I found a sericulture collective in Cooch Behar that raises the elusive and *amazingly* beautiful Muga silk, Antheraea assamensis. They sent me a packet of samples. I’m SO buying some of this stuff as soon as possible.
These are muga cocoons – the Gold of Assam. They’re substantial, although thinner than Bombyx cocoons.
They can supply reeled muga yarn in two different qualities, hand-reeled and machine-reeled. This is hand reeled. It shines like polished gold or brass.
You can see that it’s untwisted filament, held together by the gum. It is a little bit stiff.
Let’s just look at the silk for just a moment. Ah, yes.
This is the machine-reeled muga. It’s twisted during the reeling process, so it has a little more consistency and strength, but a little less sheen.
Closeup of the machine-reeled muga.
As with all the silk varieties, waste from reeling is never wasted. This is mill-spun muga yarn. It’s about a 2/50’s or so.
This is the “muga wrapped tasar” yarn. I’m not 100% sure which part is what.
This is a really beautiful chainette. It’s softer than the other muga yarns. I think it’s probably made from the machine reeled filament, with some of the gum boiled off. It should make nice yarn for knitting.
Ghicha is a variety of yarn hand-spun from the remainder of cocoons after the “good stuff” is reeled off. It’s got a lot of character. Oh, and that’s a dime, for those of you who haven’t seen the old Mercury style. It’s the same size as a modern Eisenhower dime.
They also make Eri yarn. This is a thick-and-thin singles, with quite a range of thickness.
This is the sweet, sweet set of swatches they sent. There are several blends with muga and other silks, with linen, with cotton, with tasar. These are all handloom fabrics.
Muga x cotton
Muga x linen
Muga x cotton in a jacquard pattern of leaves and flowers
Muga and tasar. I think the muga is the background, the tasar is the lumpy thick yarn.
High-twist muga x cotton.
For me, the best piece is this large chunk of 100% hand-reeled muga. It’s got a sheen like nothing else. The hand of this silk is fairly stiff, because it is left in the gum.