Grow, gin, spin, knit. Finish, cut, sew, dye. You know the story of cotton in North Carolina: By 1815, the first cotton textile mill appeared. By the 1920s, on through the 20th century, our state was a leader in textile production. By the turn of the 21st century, the industry had largely migrated overseas. But now, the idea of cotton blooms anew: Many of our once-abandoned mills are alive again, filled not with machinery, but with music, food, and art. Elsewhere, an artist uses cotton to piece together memories, and a family business spins a candy version of the stuff. All around our state, companies work together to bring textile production back home. Grow, gin, spin, knit. Finish, cut, sew, dye. There’s a rhythm to the work, and it’s coming ’round again.


Mill Town Memories

mills feature 2Mill town residents have not forgotten what textile work, and the life they built around it, meant to them.

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Elaine O’Neil’s Textile Art

oneil feature In Chapel Hill, cotton serves an unexpected purpose.

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From Dirt to Shirt

mindful feature The story of a Mindful Supply Co. T-Shirt unfolds entirely on Carolina soil.

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Cottony Creatures

In the animal kingdom, you don’t have to be cute and cuddly to have a cotton-inspired name. Click the image below to learn more.
By Eleanor Spicer Rice • Illustration by Jessica Roux
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Oscar William’s Gourmet Cotton Candy

oscar will feature An Apex company makes it OK to love spun sugar, the kind of cotton you can eat.

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Libba Cotten

libba cotten feat From her picking style to her unlikely path to fame, the folk music heroine from Carrboro always did things her own way.

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watch 2
Durham artist Skylar Gudasz covers “Freight Train” by Libba Cotten.


Get your copy of our August 2014 issue to discover even more ways cotton is celebrated across the state.

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Since 1933, Our State has shared stories about North Carolina with readers both in state and around the world. We celebrate the people and places that make this state great. From the mountains to the coast, we feature North Carolina travel, history, food, and beautiful scenic photography.