Circling Around. Again.

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Beating the dust off a few of my projects these days…

You may remember this one?

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If not, let me refresh your memory. It’s a cotton spin. My first on a wheel. And I’m just going to say it…”Whew!”

This project had to go on the back burner for a few because for, one, it was making me feel a little loony…and, two, I’ve been looking for other job opportunities (that pesky Reality has been getting in my way again…a story for another day).  I finally got back to this within the last week or so. Now, I’m not sure if you’ve tried cotton spinning yet…but, I have to admit, for me, it’s a lot like learning to spin all over again! I bought a huge bag of this stuff from Paradise Fibers. One thing I know about spinning is by the time you finish a four to eight ounce bag of a fiber you don’t know how to spin (that goes for the first time spinners too), by the time you’re done, you should know something about it! I had already heard how difficult this can be when you first start, so I bought this bag figuring by the time it was spent, even if I didn’t have anything that resembled yarn, I’d have some cotton on the bobbin. As for this spin so far, if you look closely enough, there are areas where it’s spun a little tighter than I would want and spots where it’s spun a little looser too. Cotton really needs a lot of twist to hold together. But, as this is going to be my first skein on the wheel, I don’t know how much twist is enough just yet.

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To be honest, I’m really not sure if this is going to hold together once I start plying. Sometimes, those fibers will just slip past each other and your singles will disintegrate right before your eyes! It’s like two steps forward and one step back. But, just the fact that I have this much on the bobbin is cause for a celebration, lol! I am serious when I say that a half an hour of spinning on this wasn’t getting me very far for a long time. I’m finally just starting to get some things done accumulation-wise. Lest you think I’m exaggerating, here’s my proof:

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This is a sizable piece of nonsense that I’m trying to figure out how to recycle into something else. You spinners out there will get it. Nonsense like this results when you’re not getting enough twist and it falls apart…so you have to go back on the bobbin to a point where it was structurally sound and start all over. OR-if it snaps, and then you’ve got to go back and figure out where you can make a decent join and start all over. Either way, everything has gone to pot and you’ve got to start over again.

Here’s the hogwash with a bobbin for scale.

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What am I going to do with that?! Ugh. Of course, I do need a pair of cotton carders…Good save. (high fives self)

If you have never tried cotton spinning on a wheel before and you plan to at some point, what I am finding works is to use long draw to quickly get a length to work with (about the size of my arm or a little longer), I wind half of that into a butterfly on my hand while working to get the first half of the length drafted out more evenly and strong enough to hold together. I feed that length to the bobbin while unwinding the butterfly and then drafting out another half length to reach the length of my arm or so and do it all over again. I have to treadle pretty quickly throughout the process. So that the twist gets into that short fiber fast enough to keep it from drafting all the way apart. As you can see from my monstrosity there, I’m not always fast enough. But, I am getting better at it as I go. When I first started trying to spin this stuff, I was using a short draw just to keep it from snatching out of my hand. Yeah. You won’t want to try that, lol.

There’s some cotton on there now though.  And it looks a bit like yarn! Plus, I still have half a bag left. So…we’ll see.

I haven’t decided how to ply this yet. But I do have some ideas.

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I tried letting this little bit twist on itself. The twist in the singles was already dormant. But the plyback was so lazy, I’m leaning towards a three-ply version. Maybe chain-ply if I keep going on the one bobbin rather than switching out.

Decisions, decisions.

In other news, I picked up this project again.

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Only two more rounds to go, I believe.

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This was on the back burner for the same number two reason above. But, I picked it up again a couple days ago and we’re nearing the finish. I think I might have beat it a little tighter this time around. So, we’ll see if that’s a “happy” accident. 🙂

Man, I’m telling you my need for instant gratification is really suffering with these projects!

I’d better go circle around again.

