Visiting the Silk Factory and Store
While in Shanghai, we went to a silk factory after we had seen the tai chi outfits worn by those who taught us tai chi. Many in our group were interested in buying silk outfits. When we first arrived at the factory, we met a guide who gave us a tour of part of the factory. In the first room, we got to see silkworms and touch them. We also learned that when the worms build their cocoons, where silk comes from, they sometimes become intertwined with another cocoon, creating a double cocoon. Double cocoons are impossible to turn into string because they are so tangled. The cocoons do not go to waste, though.
The second room was a machine that takes the single cocoons and makes it into thread on a spool. The spools are then used to make silk clothes and pictures. Some of the spools go through a dyeing process to turn them into different colors.
The last room was the shop and demonstration on how the double cocoons are used. The double cocoons are wetted and then stretched over a hoop. About ten double cocoons are stretched over one hoop before the pile is removed. The pile is then stretched out to make a filling for a blanket. We even got to take part in this process.
In the shop, you could buy the blankets for any bed size you have. You could also buy the silk coverings. The blankets are good for any weather. They do not make you too hot, but keep you warm when it is cold. I enjoyed the ones used at the hotel. Also, in the gift shop, you can buy clothing. They have outfits for children, men, and women. The part of the shop I enjoyed most was the gallery of silk pictures. I even bought a little circle one that had three fish. If I remember correctly, the fish stood for status, fortune, and luck.
To tell the truth, I had no clue as to what made silk. I enjoyed learning about the process of making silk items by actually watching the process. Getting to participate in making the stuffing for a blanket made the whole experience even better.