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New World Textiles

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Eileen Hallman - Black Mountain, North Carolina

Eileen Hallman – Black Mountain, North Carolina

 

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Cotton!

I spin it, weave it, and dye it with natural dyes, and teach all of the above internationally. I can sew, too, but truthfully it’s on the bottom of the list.

I have been obsessed with cotton since the early 1980s when I learned to spin my home grown colored cotton on a great wheel. I graduated quickly to the charkha, which is the portable cotton spinning wheel that Gandhi popularized in India beginning around 1930. While I do spin and weave with other fibers, the organic cottons are my passion.

New World Textiles opened as a mail order supplier in 1995, providing cotton rich blends of spinning fibers for handspinners. Working mostly with organic, naturally pigmented, and recycled cottons and develop spinning slivers for handspinners. I also blend these cottons with other natural fibers to provide cotton spinners with a wide selection of cotton-rich fibers to choose from.

My engineering background surfaces in my development of tools and techniques; as a weaver, I realized that the charkha spindle was small enough to fit into a shuttle, and if such a thing existed, I could eliminate several steps in the production of cloth. In 1996 I introduced the Khadi Khanoo spindle shuttle so that I could go directly to the loom with my handspun.

Additionally, because I also work with cotton sliver that is colored, I eliminated even more steps between yarn production and patterned cloth production. I began spinning in a color sequence to obtain weft stripes. From there, I added warp stripes using commercial yarns to come up with a single shuttle plaid. The shuttle and the color sequence in the weft combine to simplify the weaving of plaids or weft stripes.

Along the way, I also realized that there is little to no usage of singles in the handweaving world. I began exploring the use and manipulation of yarn energy; any singles yarn has energy, but the amount of twist is very important. I find the hand of a fabric woven with singles is much softer and responsive to the touch than a cloth made with balanced yarns. In experiments with energy and weave structure, I developed a method to shape cloth on the loom. I call the technique “Crepe & Shape”.

In 2008, I started exploratory research on a treated cotton product used in industry but unknown to the craft community. Just as I thought I had a product line laid out, the mill went out of business… It took me another two years to find it, and I first offered it to handspinners as Dyer’s Delight EZ Dye cotton. In 2011, I was able to make yarn for handweavers. At the same time, I began working on a new product line, fabric! Mill woven, not handwoven, imagine! I also renamed EZ Dye to Dye-Lishus® cotton and applied for the trademark. The trademark was granted in October 2013.

The fabric line launched in May of 2013.

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