Yarn of Hope – Desi wool of Kutch

Farmers used to invite us to spend time on their farms with our animals. This is because animal excreta is good manure. In return some farmer used to give us cash, while others would give us tea and sugar, or cereals. This is how things used to be. We used to accept whatever they could offer. We would settle down for couple of days and then move on to other pastures. We are Rabaris. We are identified by three things: The first is our turban, the next is our Kediya (jacket) and lastly our stick. These three items are part of our identity. Wherever we go, we are instantly recognized as Rabaris. Even in towns we are recognized as Rabaris. People recognize us by our clothing and accessories. Life was good when we had animals. We had our own milk and dairy products were homemade. We would drink tea in the mornings and leave home to herd our sheep. I used to move with the herds too. After finishing washing and cleaning we used to find a shady place to sit to work on wool. We would separate the fibres for two days, and then spin for a day. Our women use the wheel to spin. The yarn used to be then handed to the weavers. We used to hand over the yarn when the weavers had spare time. Weavers used to dye the yarn. And then weave and hand over the finished product to us. Wool from desi sheep is to easy to spin Wool of hybrid breeds is difficult to spin. Wool from hybrid sheep is short staple and the yarn made of such wool breaks easily. Desi wool fabric lasts longer Because the yarn is strong and smooth. These are the primary benefits of desi wool. Fashion rules us these days. Artificial fibres such as terry cotton and factory produced fabrics are popular now. One will never be cold in desi wool cloth no matter how cold the weather And even in peak summers desi wool keeps the wearer cool because it breathes well. Now we have machines to clean wool. About 15 of us in our village work as spinners. We use the machine to clean the wool. Everyone spins to their ability. Some are experts while others are still learning. Slowly we will produce more yarn. We are very happy with Khamir. We wish spinning continues for ever We don’t want to lose this skill. This project will do well for a long time.

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