Spinning silk is one of the strangest processes I’ve ever seen. It’s truly a wonder how anyone could conceive and engineer this process. Above are step-by-step photos to illustrate:
The process begins by gathering the larval cocoons of silk worms. Inside each fuzzy egg is a dead larvae; if you shake one, you can hear the dead insect rattle inside. If you tug at the cocoon fuzz with your fingers, it will delicately lift from the shell, like pulling the fuzz off of a sweater. In a large vat of water floats about one hundred of these cocoons. A small broom is brushed across the top of the wet cocoons, snagging the peripheral fuzz of each egg. Several wet strands are lifted, fed through a needle, then wound around a large spool. The spool is cranked by hand to twist and spin the silk into one long continuous thread directly from the eggs in the water.
I read this as a kid and it had a really significant effect on me and and it’s a big influence on my world view and I still think it’s the most beautiful and profound thing anyone’s ever said about beauty