The City of Suzhou

Tour Day 16: Sunday, May 6, 2001

#1 Silk Factory & Choyers

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Cocoons to Skeins

These women are operating machines that spin the silk filaments into skeins. One cocoon is attached to each spindle. This makes it better understood why the filament of each cocoon must be unbroken.

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Stretching the Cocoon

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Stretching the Floss To Bed Size

These Choyers pictures explain how they stretch a cocoon to blanket size.
When they finish the batting, they put it into a cotton gauze-like cover. It's like a big pillow slip with a zipper closing. The whole thing is inserted into a zippered cover that is used on the bed.

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Making it Quilt-Sized.

We can testify that these quilts are light as a feather and very warm.
They make them in 3 weights. Rushed, and not knowing what the weights actually are, we bought a heavy one. Light or medium weight would have been more appropriate for us.

Note to those trying to contact the factory:

Since these pages have appeared on the Web several people have sent emails requesting a Web site URL or an email address so that they could make contact. As of January 2003, we have not been able to find this information. One correspondent did give us this telephone number 011 86 512 65251047, and we have passed it along to those who have written. Our correspondent was informed that a Web site was "under construction." If any of our viewers find the address of the proposed Web site or the email address, please send it to us and we'll post it on this page so that others may more easily get the information.

Cleve Whatley says he got the following phone number for the factory in April 2005:
011-86-512-65208807. You might want to try this one first, since it is more up-to-date than the one listed above.

Another correspondent has supplied this address for the company:
          Suzhou No. 1 Silk Mill China Co., Ltd.
          No. 94 Nan Men Road
          Suzhou City

Thanks to David and Lynn we now have the following email address:

August 15, 2006: Mary Jean Crandall sent a request for help in purchasing another quilt. Unfortunately, we can be of no more help than any other tourist. But she did mention a Web site. A Google on 1st Silk gleaned this Web address:

We're pleased that the good folks at the Number 1 Silk Factory have finally gotten a Web site up and going. Now if they'll just get someone on board that can translate for the folks, they'll sell boat loads of silk quilts to the people who have visited them over the years. Do take time to visit their Web site. It's a little slow loading, but worth the wait.

If you are contenplating a visit to the factory, and are interested in buying a quilt, the time to order is while you are there. We were advised to air the duvet in the sun every two weeks. And to wash it in cold water as needed. (The heavy weight duvet may be too warm for most American homes.)

For those wanting help in communicating with the folks at the factory: Our best suggestion is to cultivate the friendship of one of the many Chinese Americans who are in nearly every community in this country. You likely will become richer from the experience, and you will find most to be very friendly open people who are pleased to become acquainted with you. I'd be surprised if they would refuse to help you after you have become acquainted.

Where do you find these people? They are in nearly every Chinese restaurant in the land. Many are new to this country, and would welcome help in learning English. It could be a great exchange with people showing some interest in learning Chinese.

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Photo by Gavin Wang

Gavin Wang, a Suzhou native was kind enough to contribute some pictures of his city for our viewing pleasure. The Chinese people themselves make up the largest tourist group touring that country. Gavin toured the local silk factory one day and took some pictures.

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Photo by Gavin Wang

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