Beating the dust off a few of my projects these days…
You may remember this one?
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
In other news, I picked up this project again.
Only two more rounds to go, I believe.
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.