Chances are you already have a couple of dyed silk hankies tucked away in your stash—perhaps they were too alluring to pass up, even though you weren’t quite sure what to do with them.
Silk hankies or mawata are made from silk cocoons that are intact (the transformation of the silk worm into the moth was arrested so that the moth did not break through the cocoon) but not suitable for reeling. The cocoons are soaked in warm, soapy water to remove the sericin that binds the fibers together. The remains of the worm are removed, and the cocoon is stretched out and eased over a small wood frame (or in the case of silk caps and bells, over an archshaped mold). Each layer in a hankie is composed of several cocoons.