japan, part II: silk making

japan, part I, coming to japan
7. March 2012
japan part III, recap
19. March 2012

japan, part II: silk making

Kyoto, you’re a beauty! I have been biking around Kyoto on Masumi Honde’s bicycle, making several wrong turns and ending up seeing more of the city than planned for. But that isn’t bad – not at all! I have seen a lot of teeny tiny beauties; narrow streets, people in fantastic outfits, cute houses, wooden fences, coloured tape on a broken lamppost, and so much more… Pictures have been taken, but they are for a later post, so stay tuned!

Yesterday I went on a field trip to see how the silk for kimonos is made. After a lecture in Japanese,  in a small shop, with a very kind man, who I think was called Hanzo,  we walked through the rain to a small factory, where the silk is washed and dyed. washing machines for silk, the left one had just finished, and the right one started just after I took the picture

little samples of dyed silk, used to get the exact colour on the skein – he dyes only one at a time, and might have to change the amount of dye up to 30 times (!) before the skein has the exact colour

Then we moved on to another factory where the yarn is put on spools.
The yarn arrives at the factory like this:

and ends on these: 

This factory has three machines for this These are the only ones in Japan. I’m in love with their simplicity (please note the little white ceramic rings, that serve as weights) and efficiency at the same time.

It was a great trip. Thanks to the great guide and the rest of our nice group, especially thanks to the sweet ladies who translated for me!

I also would like to thank Ryohei Sasatani, who makes documentary films. He is the official Sheep Palette photographer and he helped me to get to the starting point of the trip.

I ended my day having dinner at Biotei, which I hereby recommend to everybody. If you’re ever in Kyoto and if you’re into vegan/vegetarian food, this is the place to go! Great service, and great food!


Tonight I’ll be doing my lecture. I’m looking so much forward to it!


  1. Dieuwke says:

    Jeg er misundelig! Du tager vel noget af silkegarnet med, ikke? Eller – i hvert fald noget spændende japansk garn?

  2. rodprjónar says:

    It seems that you’re having a great time in Japan!

    A few days ago I was wondering about how was the process of making silk (since I am knitting with silk right now for the first time!). Lucky you to be able see that!

    How was your lecture!?

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