bird is beautifully coloured! And I find your posts entertaining :).


    • Thank you very much… isn’t she glorious? We have a friend who is a rare hen breeder whose chosen breed is Campine. Our two girls didn’t meet show standards but are still very fine looking hens in my opinion…


  6. Pingback: What to do with silk cocoons 4: Spin degummed cocoons | Local & Bespoke

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