Sunday, September 23, 2012

King Cotton

Natural Brown Colored Cotton on Tahkli
Last year, I spent my Christmas money on a Learn to Spin Cotton kit from Cotton Clouds. I kept reading about how cotton wasn't easy for a beginner and how spinning cotton was hard because it was so short. I wanted to prove them wrong and show them that if I could spin cotton, then anybody could.

What I didn't want to admit was that I was having a hard time spinning cotton. My yarn was really, really thin. Instead of drifting apart, my singles would snap at the thin spots. When I put less twist in, the singles would drift apart. I was having a hard time with fiber management so I was having a difficult time plying the singles together to make thicker yarn. It was tough and eventually I gave up and went back to spinning the nice, shiny wool I had. I got to where I was spinning nice wool yarns and I was even getting down to a nice fingering weight yarn that I could make socks out of. I was satisfied with that, but I kept browsing my I SPIN COTTON! group on Ravelry. Everybody there was growing and spinning their own cotton and I wanted in on the fun.

Cotton Yarn Spun in 2011
I looked back at my cotton that I spun. Most of the cotton I spun from cotton sliver, green cotton sliver, brown cotton sliver, a pima cotton boll, and some pima cotton lint. I spun that all on my little tahkli. Only half of the cotton skeins I have are boiled, but they are all soft to the touch and I am proud that I have spun them.

But I think if I try again, I can do much better. I found the rest of my brown cotton sliver and I am spinning that on my tahkli. I now use a white ceramic bowl to spin on so I don't scratch the surface of any table and get a nice fast spin. I have found that I am getting a slightly more consistent yarn. My fingers are slowly learning how to spin cotton and they are picking it up quicker. I just have to ignore the feeling that I am going to lose control of the yarn at any time. And I keep dropping my spindle from time to time.

The cotton growing season is practically over up here in northeast PA, but I have some seeds that I am saving for next March. The seeds were still germinating this summer, but the squirrels and rabbits kept eating my seedlings. I have eight seeds left that I am hoping to grow. If I can just get one boll to grow on one plant, then I can get a new batch of cotton seeds to try again.

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