The Yuki area of Ibaraki Prefecture had been a center for sericulture since ancient times. Based on this, Yuki Tsumugi was woven during slack periods of the farming year and cloth was supplied to the Imperial Court during the Nara period (710-794).
Yuki, in fact, who was the lord of the fief in the Kamakura period (1185-1333) worked hard to protect and nurture the weaving of this cloth and ultimately, his name was given to the cloth. Its reputation was enhanced when Ina Chuji, who had became chief magistrate, introduced new techniques from Shinshu and Kyoto. Various technical improvements were made on entering the modern age and especially with the development of ikat weaving, it became possible to produce a pongee of the very highest quality.
Because threads are pulled by hand from the silk floss, and a hundred or so threads of different lengths are intertwined one by one, the yarn is representative of kasadaka fiber, which has no twist. For this reason, it has the simplicity of woven cotton even though it is made of silk and is, in the main, used to make kimono and obi.
Yuki Tsumugi textiles are the prime representative of the Kasadakaseni textile style, in which thousands of threads are hand-pulled from silk floss, each of slightly differing length, and then woven into a fabric without any twisting of the threads. This produces a fabric which could be mistaken for cotton with its rustic simplicity, but is in fact made of silk.
How to make
All steps of producing Yuki Tsumugi fabrics are done completed by hand. The three primary steps of pulling the threads, dying them using an ikat technique, and then weaving them on a loom have all been designated as intangible cultural properties. To make a single kimono fabric, nearly 30 km of thread is pulled by hand, and using a 600 g shuttle, over 30 thousand weft threads are woven. Even a 1 mm error in the weaving will disturb the ikat dyed pattern, making the weaving a painstakingly fine process.