Khaadi. Khadi. Khaddi..... Is basically a hindi word meaning 'hand spun cloth'. Of course, it didn't originally need a name because all cloth was hand spun, but if there was a time that it got its 'label', then the origin was probably Bangladeshi. It is a hand spun, hand woven, natural fibre.
Most Khadi is pure cotton, but some has silk or wool fibres woven into the yarn. It can feel fine, and the silk gives a cool, slight sheen. Wool fibres add a different feel again. It can also be heavy enough to have a texture of a light weight linen. Khadi is traditionally a rustic, working man's cloth but, depending on the delicacy of spun yarn, the more exquisite muslins can cost a fortune. The loose weave means it washes and dries well. It's cool to wear on hot days, and insulating on colder days. What more could we want from a fabric?
Well, it could be cheaper! We could choose a nice uniformly mill spun and manufactured cotton. No flaws in the thread. No colour change along the roll. We'd know it was cotton and we'd get what we ask for. But every small narrow roll of this fabric is different. It has to be felt. It has to be studied. You need to see what imperfections you're buying.
And, for me, the more 'irregularities', the more beautiful the cloth is!
It shows that somebody has toiled over this cloth and, with each meter, we get a reminder. Were those hands cared for? Loved? Hungry? Were the owner's musings happy? Spiritual? I can't be sure.
Mahatma Ghandi put Khadi cloth on the world map when he encouraged the 1920 boycotting of English manufactured cloth.
In a passive resistance to the rule of the British Empire, he spun Khadi on his simple 'charkha' wheel, and encouraged all households to follow the 'Swadeshi' movement. It brought rural India some self employment and, therefore, self reliance.
As a spinner in a small way, I'm rarely more at peace than when my wheel is whirring away. I'd like to think that many dreams have been created, if not actually realised, while this cloth is produced.
How lovely would it be for me to find a women's cooperative in rural India, where I can buy fair trade khadi cloth which would support women directly? I could put some funds back into the community, more specifically, in the form of a midwife. What a wonderful idea! I feel more homework, and a journey to India coming on.....
In the mean time, I buy Khadi cloth from The Cloth House in London (https://www.clothhouse.com/ ). I can buy cloth online, but I want to see it and feel it in my hands before I buy. I can lose myself in this shop, anyway. It's definitly up there as one of my 'happy' places, and well worth a trip to London for.
When I have purchased a new bundle of Khadi cottons, I tend to post photos on Facebook, so that people can request certain sizes and styles before I set to the fabric with my scissors. I have already sold out of one cloth bought recently, before I could advertise it here on my website. I will soon buy more yardage of something similar, but it'll not be exactly the same. If you see anything on my website, but it isn't the size or style you're looking for, get in touch with me by sending an email. I can then hold your request until I've replaced the fabric, or offer a similar alternative.