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Topic: Many questions about a project I'm considering - can anyone help?  (Read 781 times)
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« on: November 08, 2007 11:04:58 PM »

Hi everyone,

First off, let me just say that I really have no idea about...well, really anything about spinning, so be aware that I'll probably come off sounding like a moron.

Moving on. I am taking a Social Justice class with a professor who has pretty much inspired me beyond belief. He is a great man, and we have had a few little conversations that have made me admire him even more not just for his knowledge in the classroom, but also for his passion outside of it.

He recently was talking about Gandhi in our class - in fact, we actually watched a film about him just yesterday. As some of you may know, one of his nonviolent ways of revolting against the British was to spin his own thread out of cotton and use it to make cloth to then make his traditional Indian garments, and he encouraged other Indians to do the same.

That bit of knowledge inspired me (as well as made Gandhi pretty much my hero), and I was thinking that I might attempt to make something out of handspun cloth for him in the fashion that Gandhi did as a little thank-you-for-inspiring-me gift at the end of the semester.

The only problem is, I know virtually nothing about spinning thread, or cloth...or anything like that, really...ha, I don't even really know if this is the right place to post this, but I'll give it a shot.

One, is this project even possible/heard of in this day and age?

Two, how ambitious is this craft I'm thinking of? I figure I'm probably only going to make a cuff/bracelet out of this cloth, but how long and how hard is the whole process?

Three, off of the top of your head, what type of equipment would I need and how would I get about purchasing it or finding somewhere to use it? I'm assuming a spinning wheel, but is there anything else? I figure there has to be...

Four, pretty much the same question about materials. Gandhi used cotton, so I'm figuring I might use that. Where could I find some (save picking it myself)? Would I need anything else?

Last but not least, five...um, does anyone have any experience with this whole process of handspinning thread and making it into cloth, or does anyone have any resources they'd like to share? I'd GREATLY appreciate ANY help or guidance I can get.

Please, feel free to include anything else I'm forgetting as well, and if there are some traditional Indian colors that you think I should use, please let me know about those too.

I figure if all else fails, I'll just buy handspun cloth (is that even the right term?) and make a cuff out of it instead, but I'd really like to try this the Gandhian way.

Wow, okay, thank you for reading all of that. You guys do some amazing work in here - nearly every time I pop my head in, I can find something to be envious of. Keep it all up and I hope that with his project I might learn how to join your ranks.

With bread and roses,

« Last Edit: November 08, 2007 11:06:50 PM by instantkarma » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2007 06:53:28 AM »

I believe Gandhi spun on a Charka, which I personally have never used but they are still available for sale. If you didn't want to invest a lot of money buying one however, you'll need a drop spindle. You can find them for as little as $5 or so on Ebay or webstores.

It didn't take me long to learn to spin, so I bet you could do it. See if there are any spinning guilds in your area to teach you, if not then buy a book.

To get this yarn into fabric, you'll need to weave it on a loom, knit it, or crochet it.

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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2007 07:47:51 AM »

Spinning on a charka is a bit harder then spinning on a regular wheel. Cotton has a short staple and it difficult to spin alone. I think you best bet would be to find your local spinning guild and see if anyone has a charka wheel they would let you practice on.

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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2007 01:26:07 PM »

One, is this project even possible/heard of in this day and age?

Not only heard of and possible, but done every single day!!

I do not recommend starting with a charka & spinning cotton - quite a task in its self (although not impossible since you've not spun before and haven't developed the habits of spinning wool)

You can make your own cigar box charka http://www.interweave.com/spin/projects/Cigar-boxCharkha.pdf or start with a drop spindle and wool (I can send you some roving to use).

Then make your self a simple loom using stiff cardboard or a frame loom using wood & finishing nails. (Weaving Without a Loom by Veronica Burningham) is a nice book for this.


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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2007 05:56:27 PM »

I would say to look around and see if there is a weavers guild close to you. Weavers guilds are full of other crafters, including spinners.  Grin Some one will have equipment, know how, and probably be willing to help you! (unless you want to buy all the equipment...)
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