Friday, January 18, 2013

Adventures with cotton

3ply handspun cotton

When I acquired my very first spinning wheel in 2007, the woman I got it from threw in some cotton bolls that she had on hand. that bag of cotton has been sitting in my stash ever since. i feel silly admitting that i've been scared of it all this time. people on the interwebs say that "cotton is hard!" and i haven't been able to work up the courage to try it myself. well, and also i completely forgot that i had it in the stash.

Earlier this week, Spicy was talking about potentially growing cotton someday (thanks, global warming!) and i remembered that i actually have raw cotton in the stash. so i got it out, carded a few rolags and spun it up just to see what it was like. This little yarn cake is the result.

I won't lie, it was kind of hard. the seeds had been removed but there was still a ton of VM that didn't want to come out. i was able to spin it on the wheel longdraw but if i were to do it again i'd add more twist. when i was plying the singles would often drift apart and unlike wool it was not that easy to join. i boiled my skein to finish it but the color didn't really change, so next time i'd just do a regular finish. my mini-cake is about a 3ply sport weight. i didn't measure the yardage because it's so insignificant. i might have enough to make a tribble dishcloth or something.

I have to say it wasn't that hard. not any more difficult than spinning cashmere, angora, or yak. i still have most of the bag left to spin. i really want to try blending it with wool. i think i'll probably have to do a few passes on the handcards with the cotton and then try blending it with wool on the drum carder. it'll probably be another handful of years before i get around to it.


  1. wow, great job! i always shrink in terror when there's cotton in the mixed batts i buy. yikes.

  2. it looks really good, and I am fascinated! I'm interested to see more of your experiments with this!

  3. Joane Ruane has an "easy to spin" cotton that she has specially milled and it is wonderful to spin.....AND she is a great teacher..check out her website. Karen



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