Fabric Made from Spider Silk

The largest piece of cloth ever made from spider silk measures four feet wide and eleven feet long. To make it, 70 people collected golden orb spiders over four years! The spiders were then hooked up to a machine that extracted the silk from the spiders without harming them, in a project headed by Nicholas Godley and textile expert Simon Peers.

To get as much silk as they needed, Godley and Peers began hiring dozens of spider handlers to collect wild arachnids and carefully harness them to the silk-extraction machine. “We had to find people who were willing to work with spiders,” Godley said, “because they bite.”

By the end of the project, Godley and Peers extracted silk from more than 1 million female golden orb spiders, which are abundant throughout Madagascar and known for the rich golden color of their silk. Because the spiders only produce silk during the rainy season, workers collected all the spiders between October and June.

Then an additional 12 people used hand-powered machines to extract the silk and weave it into 96-filament thread. Once the spiders had been milked, they were released into back into the wild, where Godley said it takes them about a week to regenerate their silk. “We can go back and re-silk the same spiders,” he said. “It’s like the gift that never stops giving.”

The resulting cloth is on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Link

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So is it as bullet proof as they say it is? Last I heard they were genetically engineering goats to "milk" a form of spider silk, because as you can see doing it the natural way is quite time consuming. Regardless, it's a beautiful piece of work.
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