In addition to all of the crochet blogs that I read I also read a few “green” blogs including Ecouterre (source of the info here and the image above). I recently came across an article there about a new way that silkworms are being cultivated to create more eco-friendly fibers. This is a fascinating thing to pay attention to if you’re someone who uses silk yarn.
The process is actually pretty simple. Scientists in Singapore have figured out that putting silkworms on a diet of mulberry levels and non-damaging fluorescent dyes will result in pre-dyed silk fibers. There isn’t a huge range of colors being produced by these silkworms – it’s basically just a DayGlo pink – but it provides some potential to explore other natural dyeing options in the future.
The original article explains that the best part about this cool little science experiment is that it saves the earth in terms of both water conservation and reduced use of toxic chemicals. Because the silk is already “dyed” when it’s made there isn’t a need to dye it manually. The dyeing process often uses chemicals that are poisonous to the environment and it’s also a very water-intensive process.
Research indicates that that this technology is both scalable and affordable. In other words, small textile companies could do something with this and it would also be possible to produce it on a much larger scale and still have the silk be affordable. It’ll be interesting to see if this is one of those fashion technology ideas that really moves forward or lingers for awhile and then fades away.
What do you think about putting silkworms on a special diet to produce a colored fiber?