Posts filed under ‘Spinning Cotton’
Update: SPINZILLA 2013!
Although we weren’t on the top of the list, Cotton Clouds Team did spin 29,022.58 yards for a total of 16.49 miles helping to get us from NYC to Chicago!
While any fiber could be spun, we obviously were talking a lot about cotton. Those that did loved it! Even first-time cotton spinners.
So here’s your opportunity for SPINZILLA 2014 to get your hands on some cotton and spin and spin and spin away during the week of October 6-12, 2014!
When the final team rosters were in, we had 23 team members, and we’re covering the states of Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. Quite a spread!
Prizes, Prizes, Prizes!
Cotton Clouds, as well as SPINZILLA gave away lots of prizes! There will be lots more this year! Good reason to be on our team!
Here are just some of our many prizes we’ll be giving away this year!
Our own suzenew won the Cotton Clouds SPINZILLA t-shirt!
A brand new copy of Hand Spinning Cotton by Harry & Olive Linder. This book is currently VERY expensive and hard to find because it’s out of print, but Cotton Clouds has re-printing it so a new generation can appreciate this fabulous resource! This prize will be awarded to the team member who spins the most yarn.
$25 Cotton Clouds gift certificate. This will be given to one random team member! Spinzilla will also be giving away Gift Certificates!
Hand Dyed Cotton Sliver
Join our Team!
It’s so easy to join the Cotton Clouds CottonTales SPINZILLA Team! Sign up now! Registration is August 4-September 22, 2014 ! The $10 registration fee will go to support the TNNA Mentor Program that will bring spinning into the schools to grow a new generation of spinners.
We’ll be having lots of fun, be giving away lots of prizes, special sales through our e-newsletter and posting on our Cotton Clouds CottonTales Ravelry thread. So come on and join us! We’re the #1 cyberspace SPINZILLA team! #teamcottonclouds.
FAQ About SPINZILLA!
Need to know more about SPINZILLA? What is it? How to join? When to spin? What to spin? How to measure yardage and lots more? Just CLICK HERE to have them all answered!
A gallery of our 2013 handspun winners! Well, everyone on our team was a winner!
Happy Spinning everyday, but most of all let’s all combine forces October 6-12, 2014 and bust some butt during SPINZILLA!
What words come to mind when you think about spinning cotton? Cotton Clouds recently posed this question to fans on Facebook, and you can see the words and phrases that were shared. At CottonClouds.com, we make cotton spinning easy with quality tools and instruction. But you don’t have to take it from us! We asked Rebecca, to whom we recently sent our All About Cotton Spinning kit, to put in her own words, her experience spinning cotton for the first time! Take it away, Rebecca!
A New Spinner’s Experience
Thanks to Cotton Clouds for the opportunity to share my experience here! I have been a knitter for 13 years and have been practicing my crochet skills for 5 years, you can see many of my projects on Ravelry. I have often admired the spinning I have seen at fiber festivals and workshops, and by my friends at our knit night. I have a drop spindle and have spun wool with limited success over the last few years. I love to try new things and the All About Cotton Spinning kit seemed right up my alley – everything you need to get started is in the kit!
I’m a very touchy-feely knitter – I like to give my yarn a good squish. When I opened up the kit, I was really impressed by how soft each of the different cotton fibers felt! There was some lovely “squoosh” factor there. The variety of cotton was impressive: Pima, Acala, Brown and Green cottons, punis, and a cotton bolls are included in the kit. My daughter, who is 6, thought it was wool at first! This was a fun little learning moment for her to see what cotton looks like before it is yarn!
Cotton Spinning is Easy with Quality Tools
Cotton has a short staple length and I had heard the more prepared it is, the easier it is to spin. I have practiced with the punis and cotton in sliver form. A Tahkli spindle is included in the kit. It is a small supported spindle from India, with a heavy brass whorl to help build up a lot of spin which will give the yarn the much needed twist to hold together. I spent a while just practicing giving the Tahkli a little flick and letting it spin in the space created by my thumb and index finger.Since it is not a drop spindle, I let it rest on a flat surface. Boy, that spindle can spin! It is mesmerizing to watch, it is like a toy top!
As I said before, I’m a very green spindle spinner, so getting started with the actual fiber was the hardest part for me. I asked Irene about this, what I should use for a leader yarn, and she gave me the tip to use one of the punis – to pull a bit out, get it on the Tahkli hook, draft a bit and start spinning from there. That worked like a charm!
Cotton Spinning is Easy with Quality Instruction
This video from Cotton Clouds was very helpful! I encountered slubs, but if there is enough spin, you can see the twist travel up the fiber! It is pretty neat to see that in action. I still need to practice making sure there is enough twist in the yarn before winding it on to the shaft and drafting the next section out. Interestingly, this practice did not frustrate me as I had experienced with the wool!
