Tuesday, September 06, 2016


All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds, wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.

T. E. Lawrence

Handspun and hand woven cotton!
Why is handspun and hand-woven wool so much harder?

Why do people who seem not to be moving their craft forward, complain about the speed that I move my craft forward?  Why do they complain about my progress without seeing what I have actually done recently?   I solve many of my craft problems, without posting them.  While, I do not see them posting any textile craft solutions at all.

Making sweaters is doing the same thing over and over.   Unless the successive sweaters are better, faster, or cheaper, they are repeats of previous experience, that do not add significant additional expertise.  If you want to claim years of experience, then you should be show a consistent progression toward  better, faster, or cheaper.  If you progress by taking classes, then you are gaining expertise, but you are not advancing the craft.  To advance the craft, we must dream by day.

Where are the other "dreamers of the day"?  We should track "dreamers of the day", for they are dangerous.  (Actually, I think they are rather a fun lot, full of ideas, and always seeking a better, faster, cheaper path to "Better, Faster, Cheaper".)  We dreamers of the day take Blaize to be our hero.  Then, we ask, what is the Noble thing?

Do we consider the "Yarn Harlot" to be a "Dangerous Dreamer of the Day"? No, she follows and reports recent trends and fads, with pleasant humor. She tells us that what modern knitters are doing is good.  She does not incite revolution, she calms.

The cotton above is a commercial product from India. During the Old Kingdom period, when Egyptians were making exceptionally fine linen, they were also importing cotton cloth of similar fineness from India. Thus, I do not feel bad about using fine cotton cloth from India.


Ruth B said...

So it's not handspun, handwoven cotton that you've photographed. It's commercial cotton from India, where, you may find it hard to believe, ! India, you see, is a modern country, and their cotton is made on modern machinery, so if you are attempting to show this as an example of the kind of textile you are producing using handspun and handwoven methods, you are showing that you haven't produced anything. As usual.

Aaron said...

Sorry Ruth B - look around!

That cloth IS hand woven from handspun yarn. Today, in India, such cloth is produced as a commercial product - and yes they make a profit.

It is a volume commercial product! (Sold by -- Costco amongst other retailers.) That tells us that handspun/hand woven cloth CAN be produced at a commercial pace.

It is advertised as "weatherproof", and it is one of the most comfortable shirts that I own for outdoor wear. It is a very good product, and it is a very smart commercial product. It also tells us that American hobby spinners and weavers have a great deal to learn.

Last week, we were up, along the Oregon coast and the wind was howling. On land, and even on the beach, the conditions were lovely shorts and t-shirt weather. A 100-yards off shore was a different story, with most huddled in layers and layers of Cabelas ( http://www.cabelas.com/catalog/browse/mens-hunting-clothing/_/N-1100943/Ns-CATEGORY_SEQ_104748480) until they looked like a "Michlan's Man" that had been in a paint ball fight.

If the "Indians" are clever enough to handspin/hand weave such cotton fabrics on a commercial basis at a profit, why are we rich hobby folk with all of our toys not able to spin fine and weave such fine fabrics, even when we do not have to make a profit?

A Fisherman Lies said...

FFS, Aaron. How many people do you think were involved in spinning the cotton for that fabric? And how much do you think they were paid? How many hours do they work per week? In what conditions? Supporting the exploitation of poor textile workers in India is bad enough; *advocating* for that exploitation is worse. You are an ignorant fool.

Ruth B said...

Show us the tag where it says handspun and handwoven on your commercially made cotton shrt, and then I just might believe you. Why would people in India hand spin and hand weave cotton shirts to sell to Costco? Just because it says "made in India" doesn't mean it's hand spun and hand woven. They do have factories there, or didn't you know that?

Egg-Blog said...

Exploitation largely.

goldfishy said...


These costco weatherproof cotton buttondowns? That are made in CHINA?

writethewrite said...

Could you add a photograph of the label to help us please.

Luisa Vasconcelos said...

I REALLY would love to see photos of the the works you claim to have made.

Aaron said...


Aaron said...

Even with domestic tools available in India, hand spun/ hand woven is very hard, and by our standards, low paid work.

However, a trained professional spinner or weaver is more productive than western hobbyists would believe. Thus they can make more money than you expect. I believe, because I do not know anyone else that spins as fast as I do. Not even Stephenie Gaustad or Judith MacKenzie McCuin. I can spin this fast, even with Lyme disease, because I put a lot of effort into recovering old tool designs, and making tools to spin fast.

And,wages are relative. Spinning and weaving are skills with value. Having a skill with value makes higher wages possible than not having such skills. I did not go look, perhaps the hand spinners and weavers are being exploited. However, economics tells us that they are being less exploited than less skilled persons.

Ruth B said...

You didn't go look, therefore, you do not know. Do your homework, Aaron!

writethewrite said...

I don't think they are not highly skilled and the level of exploitation is irrelevant. If they are less exploited then they die slower right. Their excellent fabrics (not convinced that Costco sells items made with such fabric) should command at least fair payment. It does show why we don't produce these fabrics commercially; we can't produce the fabrics and meet standards for wages and working conditions while still producing something affordable.

Aaron said...

I did not keep the packaging that said, "Hand spun", "Hand Woven"!

Unless you have ALL the packaging from every garment that you bought over the last few years, you are trying to hold me to a different standard than you hold yourself.