Comments

  1. I enjoy reading your blog. Pictures are beautiful and your projects are very interesting. You gave me an idea that I should start spinning. Before doing so, I had to spent several days sitting in front of my laptop watching many youtube videos and reading many articles about drop spindles because hand spinning isn’t popular in Japan at all. Finally, I spun my very first yarn! It wasn’t easy but I love what I’ve done! I want to spin more and more! You and your blog are very inspiring. Thanks:)

    • Wow! I am so impressed that you decided to try it for yourself in spite of the lack of interest in your area. I saw your spinning on the CD drop spindle and it is so lovely! Congrats on your progress! 🙂

  2. Beautiful spinning!

  3. I’ve got 8 oz. of cotton top sitting around waiting for me to find my guts to try it out…. interesting to read your method. I’m thinking I should break out the lace pulley?!

    • Well, I’m not using the smallest whorl on mine. But, I treadle like a maniac so if I did use the smaller one, I’m not sure that I wouldn’t have much more snapping from too much twist. But if you treadle at a less maniacal rate (:)), then it might work for you to use it. There’s a bit of trial and error when starting this (or at least I’ve found), until you get a happy place where there’s enough twist to hold it together without twisting it entirely too tightly.

  4. I have a similar pile of “hogwash” for one of my current projects. It’s a yak blend, which is reeeeally short staple >.<

    • I haven’t spun that musk ox that I have yet either! I’m waiting to see how I do with this first. Then, I’ll have a bit more confidence. Actually, if it was just mine, I’d have spun it by now. But a friend wants me to spin hers up too so I want to make sure it all goes well.

  5. Cotton! Yikes!! I’m impressed though. There’s quite a bit on that bobbin!

  6. grayseasaylor says:

    Ahhh, “nonsense” and “hogwash” are good socially acceptable descriptions for a number of my spinning projects 🙂 Thanks for your vocabulary inspiration, Stacey! Your weaving project is coming along beautifully! I on the other hand resorted to taking a photo for my last post of the tangle my oldest sister and I are trying to untangle so that I can continue crocheting the shawl that I started months ago. Was your job search successful? Your volunteer work at the Mill website is wonderful. I enjoyed reading about the millworks inventor! Very interesting!
    xx, Gracie

    • Hey there! LOL! I like those words. 🙂

      Thanks for the compliment on the weaving project. It’s the yarn really. I haven’t done anything but a plain weave so far. But the multiple colors in the yarn create a nice patterning effect.

      Thanks for the compliment on the website too! I really like the look of it right now. I’ve changed it so much though…But I wanted it to a place where it was a little livelier looking. I think it’s right about there!

      I am still searching for a teaching position that’s in my area, actually. I think if I was willing to search outside of Delaware, there’d be more opportunities. I did have an interview today that I think went well. Of course, you remember all the things you should have said after you leave. Plus, I still have yet to go through the program for certification-so a lot of the terminology and things like that are addressed in the program that I’m not really privy to just yet. The problem is the program requires getting hired first, lol! But, I think overall the interview was good. I was nervous, of course, but I didn’t shake too much and the interview committee was such a nice bunch of ladies. I think I had better not say much more than that because they’ve visited this site, lol! They had an older version of my resume which had my blog url for my hobby at the top. I decided to take it off because it’s a less formal way of presenting myself and I tend to use less proper English on here. But a couple of them said they had visited the site! Talk about blushing!!! Come to think of it, I’d better update the resume on their application site, ha!! Can you imagine an interviewer seeing a post called, “You Jelly?” or “A Twofer”. Twofer actually is a word though…I stand by that term. 🙂

  7. I think I’ll be putting off spinning cotton for a good while. I wasn’t really planning on it to begin with, but this post definitely cements that!

    • LOL! Well, I’d hate to scare you away. And the truth of anything is that just because it went one way for someone else doesn’t mean it will go the same way for you. You could take to it like a fish in water! If there ever comes a point where you want to try it, I saw a really good video on it recently too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBpEc6F6Frs
      It’s really just learning something new. Keeps life interesting!

  8. I have been debating spinning cotton because I know so many people who are allergic to wool, but it does seem daunting for that 4-8 oz where you really don’t know what you’re doing. Thanks for the suggestion of long draw, though! I hope that holds true for a drop spindle (my method of choice.)

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