Thursday, Nov. 12, 2009

Spiderweb Silk

Spiders spin webs with a stretchy material that's stronger than steel and far more flexible. But attempts to use the creepy crawlers for making fabrics have had little success — until now. This year British textiles expert Simon Peers and American fashion designer Nicholas Godley unveiled an 11-ft.-long (3.4 m) spider-silk cloth made in Madagascar. Creating it wasn't easy. Each day 70 people collected thousands of golden orb spiders. Workers carefully spooled out the saffron-hued filament from each spider before releasing it. All told, the feat took four years, half a million dollars and more than a million spiders — and, yes, they sometimes bite.