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I also feel that I am beginning to get the hang of the charkha.
However, this evening, thinking back on how I explained to the children the difference between spinning wool and cotton, and how certain spindles are better for one or the other, I pulled out my glass spindle (narrow whortle, spins faster but not very long) and the freshly carded cotton (prepared for the charkha) and spun. It worked. Best cotton thread I have produced this far. I can really do it!
This is exciting in itself, but tomorrow is my museum group, and next month I am supposed to give a short bit about spinning as part of an afternoon about cotton textiles in Africa, and I can tell the group leader that I will be able to demonstrate not just spinning with a spindle, but spinning cotton with the spindle she gave me from Burkino Faso. I am verp pleased with myself.
It's especially awesome that you're teaching spinning to children, and I'm sure those kids will always remember happily that hands-on lesson.
She had to be careful how she said it, too. In German idiom to say someone spins is to say that (s)he is crazy.
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