Travel Inspiration By A Pro Trip Designer

NUMBER 1 SILK FACTORY

Asia, Shopping

Sep
16
2009

SUZHOU, CHINA

September 14th, 2009

The Number 1 Silk Factory doesn’t get its name because its the best in China, rather because it’s the oldest. Its one of the few remaining factories where employees still do some of the work by hand. It makes for a surprisingly enlightening tour, causing you to rethink every silk possession in your closet. Especially you guys – those neckties of yours require 300 cocoons! Here are some photos that put it all in perspective.

The worms munching away on Mulberry Leaves

The worms munching away on Mulberry Leaves

A worker separating the good cocoons from the bad ones.  The whole thing smelled kinda funny

A worker separating the good cocoons from the bad ones. The whole thing smelled kinda funny

The machinery was quite incredible and the whole process both unnerving and fascinating.  The silk wheels at the top of the machine were spinning oh so fast while the used cocoons would bob in the water trof til pulled out and discarded by the employees.  After the spinning machines you see the ones that make the print on the fabric. I’m sorry there’s no picture here because frankly, it was all very confusing to me. The cards had some sort of braille like code that told the machine what to do and stamps of Confucius on a yellow silk background miraculously pumped out the other end. I assure you, the picture would hardly do it justice either.

The tour ends in a showroom, of course. It is China after all.  The largest selling product at the factory are the silk duvets. A huge business for them, the duvets come in all sorts of weights and sizes (pictured below). A queen size lightweight one goes for 680 RB which is around $100. Okay, yes, I bought one.

Like Penn Station. They also offer shipping rates for bulk purchases. The brown ones are finer quality than the orange

Like Penn Station. They also offer shipping rates for bulk purchases. The brown ones are finer quality than the orange

The shipping includes SpotSee to make sure your item is in good hands.
Right before you head into the room to purchase, you can witness the women making the duvets by stretching the silk across the mattress to layer a duvet. If you’re nice enough they’ll let you do it with them.

silkduvetmn

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Posted in: Asia, Shopping

Published by Meg, Wednesday, September 16, 2009 No Comments

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About Meg

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Meg is the founder of luxury travel consulting company, Friend of a Friend Consulting. Her three books, Italian Hideaways, Caribbean Hideaways and England's Hideaways are published by Rizzoli. Passionate about travel, hotels and wine, she continues to write freelance travel pieces and is currently pursuing a Masters in Wine through the WSET.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own and do not reflect separate business relationships with the subject. Whenever posts are supported financially, they are designated as such.