Woman reeling silk off at the silk factory in Chiang Mai
Man without arms painting with his mouth.
Detail of mouth-painting.
Woman weaving at a Thai loom (plain-weave, two-harness).
Me reeling silk.
Closeup of same. Note the bun and the drapey blouse, indicating a Japanese lady (at least to salespeople ;-) )
Pot with cocoons. With so many cocoons in the pot, friction picks up additional threads. If the thread isn't thick enough, the reeler can stir the pot to pick up more threads.
Silkworm-rearing cabinet, screened to protect the worms from predatory insects (wasps, etc.)
A tray of silkworms feeding on mulberry leaves. These look like fourth instar, one shed away from cocooning.
As the silkworm matures, it turns translucent, indicating readiness to cocoon, and is put in one of these cocooning trays. Bundles of twigs are also used.
Silk-reeling tools. Clockwise from top: tray with reeled silk, silk-reeling cauldron with cocoons in it, and charcoal burner the cauldron sits on. The water is kept simmering and charcoal added/removed to control the temperature.
Woman reeling silk. The cleft stick she is holding is used both to stir the pot (which brings up more silk threads) and to "comb out" cocoons that get pulled up with the reeled silk.
After reeling, the pile of silk in the tray at left is reeled into skeins with this device (which looks basically like the Western version).
Skeins of reeled silk. I bought half a kilogram for 1500 baht ($35), which I'm sure was outrageously priced--but how could I resist??
The skeins are dyed (sometimes with natural dyes, more often with synthetics) and placed on a swift to be wound onto bobbins. Note the ingenious construction--I will have to try this when I go home!
Wheel for reeling the dyed and skeined silk onto bobbins. Notice that tin cans are used as the bobbins!
Closeup of the reeled bobbins.
Weft yarn being tied for mudmee (ikat) dyeing. They're wound in skeins exactly as they will be woven, then resist-dyed in complex patterns. This is a very coarse pattern--the bundles are big.
Woman weaving at a Thai loom. Probably the coolest part of this loom is the shuttle-throwing device: it's a stick mounted on the top of the loom, above her head. When she pulls the stick, it throws the shuttle from side to side, so she can keep both hands on the reed. But it's very ingeniously built, I took many detailed photos.