So what words come to my mind when I think about spinning cotton? Magic, fun and practice! I will be peeking in on CottonClouds’ I Spin Cotton Ravelry group. Maybe at some future point I’ll be able to post again and show you a finished object from my own cotton handspun! There are some great ideas on the CottonClouds Pinterest boards, don’t you agree? Thank you to Irene and CottonClouds.com – they do make spinning cotton easy! For all of you out there who also enjoy spinning cotton, stay tuned for more details as the 2014 Cotton Clouds Spinzilla team, Cotton Clouds Cottontails, will be ready for team spinner signups starting August 4, 2014! Keep your eye on the Facebook page and Ravelry group for Spinzilla updates as well!
Does February feel slower to you? We’re not running around for the holiday season anymore and depending on the weather in your area you might be experiencing a touch of cabin fever, having to stay inside to avoid the bitter cold and snow. What can you do to keep those creative juices flowing? We’ll turn to the Winter Olympics for a bit of inspiration!
- The Ravellenic Games are a virtual “competition” to work on projects that are a personal challenge for you!
- Work from the comfort of your own home – connect with others on Ravelry.
- During the Olympic Games (Feb.7 – Feb. 23., 2014) Spin, Weave, Knit or Crochet!
- Continue the momentum after the Games end: make your own challenge to follow March Madness or practice for this year’s Spinzilla event!
Have you woven lace yet? The Atwater Bronson Lace Scarves uses our best selling Bambu 12 yarn, in 4 seasonal color combinations. The interesting texture and warp floats are created by using 8-shaft weaving. When we look at this we are reminded of Pantone’s 2014 colors, so trendy!
We’re here to cheer you on! You can spin cotton, weave cotton, knit and crochet with cotton and have fabulous results! If you have a project you’re proud of let us know – share a link to your blog in the comments here or post to our Facebook page!
Spinzilla is a community-wide challenge to see who can spin the most yarn during Spinning and Weaving Week (October 7-13, 2013).
We’ll be spinning up a storm with Team Cotton Clouds, and we’d love to have you join us!
- Who: Team Cotton Clouds
- What: Spinzilla 2013
- When to register: Register between now and September 23.
- When to spin: Spin, spin, spin during Spinning and Weaving Week, from October 7-13.
- Where: Wherever you want! Get creative and try to fit spinning into your routine as much as possible!
- Why: Why not?! Can we make enough yarn to reach from one side of the U.S. to the other? Maybe around the globe, or even to the moon?
How Do I Join A Team?
Joining a team is easy. Simply click here to visit the TNNA website to sign up anytime between now and September 23rd. We hope you’ll join our team!
Though you can spin any type of fiber you’d like, our goal is to make Team Cotton Clouds the place for cotton during Spinzilla. We’ll be sharing cotton spinning tips and tricks, giving away cotton fiber and other goodies, and having a whole lot of fun along the way!
You can keep up on the action in a variety of ways. Each team has:
- An official Ravelry thread in the Spinzilla group where we can talk and share photos.
- A board on the Spinzilla Pinterest account
- An official hashtag (ours is #teamcottonclouds) to coordinate the discussion on other social media channels.
- We’ll also be sharing group photos and other fun on our Facebook page.
There’s a $10 registration fee to join Spinzilla, and all of the funds raised go toward starting a spinning program as part of the National Needlearts Mentoring Program (NAMP).
How Is The Winner Determined?
During Spinning and Weaving Week, participants will share photos of their spinning and submit their yardage to their team captain. At the end of the week, each captain (ours is the wonderful Connie Peterson) will calculate their team’s yardage and submit their spinning results, and the inaugural Spinzilla winning team will be crowned and inherit the Spinzilla trophy along with bragging rights for the next year. Can Team Cotton Clouds take the prize? We sure hope so!
In addition to the official Spinzilla prizes, we’ll be giving away goodies throughout Spinzilla. If you’re part of our team, you could win:
- A $25 Cotton Clouds gift certificate
- A package of our hand-dyed cotton sliver
- A brand new copy of Hand Spinning Cotton by Harry & Olive Linder. This book is currently VERY expensive and hard to find because it’s out of print, but Cotton Clouds will be re-printing it so a new generation can appreciate this fabulous resource!
Stay tuned for more info about Spinzilla, team Cotton Clouds, and all the activities we have planned. Whether or not you join our team, we hope you’ll join in the fun during this exciting week!
As summer temperatures continue to climb, we’re happy to be surrounded by soft, cool clouds of cotton fiber. Cotton really is a dream to spin and knit in the summer months, and the finished yarn is perfect for everything from a woven set of placemats to a lightweight knit sweater. With a few days left in our extended Free Shipping Sale, now is the perfect time to grab a spindle and get to spinning!
If you’re new to spinning cotton, don’t be intimidated! There are a wide variety of resources to get you started, and once you learn, you’ll be hooked! Wondering about terms like boll, punis, or sliver? For a quick primer on the different types of cotton fiber, click below to watch our Cotton Fibers for Spinning from Seed to Sliver video (or read more about it in this recent newsletter). It’s a quick walkthrough that will take the mystery out of cotton terminology, and it will also introduce you to the different types of cotton fiber available for spinning.
