Chronicles of a yarn farmer, shepherdess, and fiber geek!

Chronicles of a yarn farmer, shepherdess, and fiber geek!

February 2, 2011

Rotten Cotton

I'm starting to work feverishly on my homework for the Master Spinner Program. Of course I wait until lambing is just around the corner. If I used my time wisely, I'd be almost done by now. Oh well, just have to forge ahead. The first section of my Level 3 homework is cotton and after finishing the section I've remained it rotten cotton. I probably shouldn't be so negative about it but it was more difficult than I thought. Being a fan of long wools, the short cotton staple was totally different than what I'm used to working with. And favoring worsted spinning over woolen, it added another "out of the box" experience. That's good, I guess. 

Anyway, I got through it and am fairly pleased with the results EXCEPT the ginned cotton. I may redo that sample. Why would anyone use ginned cotton? It's like using yucky wool filled with hay chaff. I guess like everything in this world, it has a purpose. I just don't know what that is...yet!

Because I weave on a rigid heddle loom, I'll definitely spin more with cotton so that I can use it in weaving projects. And cotton does have some great qualities and blends well with other fibers. So I guess it's not really rotten cotton or will it become forgotten cotton. I just need to spin outside my comfort zone, and that's what the Master Spinner Program is all about...understanding twist and how it behaves in all kinds of fibers (plus much much more).

Here are some pics of my cotton samples: 
Sample spun from natural color organic brown cotton. It is being "sized." 

Sizing cotton temporarily reduces any fuzziness on the surface. Warp yarns that are fuzzy may tend to stick together. Sizing reduces this tendency, making the weaving process smoother.

Gelatin can be used to size the cotton.

The sizing is removed when the finished cloth is washed.

Sample spun with natural brown organic cotton blended with silk noils.
To "finish" cotton after it's spun, you wrap it around a perforated surface to maintain the tension (pvc pipe with holes drilled throughout the surface), then boil it for 30 minutes.

The color darkens as it boils and stays that way.
Sample spun with natural green organic cotton. Lovely color.

Sample spun with organic cotton top. Very soft.

While spinning I keep my laptop next to me with the barn cam up on the monitor so I can watch Edwina, our ewe that's ready to lamb any minute now!
Now on to spinning silk! I think I'll enjoy silk more than cotton because its staple is long...but I don't want to get ahead of myself...I'll have to wait and see.


Zev said...

A lambing barn cam -- what a good idea!

Kim MacKenzie said...

Rotten Cotton? I think not! Your yarn is nice and even. I was spinning on my takli the other day, and well mine does not look as good as yours, glad it was just practice for me, lol.

Frankie said...

Your cotton samples look great... you've got nothing to worry about.. good luck with the silk. I'm sure you'll love it.

uglydog75 said...

Carol, your samples are GORGEOUS!!! Rotten Cotton and all!

Now that we are weaving, I want to start working with more fiber varieties, but I think I will stick with wool for spinning...