We started our production in 2010, in the villages of Andhra Pradesh. The two indigenous varieties of cotton are grown locally on few acres of land for our production. These varieties are rain fed and organically grown on the edges of land on which other lentils are grown as well. The multi-cropping technique helps maintain the balance of nutrients of land. 

 

Our team of spinners deseeds the cotton and spin into fine yarns by hand. The seeds are re-sown into the land and thus the cycle keeps going. 

 

Our  scarves  and saris are made with the traditional technique of three shuttle and inlay pattern technique which is also known as Jamdani

THE PROJECT

 

The entire process i.e. separation of cotton from the cotton seed, cleaning, combing, carding, spinning of yarn and weaving of fabric is all carried out by hand.

Handspun , handwoven was widely produced & used for clothing & home linen all over India until the influx of mill yarns imported by the British at first & later substituted by Indian mills. As a result, handlooms began to use mill yarns as they were smoother, stronger & easier to handle on the loom though that essentially meant compromising on the texture of the handspun fabrics.

 

The Making 

 

 

What is the difference between desi charkha and ambar charkha?

The hand spun yarns of the traditional spinning wheel have a much lower twist than the mechanized Amber spinning wheel which is a manual counterpart to the mill spinning mechanism. Thus, the fabric developed through weaving of hand spun yarn is more soft, supple and absorbent.

Why desi charkha ORGANIC fabrics?

  • Indigenous short staple rain fed organic cottons are ideal for handspinning on traditional charkha as the fibres are uneven not linear & interlock easily on a hand drawn spinning wheel.  

  • These indigenous cottons are hardy & require no extraneous inputs of ground water irrigation, fertilizer & pesticide except a mild protection with neem oil spray.     

  • Each handloom can provide gainful employment for 7 to 15 women & men from the cultivation stage, through cleaning, combing, carding, handspinng & handweaving in techniques that machines cannot easily or economically replicate.   

  • This could give India a monopoly in textured & patterned textiles, besides providing an ecologically sustainable economic & social model for development. 

  • This model also provides employment in fine hand skills for large numbers of women.

  • Cotton seeds of indigenous cottons are extracted by hand & selection of the best unbroken seeds are used for the next sowing & do not have to be purchased. The faulty or broken seeds are used or sold as high protein animal feed.

  • Drawing and twisting by hand renders an uneven texture and low twist to create greater absorbency for summer and warmth in winter.

  • Ideal for wearing and home use.

  • Healthy, supple, soft and soothing to touch for any skin type.

 

 

 

 

 

WHY HAND REELED OR LOW-TWIST SILKS?

 

There are numerous varieties of silks in India but we are losing these, not only because of the predominance of mulberry silk which was traditionally cultivated only in Kashmir in the north & in the Bishnupur region of West Bengal until Tipu Sultan introduced it in Karnataka & the British promoted it further. We have had more than 30 varieties of tussar silk, 3 to 6 varieties of Eri & Muga. In all these varieties upto the first 600mts can be machine reeled from the centre most part of the cocoon but as soon as it becomes slightly irregular, it breaks in the machine reeling process. This is where we have the greatest advantage & capability to hand reel these silk yarns to varying thickness to suit the needs of extra warp & extra weft patterning or even slubbing in coarse textures for home products or floor coverings. 

 

Each variety of silk has a different hue and colour because of the tree leaves they feed on and they range from beige through shades of brown to natural gold. The neglect of certain varieties of silk has made their cultivation decline along with hand reeling. 

Process pictures with captions 1 to 3 can be put here.

  • Hand reeling provides not only a wide range of yarns but also gainful employment to large number of women in the shade of their own home. 

  • These uneven silk yarns could provide India an added advantage in the Indian & world market with a texture element that is missing in machine reeled silks.

  • These uneven silk filaments would be rendered useless & be used as high protein animal feed if they were not used for a better economic purpose. 

SILK
COTTON

 

Handspinning of cotton on the traditional Desi Charkha/ traditional spinning wheel unfortunately, has become the most neglected & forgotten area whereas, the faster semi-mechanized Ambar Charkha has been in favour over the last 50 years. Therefore, a determined effort is being made to develop hand spinning upto 115s count on the Desi Charkha & develop 115s to 500s count on the Ambar Charkha so that they do not compete with mill yarns which averages at 120s count.