Since Tuesday night, I've been in India, working with the women who make our yarns. I don't think there's a place on earth that inspires me more, from the scents to the textiles and everything in between. I love taking in as much of India as I can while here; the beauty, chaos, poverty, wealth, religions, and animals that somehow all co-exisist to make up this mind-boggeling and beautiful place. There is also something so wonderful about Indian people we work with, life is so hard compared to our US standards, but Indians take challenges in stride and have an amazing resiliency, not to mention their warmth and generosity. I could go on about my love of India for ages...
My trip started off with an early morning train to Punjab where we make the yarn, about 4 hours west of Delhi. The train stations are packed with people of all religions and stations in life, it has to be some of the best people/life watching ever. Many of the people there live at the station and are in total poverty and support themselves through begging. This is sadly something you become accustomed to seeing in India along with miles of slums, but it never gets easier to see.
Once with the spinners, I was elated to see how smoothly our little spinning unit is running now. It's night and day from my last trip. The women who spin can spin so fast and so much better than I will ever be able to. And to think I was the one who taught them how to do it! Most markedly, the quality of the yarn has improved 100 fold. This week, I worked on some new yarn ideas and put them all into work. We also finalized our new labels (yay!) and talked through some production and shipping issues. All and all a fantastic week that went by in a heartbeat. The week also included countless cups of chai tea, laughs with our manager, lunch at my favorite south Indian restaurant (dosas- yum!) and I even got to tag along to a Hindu festival chock full of fresh flower garlands, twinkle lights and painted elephants. Undoubtely an overwhelming and fantastic week.
I took a few pics shown below. I'm heading to Hong Kong for a few days and when I'm back in India I'll get a more group shots. More India rants coming soon too!
How fabulous are Meera's toenail polish color and toe rings?
Meera in action, packed yarn and wheels all around her.
These ladies are threading daisy trims for our Daisy Chain yarn and making tiny pom poms and tassels for my newest yarn design.
This man works for us part time embroidering these metallic flowers, found in some colors of Rolling Stone. According to our manager, this is something only Muslim men are skilled at. I wonder why!
Our new fancy machine carder that still requires a person to guide the fiber but is so cool.
A Hindu temple I visited one night...
No trip to India is complete without seeing a painted elephant! He was giving rides to small children, it seemed slightly unsafe to me :)
I love tuck tucks...that's what I call them, do you?
Especially beautiful one!
I'm pretty sure there are cones of yarn in there. No idea how he is able to ride with this much stuff!
Coconut dosa, my favorite!