Thursday, February 5, 2009


Silk has long been a favorite luxury fiber in fabrics, and in more recent times, yarns as well. Few fashion items or home accessories -- whether sewn, crocheted or knitted -- feel more exquisite than those made with silk. Here is some interesting trivia on how silk came to be introduced to the Western world in the first place. We certainly owe a big debt of gratitude to two very brave people!

Nearly 3,000 years before Christ, the silkworm was bred exclusively in the great empires of the Far East and throughout the Orient. It was considered a national treasure and a closely-guarded secret for generations. Through six major Chinese dynasties, anyone caught giving away the silkworm secret for making the fine, luxurious threads was tried, publicly disgraced and executed. In fact, there are many stories of attempted smuggling in China that span history for more than 3,000 years.

It is recorded that two Christian missionaries, who were in China from their native homeland of Persia, hid silkworm eggs in their hollow canes as they boarded a ship for their home church in Constantinople. Managing to pass safely through frequent rigorous inspections, they were able to return home and breed their own silkworms to produce silk in Turkey, Anatolia and other parts of Asia Minor. This theft of a Chinese national treasure introduced silk to the Western world for the first time.



Silk is great. I've not yet knitted or crocheted with it; but it's on my list.


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