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Thursday, 23 June 2011

Worms, worms, everywhere!

Just thought I'd give you a quick update on the silkworms.  They're growing at a phenomenal rate, and yesterday they started shedding their skins for the first time.  It seems to have given them a bit more freedom to grow, must have been a bit restricted with the old, tight, skin.  Photo :-

I think tomorrow they're going to have to go into a bigger box - they're crawling over each other in their present one.

Saw these weeds at a friend's house yesterday, and recognised them as horsetail or marestail.  Apparently it's possible to get a green colour from them, so I picked a carrier bag full and brought them home.

Today I chopped them into pieces and put them in a large pan of water to heat.  I boiled them for about an hour, and left them to cool.  When I checked the colour of the water this evening, it's very weak and watery.  I really can't imagine them dyeing anything pale yellow, let alone green.  Maybe it was too late in the season?  Perhaps they should be younger plants?  I will try a small sample of wool to see what happens, but don't expect much from it.  If anyone knows what I've done wrong, I'd be grateful for any tips.


  1. I'm so excited to read about your silk worms! Cultivating silk worms is something I've considered trying for a few years but I haven't plucked up the courage to give it a go yet... I'm really interested to see how you get on!

    I'm also fascinated to see how your dyeing experiment with horsetail works out... we're looking after a friend's allotment that's covered in the stuff so I'd love to find something useful to do with it all!

    Looking forward to reading more about your fibre adventures! Kate :)

  2. Hi Kate,
    Thanks for your interest - I think these silkworms are one of the most fascinating projects I've ever had. I just can't stop watching them! I'll be keeping the blog updated with their progress.

    The horsetail has been a bit of a flop I'm afraid, but apparently they do have lots of medicinal uses, so that might be of interest.