Cane brush is the best bed for them to wind in. When that cannot be had, cut oak limbs ; lay them in the sun to wilt: if they are put up green and the worm commences winding in them the leaves curl and the worm has to leave its place to find a better, and will seldom begin again. Cut the brush of the right length to spring in between the frames. The frames should be eighteen inches apart, three tier, one above the other, the lower one two feet from the ground. When feeding, after the brush are put up, lay the butt-end of the multicaulis branches (nothing else is worth feeding with) snug to the oak bushes, that the worms can get to them when they want to wind. After most of the worms on a frame are gone up, pick off the rest and mark the frame : in four days gather the cocoons, if the weather is warm ; if not, in six days. Having the oldest worms in the upper tier, you can take them down with out disturbing the rest.
After the cocoons are gathered, select the best for seed. When the millers come out, throw all the poor ones out, if there are any. The papers intended for the eggs, are hung up to keep them clean, as there will be nothing on them but the eggs. To keep eggs from hatching in summer, roll the papers in cotton bat ting, put it in a wooden box and place them in an ice house on the ice ; cover it with straw and they will keep well. The cocoons intended for reeling are put in the sun as soon as they are gathered ; spread them thin, and a few days will kill the chrysalis. They must be well dried or they will mould. The pea-nut being much firmer and heavier, takes longer to kill and dry than any other va riety. To sum up the whole : have good, well-kept eggs ; give them plenty of room (an ounce of eggs, when the worms ure full grown, should have twenty-five frames, three by four feet, to feed and wind on).
This is very essential. Keep them clean ; feed in an open building; close it only when it is very windy. Cultivate your trees well ; if they are not thrifty the worms will not be; yellow leaves will not do. Feed the worms all they will eat from the start. It is better to have them leave some, than not have enough. Have a good place for them to wind in ; and if the weather is warm and uniform, the worms will do their part. If any are dis eased, pick them off.
After the worm has enveloped itself in the cocoon, seven or eight days are per mitted to elapse before the balls are ga thered ; the next process is to destroy the life of the chrysalides, which is done either by exposure to the sun, or by the heat of an oven or of steam. The cocoons are next separated from the floss, or loose downy substance, which envelopes the compact balls, and are then ready to be reelect. For this purpose, they are thrown into a boiler of hot water, for the purpose of dissolving the gum, and, be ing gently dressed with a brush, to which the threads adhere, the reeler is thus enabled to disengage them. The ends of
four or more of the threads thus cleared are passed through holes in an iron bar, after which two of these compound threads are twisted together, and made fast to the reel. The length of reeled silk, obtained from a single cocoon, va ries from 300 to 600 yards ; and it has been estimated, that 12 lbs. of cocoons, the produce of the labors of 2,800 worms, who have consumed 152 lbs. of mulberry leaves, give 1 lb. of reeled silk, which may be converted into 16 yards of Bros de Na ples.
Those cocoons which have been per forated cannot be reeled, but must be spun, on account of the breaks in the thread. The produce of these balls, when worked, is called,fiertret.
Reeling is a branch of the silk business, which more properly comes under the head of manufacturing. farmer who engages in the silk culture, in order to avail himself of an additional profit, should provide his family with a suitable reel, by the use of which, after a little experience, he will be enabled to offer his silk in market, in a form that will greatly enhance its value, and much re duce the trouble and expense of trans portation. Reels can now be procured in almost any of the principal cities at a small cost, or they can be made by any ingenious farmer or carpenter. The reel now uniformly used, is that known as the Piedmontese.
All attempts to improve this reel in its general principles, have failed. At Econ oiny, however, they have made an addi tion which may be found useful. It con sists of two pair of whirls, made of wire, in the form of an aspel to a reel, about four inches long and two and a half inches across at the ends, the wires be ing bent in the middle, leaving them about one and a half inches across from arm to arm, making the circumference about six inches. These whirls are set in an iron frame, and run each upon two points or centres. Each pair is set equi distant, on a direct line, about eight inches apart, between the first guides i and those on the traverse bar, instead of making the usual number of turns around each thread, as they pass be tween the guides on the reel. With this arrangement, each thread is taken from the basin and passed through the first guides, then carried over and around the two whirls, and where they pass each other on the top, the turns are made ne cessary to give firmness to the thread, then passing directly through the guides in the traverse bar to the arms of the reel, making each thread in reeling in dependent of the other. This enables the reeler, when a remnant of cocoons are to be finished on leaving the work, to unite both threads into one, retaining the necessary size; whereas both Would be too fine if continued on the reel in the ordinary manner.