On my last day in Cambodia visiting my friend, we took an adventure out to a silk making place across the river. The ferry crossing was a little interesting as most are in SE Asia but we made it across safely with our tuktuk driver so we were happy.
They showed us a back area with silk worms all nestled into their cocoons. Cambodian silk is more yellow (thus yellow cocoons) whereas Vietnamese silk is whiter. But to get “bridal white,” chemicals are needed.
They take half of the silk worms/cocoons for silk and the other half for mating. They have to get to the silk before the worm bites a hole through the cocoon or else the silk cannot be used. Each cocoon contains 300-500 meters of silk. The cocoons are boiled and the end of the silk is located. It is then gathered and a strong fiber is created as the cocoons are unraveled.
It takes two weeks to setup the looms for weaving the garments!