When people ask me how silk is made, I can understand that not everybody is happy with the way the silkworm has to be killed in order to use the long silk thread for weaving.
Another possibility was to let the worm make a natural hole in the cocoon and escape, to start his life as a butterfly.
But that left the weavers with small bits of silk, and a difficult way of processing.
Recently I read an article about a group of people, who had done some research and found a way to save the worm and still make use of the full length of the silkthread.
They call themselves, the “People for Animals”, and the silk: “Peace Silk”
Although they did not quite explain how it was done, I think a lot of people will feel better, knowing that silk can now be used, without the killing of the worm.
Another article talks about SoySilk.
When Rayon was becoming popular in the ’60, and pushed silk to second place, it was the first man-made fiber that imitated silk.
However, rayon is made of wood fibers and with the environmental problems, producers have studied alternative possibilities.
They came up with this by-product of tofu. It has all the qualities of rayon, and comes close to the softness of silk.
Source: University of Waterloo
When in Valencia, (Spain) you should visit the Llotja, one of the few remaining buildings of the Middle Ages in that city, where silk was traded.
The pillars look like enormous rolls of silk.