Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Nature bazar Delhi, November 09

Taking part in Fairs and Bazars is always a lot of work, before, during and after. In its short existence malkha has shown twice at the Nature Bazars organized by Dastkar in Delhi and Bangalore. Now the next event is due and we are into the usual flurry of preparations. New this time will be 2 of Sutanu's print designs [see pics]as well as the unbleached plain production from two new centres. Of course old favourites, the natural dyes and pin stripes will be there too. In the pipeline but not ready yet is a portfolio of new weaves by Satish of Kora India.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

malkha spinners

At one of our malkha centres there are 24 women who are spinning in their homes on motorized 12-spindle charkhas. More are waiting to join them, but we are not able to produce enough sliver because of the swingeing power cuts - recently from 10 am to 6 pm!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

a malkha warp

Before a cotton warp can be mounted on the loom, the limp threads must be made stiff enough to stand the passage of the shuttle holding the weft. This is done by sizing the stretched warp with starch, and in the traditional handweaving process it is done by hand, laying out the warp along the street ['street-sizing', which is the reason traditional weaving villages are laid out along straght lines], spraying on the starch and then spreading it evenly with a sizing brush. In different parts of India different starches are used - wheat, millet or rice. Sizing usually happens in the early mornings before the sun is too hot.
Here are some pictures of a malkha warp being rolled up after being sized by the weaver family.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

the malkha advantage

Vishu Singhal, student of Textile Technology at IIT Delhi explains the malkha advantage:
".. the baler compresses the cotton into a rigid cubic structure.. bale density varies from 23-28 lbs per cubic ft. This is a highly compressed structure with a lot of inter fibre entanglements...The condensed bale can't be spun... During the blowroom opearations the fibres are literally torn apart from each other by mechanical action. This degrades some properties of the fibre like lustre and feel...

In contrast, the Malkha process bypasses the whole need of the baling process...the carding machine is ingeniously designed to treat the fibres very delicately...The end product, hence, has a better lustre and a softer feel".

Thanks Vishu.