In these long, hot days of summer, I’ve carved out a morning ritual: spinning a bit of cotton while I drink my morning tea. This is the time of year that I can take a few deep breaths and try to gather myself in between haymaking on the farm, writing and researching, prepping for fall workshops, and so on. In the repetitive movements of spinning, I can find a quiet, still space—do you?
My spinning POV also includes Indiana wildflowers that are great for dyeing: chicory (purple) and wild carrot (lacy and white)
A mug of tea and natural-colored cotton make a rich start to the day
I purchased my first traditional Indian book charkha from Eileen at New World Textiles. I’ve had fun getting to know my little charkha with its many latches and bits and pieces. I’ve spent time spinning cotton on tahkli spindles and my Lendrum over the years, but with more regular practice on the charkha, I’ve seen my skill improve.
A cop of Sally Fox’s cotton sliver
Sage advice that Stephenie Gausted passes along in her book on cotton puts it best: “Bette Hochberg once told me that the best teacher for spinning cotton was a pound of it.” So, it’s a good thing I bought that breathtaking cotton sliver while visiting Sally Fox’s California farm in the spring! I’ll have to order more before I slip my charkha into my suitcase and head to Montana for a weekend of yarn and yoga.
Ready to travel
For now, I sit in the morning on my front porch, drinking tea, spinning on my charkha, and listening to the birds in my beautiful old oaks.
Kate Larson is the editor of Spin Off and spends as many hours as life allows in the barn with her beloved flock of Border Leicesters.
Originally published 2015; updated July 6, 2018; updated August 31, 2022.