Friday, December 8, 2017

CHILL BY NOOKS REVIVES THE "FUN" IN THE ART OF SPINNING



I have featured CHILL by Nooks twice already in this blog.  And I will repeat... I really love this brand because it promotes Filipino creativity and ingenuity.  Their knitwear are really one of a kind!  Wearing it means, you are truly proud of you Filipino roots.  Handwoven, I consider them "works of art".


 


But there are more things to discover with this brand.  They invited me one Sunday morning to check out their pop-up store in Legaspi Sunday Market.  I am a HUGE fan of weekend markets, because it is where I discover new and exciting things -- from food, to crafts, fashion, furniture and many more -- I am really a captured audience!  I can spend my entire day exploring... come rain or shine, weekend markets will always be one of my happy places  :)


SPINNING WHEEL:

That particular Sunday that I visited, CHILL by Nooks brought their Spinning Wheel for the shoppers to experience.

Honestly, it was my first time to see a spinning wheel. All I know about it, is from a fairy tale story.  Remember Sleeping Beauty?     

 

Spinning is the process of making yarn of thread from fiber.  Yarn is the raw material for all clothing and textile.  


THE NOOKS COTTON WORKSHOP:

In 2008, Nooks began the shift into natural sources of fiber which were abundant in the Philippines. As a flatknits manufacturer, they relied heavily on cotton as their raw material. These yarns/threads were all imported.


Mother and daughter picking cotton at Bayawan, Negros Oriental


Cotton was previously a major farm produce.  When the Philippines' garment industry weakened, yarn spinning mills closed and no one bought cotton from farmers.  The country has 22,000 hectares available for farming cotton. Sadly, barely 500 hectares is being utilized for this purpose now.  Over the years, CHILL by Nooks have met many weaving, knitting artisans and designers, who had no idea our country is a cotton producer.  Sadly they weave beautiful textile using polyester and other synthetic fiber -- because these are the only yarns/threads available to them.


COTTON FIBER PREPARATION:


Cotton from the Philippines comes from Ilocos, Negros, Iloilo, Saranggani and Cotabato. After harvest, it is separated from the seeds through ginning. These are then packed in bales of sacks.  In preparation for spinning, yarns must be carded to further clean it of impurities. Carding produces slivers which are used to feed into the spinning wheel.


 

 


THE SPINNING WHEEL DEVELOPED BY CHILL BY NOOKS:


Nooks made the Spinning Wheel to signify the “Missing Middle.” Our country’s farmers cannot sell their cotton because it had to be converted into yarns and threads which were needed by textile designers and manufacturers who wanted to use local fiber if only
these were available.






Thus, the HAND SPINNING COURSE makes it possible for designers and textile enthusiasts to envision products that are truly Filipino. If cotton is sourced from our farms, 
spun into yarn and woven or knitted into finished products, then this makes for a supply chain that is easily traceable- from farm to fashion.

Nooks developed a spinning wheel similar to what has been used in centuries past.



ARE YOU CURIOUS ABOUT HAND SPINNING?

Because honestly... I AM!

Personally, I didn't have any problem putting my foot on the wheel.  Its holding the cotton, gently and delicately for spinning that is a bit of a problem for me.  It broke several times while I am spinning.  But after several minutes, my spinning groove worked perfectly.  And I enjoyed it.  There is something incredibly soothing and meditative in the spinning experience.  More interestingly, I found out that people who knit, paint or garden are drawn into spinning :)



To spin the yarn, my hands were working to draw the fibers from the bundle of cotton, while my first two fingers and thumb were twisting the fibers together as the yarn was drawn into the bobbin.  The yarn is spun around the bobbin that is rotating from the spinning of a drive band that is attached to the wheel. Foot pedals are used to spin the wheel in a clockwise motion.



If you are artists who are into knitting, there is definitely excitement in making your own yarn/thread. 
  

THE WORKSHOP:

CHILL by Nooks now offers workshop on hand spinning that includes:  the setting up and assembly of the spinning wheel;  hand spinning fiber into yarn;  finishing the spun yarn to set the twist;  and preparing the yarn by coning or in skeins/hanks to be dyed.

But wait... there's more!  There are also workshops for DYEING and KNITTING.  These will be the topics of my next articles!  So stay tuned!




If you are interested in attending the workshop visit   https://www.facebook.com/chillbynooks 

www.nooksmanufacturing.com



You can also drop by the Legaspi Sunday Market to experience hand spinning