Li Ziqi’s ‘The Life of Cotton’

The Kid Should See This

With a small crop of cotton plants, Li Ziqi demonstrates The Life of Cotton and creates a new padded mattress for her grandmother.

In the video above, she plants the seeds in a small patch of land and then transfers the sprouts to a larger area. After eight to ten weeks, the plants’ flowers bloom. When the flowers wither away, the growing cotton boll, a protective seed-bearing case, will be revealed. Around the 25th week, the fibers within the boll are ready for harvest.

picking the cotton
harvested cotton
Li Ziqi collects the fibers, cleans them, and removes the seeds. She then painstakingly weaves the mattress pad’s structure with thread across a homemade wood and bamboo peg loom, padding it with the homegrown fibers. With thread woven across the top and the cotton ‘felted’ into place, the mattress is finished.

weaving and sewing the mattress pad
Bonus footage: There’s enough left for a puppy blanket. Li Ziqi‘s YouTube Channel depicts pastoral life in the mountains and forests of Northern China’s Pingwu County where she lives with her grandmother.

Previously from Li Ziqi’s channel: How traditional Chinese cloth shoes are made and The Golden Season of Corn.

Then watch these related videos on TKSST:
Weaving a traditional charpai bed
• Linen: How It’s Made
• The Big Cloth (An Clò-Mòr): Weaving Harris Tweed
• A Slaton Co-op Gin truck easily flips 20,000lbs of cotton
• What does it take to make a t-shirt?

Rion Nakaya