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 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.
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.