Eri silk is one of the most durable and strong fibres. It is cooling in the summer and warming in the winter.
Eri Cocoons are open mouthed. They cannot be reeled into raw filament yarn, but are spun like wool.
The eri silk worm is mostly found in tribal areas of Assam.
It is a very long process which takes around 45 days in total. The growth of the worm itself takes 30 days during which it is continuously eating the castor leaves from the trees in the villages.
Once the final size is attained the worms start to spin their cocoons. This takes another 15 days. Eri silk, also called Ahimsa silk or peace silk is a non-violent silk which does not require to kill the moth to extract the fiber.
The moth leaves the cocoon after spinning and flies off. For this reason, eri silk is the preferred material of Buddhists and Vegans.
The wild silk worm called Samia cynthia ricini is covered by its food, castor leaves in a tribal area of Assam.
Before spinning the eri silk cocoons, the moth has to leave the cocoon and a hole remains.
In Assam, there are various techniques of hand-spinning
used for the eri silk. Its yarn has a very
characteristic and ever-changing thickness.
Before the silk can be spun, the moth has to leave the cocoon.
The empty cocoons are washed,
boiled and dried and are ready for spinning.
It is the most common loom in India and in Assam.
Almost each household has one for personal use.
The fly shuttle loom which is used in Assam and Meghalaya is a bigger loom set up outside or in a workshop with a wooden frame and a plank on which the weaver sits. Often bamboo sticks are used for support or as thinner sticks for warp techniques. The loom is wide and fabric of up to 42” can be woven on it.
In Assam we are using natural dyes to create different colours for our eri silk. In the surroundings of the village we work in, there are many plants which have been used as dyes in earlier days.
We are using the leaves of the teak tree (Tectona grandis) and the henna bush (Lawsonia inermis). Mehndi, often known as henna grows at many corners of the village and is utilized by the locals for beauty. Its color is similar to a camel beige.
Teak leaves are rarely used today. Their shade is an interesting blend of blue, green and grey tones. Everything is executed in the traditional style: making a fire, preparing the bath, dyeing the silk and washing the strands at the pump.