Spinning Cotton

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An Intro to Spinning Cotton

Summertime in Colorado means the downpour of fluffy white cottonwood seeds. If you are in the right place, it can look like it’s snowing when those seeds decide to fall. The other day, I was walking out of a restaurant with a friend, and she commented that you could make a bunch of sweaters with…

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Have cotton, will travel: Instructor Joan Ruane visits England.

  Joan Ruane enjoys traveling the world, placing cotton in as many hands as possible. Photos courtesy of Joan Ruane. Joan Ruane, a well-known spinning instructor and cotton aficionado just returned from a springtime teaching trip in the north of England. She had a wonderful time, and many new cotton spinners were born. As one…

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What is it about cotton?

While most of the cotton on the global market is white, cotton can occur in natural, nonwhite colors: rose, buff, brown, red, chocolate, green–even lilac, blue, and black. Image from the Practical Spinner's Guide: Cotton, Flax, Hemp by Stephenie Gaustad. For years I had a secret goal of spinning a very fine cotton yarn, weaving…

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Two tips to get you spinning cotton

Two tips to get you spinning cotton A length of clear rubber tubing to help me hold my fiber as I first learned to double draft the cotton helped to avoid the death grip often associated with learning a new technique. Lately, I've been bitten by a bit of a cotton bug. It appears that…

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Sally Fox's new natural-color cotton project

Foxfibre cotton bolls. Photo courtesy of Sally Fox. In 1989, Sally Fox sold her first crop of California-grown, natural-color cotton to a Japanese mill. Since returning from serving in the Peace Corps, Sally had been breeding cotton on a very small scale at her home. The vast majority of the cotton grown in the world…

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Time to spin cotton

Reconsider cotton The lovely natural dyed cotton of Ella Baker. Cotton is an amazing fiber—great for keeping us cool and dry when it is hot and humid out. Cotton is the fiber of the ages. It is the fiber the ancient Egyptians cultivated to clothe themselves and also to wrap their dead in to ensure…

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Explore flax and cotton history hands-on

What I wish history class had been like Norman Kennedy demonstrating breaking up the husk of the retted flax plant to harvest the fiber. Thank goodness for those in our community who keep traditional techniques alive. Norman Kennedy is one of these treasures. We were lucky to record some of his vast knowledge to share with…

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Spin Flax and Cotton

Spinning Through the Ages We've invited Anne Merrow, Interweave spinning and knitting video producer and eMag editor, to share some exciting details about our upcoming workshop video with Norman Kennedy. Norman has spent his life travelling the world and learning traditional spinning and weaving techniques used to make cloth that needed to last a lifetime. We are very…

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Spinning Cotton

Cotton really is the fabric of our lives—but for handspinners, spinning cotton can be a bit intimidating. It is spun in the same way that wool is although it is a bit more difficult due to the short smooth fiber and lack of crimp. Prior to being spun, cotton needs to have the seeds removed…

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Spinning Cotton, a Free eBook

The fabric of our lives  Most spinners learn how to spin with wool—it is easy to learn with and is widely available as a spinning fiber. Sometimes not knowing that something is challenging can be a good thing. For instance, I learned how to spin by spinning cotton. I was a college student studying Spanish and anthropology in Costa…