Cotton! I spin it, weave it, dye it with natural dyes, and teach all of the above internationally.
I spin on an Indian book charkha. For me, this activity is meditative, and serves to center me, and in the words of someone more eloquent, “reconnect to the source of the gift“.
My students have been great teachers, and inspire me
to develop new methods for teaching and for doing. Before I started
teaching, though, I was introduced to the industrial side of cloth
production. I have always loved fabric, learned to sew when I was 12 or
13, and spent many hours of my youth in
fabric stores. Even after I started weaving, it never occurred to me to
analyze mill-woven cloth. Imagine my surprise when I learned that most
mill-woven cloth is made of singles in both warp and weft.
So--if they could do that under conditions much harsher than those of a handweaver, why couldn’t I? So then I developed a shuttle to hold the charkha spindle so I could weave with my singles. (Terry Lavallee at Bluster Bay Woodworks makes them for me). I call it a "khadi khanoo" because khadi is handspun, handwoven, and it's a boat shuttle. A small child saw me weaving with it and told me it looked like a canoe.