The oboe swabs clean the entire instrument fully assembled. They have a safety cord on the back end so that if there were a knot in one and it got stuck, it could be pulled back out the way it went in. All oboe swabs now use a straight weight instead of a ball chain for the weight.
Silk is very absorbent, soaking up water in instruments better than any other natural material on the market, including both cotton and chamois. Most uniquely, silk is also very compressible, making it possible to pull through instruments with large variations in bore size. In addition, silk is lint-free.