I am having such a problem trying to spin cotton! I'm getting so frustrated. Anyone have any advice. I've tried different ways but it keeps pulling apart as I try to spin it. Sometimes I can spin it ok & think I finally have it then I just mess up & can't do it. I bought some cotton from Cotton Clouds & my local fiber shop. Any advice will be so appreciated.
Don't give up spinning cotton! It's like anything else, you just have to get used to the short staple fibers. Just remember these tips:
1. Cotton needs A LOT of twist to hold together as a yarn so......
2. Keep the draw-in on your wheel loose enough to be in control and not allow the yarn to pull in quickly, before it has enough twist in it to hold together as a yarn.
3. Sit as far back from the orifice as you can so that once the fibers are spun into a yarn, they will have lots of time to twist and twist before winding onto the bobbin.
4. As a matter of fact, once you've spun the cotton fibers into a yarn, hold the yarn back from entering the orifice and keep spinning the treadle so that there are at least 15-20 revolutions -depending on the type of cotton fiber you are spinning- to give the yarn lots of twist,
5. I can't tell which cotton fibers you've ordered from Cotton Clouds, but we do have some of the Easy to Spin Pima that is probably the easiest to spin of all our cottons because it has been processed to keep alot of the crimp in this long staple fiber.
Hope this helps. Interweave has an excellent video by Stephenie Gaustad called Spinning Cotton. Irene Schmoller, Cotton Clouds
Irene Laughing Cloud Schmoller
Great suggestions from Irene.
When I first started to spin cotton I got so frustrated just like you are. However, I was determined to learn so I bought a pound (yes a pound) of tricolor cotton roving and inch wormed my way through the lot. It took LOTS of treadles on my Ashford Traveller to keep the singles from disintegrating. Somehow I plied the singles and made a lovely fat knitting yarn that I wish I could now replicate! Since then I learned long draw technique and Easy Spin cotton from Cotton Clouds. So, at least for me, it took a lot of practice cotton and wheel time.
thank you sop much!! I will keep trying & take your advice!! Thanks
I'm just beginning, mostly the research part so what I have to say is just what I've read. I did spin wool on a wheel years and years ago but had to give it up because I don't own a wheel and didn't have the money for one.The lady that let me use her wheel moved.
In Respect the Spindle, Abby says that if your cotton is falling apart it's from two reasons.
1. Not enough twist.
2. Your spindle is two heavy. Try to keep it around an ounce.
If you are using a wheel, I would suppose that you are putting too much pull on the fiber as you draw it out???
I'm figuring that I'll run into the same problem as I'm fixing to grow my own cotton and raise some angora rabbits or wooly rabbits. And I told my husband I just downloaded the plans for the spinning wheels and he's been talking about building me one. Although, I plan to use a spindle so that I can move from room to room, I understand that spinning cotton on a wheel is more difficult than using a spindle.
No need to fear that spinning cotton on a wheel is more difficult. Actually, I found it easier to learn on a wheel before a supported spindle. What I did not do well in my early spinning was long draft and keeping ahead of the twist. That is a useful skill for spinning cotton on a wheel otherwise you end up doing inchworm, which works, but more lumpy bumpy yarn (at least for me). Also, I think my early attempts were harder because the particular roving just would not draft. Good fiber preparation makes such a difference. Today I spun Pima Easy to Spin cotton on my Lendrum with the highest ratio and it spun up quickly and beautifully. Can't say the same when it came to plying. :-( Should have let the singles sit overnight and relax before trying to ply it.
Glad you will give cotton a try on a spindle. I like my tahkli, charka and ahka (in this order) for cotton spinning. Supported spindles are a good way to go for spinning cotton unless you are a super spindler, which I am not.
Try backing off the tension on the drive band until the band starts to slip on the wheel when treadling. Adjust from there. Or try a thinner drive band. I have a scotch tension and just lay the band across the bobbin whorl with the elastic slack. In other words, next to no pull-in. Stephanie Gaustad's video on Cotton is most helpful.
Just checking in to see how your cotton spinning is coming along. You've been getting some good advice on this forum that should get you on your way. And don't forget to take a deep breath and relax when spinning cotton!
Also, I've posted some videos of me spinning cotton on my Youtube site
It always helps to see someone spinng. There are also several good DVD's by Stephenie Guastad and Joan Ruane.
Hope this helps! Irene Schmoller, Cotton Clouds