Category Archives: weaving

More on Weaving

Ok, way back in January, I promised to post on embroidery in Vietnam, but I decided it was way more fun to contine on the theme of weaving. I hope you don’t mind.

Three Stone Step
s get the majority of its silk–and all its cotton products–from Cambodia, and, most of this is from Takeo Province, which is about two hours by car from the capital of Phnom Penh. Some of the silk we carry from the province is found in the Angkor shoulder bag, and in the luxurious silk scarf in two tones. And, this Spring, Three Stone steps will have new products from Takeo silk: scarves, in a mixture of organza and raw silk, in fantastic colors, of course, and new colors and patterns for the Angkor shoulder bag, with matching wallets to boot. But, as usual, I get carried away and digress.

Anyway, the silk weaving process in Takeo is very different from that found in Vietnam–as seen in the post below–since in Cambodia, almost all weaving is done by hand, whereas in Vietnam, much is done by machine. As you might imagine, this is what makes silk woven in Cambodia some of the finest in the world, and makes it more expensive than the textile found in Vietnam.

But, on to the silk weaving photos:
This is what the silk looks like before anything is done to it. Sadly (and, vegans, avert your eyes now!) I haven’t seen the entire process, starting with the silk worm eating the mulberry leaves thing, but I do know that neither Thailand or Cambodia have much of a sericulture culture. In fact, most of the silk woven in those countries comes from the sericulture village in Vietnam. (And, that’s on the list for the next trip.)

So, this silk is lovely, but it can be lovelier by being dyed. In Cambodia, it’s done by hand, and here’s a bit of the process:

In caes you were wondering, it’s being dyed a lovely deep aubergine.

More steps in the silk process include spinning the silk threads on to bobbins.

And, please not the bicycle tire rim used as part of the weaving process. A great example of reuse, the second law in the reduce/reuse/recycle mantra.

And, of course, the weaving:

Lone weaver.Working together to fix the warp.

And, some of the finished product:

Ready for market or for Three Stone Steps most discerning customers!

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Filed under angkor bag, Cambodia, scarves, silk, wallets, weaving

Silks and Threads

Greetings from Vietnam.

On Thursday, I was treated to an overview of the silk process when visiting the “silk village” not terribly far from Hanoi. The specialty of this villagers here –doesn’t the word “villagers” sound so wonderfully quaint?”–is the weaving and dying of silk. (Just so you know, other villages around Hanoi specialize in things as different as making ceramics, carving horn and bone, and brewing snake wine.) So, given the way the craft system is split up, the “silk village” didn’t really provide an entire overview in a soup to nuts type way, since silk worm raising is done in another village, and extracting the silk from the cocoon is done in yet another. So, by the time you get to the village I visited, all the real messy work has happened. Of course, once the villagers get finished with their part of the process, the silk goes hither and yon to be used for whatever….

Anyway, here’s the earliest part of the silk process I saw. Silk thread in a rawish state:

Sometimes the thread is woven in its natural color, and other time the thread is dyed before weaving. Silk is made into different thickness for threads, and here’s some silk that has been dyed and spooled out to use before weaving:

The workshop I visited had booth a loom to use by hand, and many machine looms. Below is a woman who did hand looming. She motioned for me to try it out. It wasn’t a great start. First, I hit my head getting in the loom contraption, and then, well, it was similar to teaching someone steps to a dance when once doesn’t speak the same language, so it was a series of pointing at one leg, my arm, another leg, my other arm. While it was funny in that universal way of watching someone mess up, I’m happy to leave silk weaving to the professionals.

A woman operating one of the many machine looms is just below. With all the looms going, it’s very loud, and I expected a Vietnamese Norma Rae to emerge at any moment. [Cue to clip of Sally Field standing on a table holding sign that reads UNION….]

Like the sheets used in a player piano, silk patterns come on rolls in a series of dots.

As said above, some silk thread is dyed before weaving, and some afterwards. Below is a photo of a heap o’ silk ready to be bathed in color.

And, here we have the dyer at work. The color was a gorgeous deep blue.

In my next post, I’ll show you some of the “painting” done with silk thread. Of course, that’s in another village.

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Filed under silk, Vietnam, weaving