This past week was the Master Spinner 3 course, which was an off campus course, taught through the Olds College Master Spinner program. We had an amazing group of gals registered and our instructor, Michelle Boyd, was a whiz with teaching technical intricacies of spinning. I had wanted to photo document all sorts of things, but of course, that didn't happen. Mainly, we were too busy writing notes, watching demonstrations or trying out those skills for ourselves. The two days I forgot the camera didn't help either :).
Here is the yummy part! When the cocoon is flat and soft, there will be dark spots in them. Well, actually, a large dark lump and a small dark lump. The large dark lump is the caterpillar and the small dark lump is caterpillar poo! Once the bug and its poo are removed from the cocoon, we were shown 3 different ways to spread the cocoon over the frame we needed to bring with us. I found the easiest way was to cut a slit in the soft, white mass, flick the bug and it's droppings out with my scissors, and then stretch the soft, white mass from corner to corner, diagonally on the frame. Then it was easy to put the other corners on and attach the sides to all the little pins.
Here is my frame, with 10 cocoons spread on it, laying out to dry. It dried quite stiff and a quick dunk in a sink of water, with a bit of vinegar added, quickly washed any residue off and left a very soft silk hankie to dry. It's hardly thicker than a sheet of paper and really difficult to believe that there are so many cocoons in there. I only know, because I counted that many bugs on the counter, beside me!