When it comes time to pick your fiber, the options are nearly endless. Our All About Spinning Cotton Kit is a perennial favorite and includes a tahkli spindle, expert step-by-step illustrated instructions, plus samples of many different types of cotton for you to experiment with. Once you’re done trying things out, choose from one of the many types of prepared cotton for your next project. You’ll find a full selection on our website, but here are a few of our favorites:
If more instruction is what you’re after, you’ll be happy to find that there is a great selection of DVDs and e-books. Try one of these options to take your cotton spinning skills to the next level:
And don’t forget about our Free Shipping Sale, which has been extended until August 19th. You’ll receive free shipping on any order of cotton spinning fiber or cotton kits when you use promo code SPINCOTTON at checkout!
Stay cool, and happy spinning!
We welcome our guest blogger: the lovely denise renee grace!
I consider myself to be a bit of a magpie- I like to use found materials to my advantage. I was talking with Irene at the WARP tour and dinner that Schacht hosted, and told her that I was saving all of the “cotton” from my vitamin bottles to spin someday. She looked at me over the top of her glasses and said “honey, that is NOT cotton. I will send you some cotton.”
A few weeks later, I received my first package of beautiful naturally colored green cotton. I leapt for joy! I took it home, tried to spin it and I was completely intimidated.
Luckily, Spinning 2 with Maggie Casey was right around the corner! One of the many things she covered in her class was how to spin cotton. We started with a cotton boll which to my surprise was much easier than the sliver. You fluff the cotton boll a little, hold the seed between your fingers and just allow the cotton to slide off into the twist. It is a great way to start a conversation with cotton. We continued the dialog with cotton pima sliver and I was hooked!
It is no wonder Irene is drawn to this amazing fiber, that is so much like her. She had polio when she was young. Some might think this might make her fragile, but I have only known her to be super strong! She runs her own business, loves Nia, spins like a champ, and has a wonderful cheery attitude. Cotton is a short staple fiber, so it can seem very fragile. If it is spun with a lot of twist, it can be super strong.
Irene does an amazing job of inspiring people to spin cotton! After I broached the subject of doing a guest blog, she sent me MORE cotton. I had to go home and spin it immediately!
I watched her video and finally got the confidence to dive into the Morning Glory hand dyed SuPima Cotton with my Ladybug ‘Aja.’ It was like learning to spin all over again. Words came out of my mouth such that I was glad small children were not near.
As I continued to spin, my chat with the cotton got more comfortable. My inchworm short draw became a short modified draw, which moved into a long modified draw, and then I started to get the hang of the long draw. Luckily, I had the soothing view of the mountains to calm me. I found my best spinning occurred when I was looking out at the mountains, or talking to my partner, and just let my hands do the work. When I let go, the strength was able to emerge.
I was so inspired that I went straight for the natural green cotton that she had originally sent. To my surprise, it was NOT like riding a bike. The discussion was awkward at first and there were more “adult only” words before I started to get in the groove. With patience, the groove came and I was comfortable in my mountain spinning again. I just thought….. keep going. It will turn into something good. That is how art (and life) are a lot of the time. It looks horrible to start, but if you just keep going, it morphs into something good! And sometimes I find that it doesn’t morph into something good until the very last step. It is like a leap of faith. Of course when I was finished, I was so excited to weave the yarn with my new Baby Wolf that I totally forgot to take pictures of the beautiful yarn and it just went right on the loom.
The gift of cotton comes full circle round. I spun it, wove it, and gifted it back to the giver. In celebration of National Spinning & Weaving Week, consider giving the gift of cotton to yourself, or to your favorite spinner/weaver.
And…….Irene loves her handspun, handwoven scarf gifted to her by denise!
Thank you denise! YOU are my gift of cotton! Irene
Our 33 year love affair with spinning cotton is translated into these very helpful hints and tips, demonstration videos, and more!
Cotton Clouds provides you with Quality Cotton Spinning Fibers in a variety of preparations that make it easy for any beginner to get started spinning and for the experienced spinner to explore the limitless possibilities of creating the most advanced, delicate yarns.
We highly recommend these excellent DVD’s devoted to cotton spinning:
Current Cotton Clouds’ Blogs on Spinning Cotton:
Helpful Tips & Videos for Successful Cotton Spinning:
Cotton Spinning Tips
Cotton needs a lot of twist to hold together as a yarn! You can’t overtwist it!
Practice spinning cotton on a support (Tahkli) spindle to get the feel!
Begin with a long staple (Pima) cotton fiber either in lint (ginned) or Puni (carded into a rolag) form.
Set your wheel’s spinning ratio (wheel to revolutions of bobbin) to the highest, or sit farther back from the orifice.
Adjust your spinning wheel so that there is just enough draw-in to have control of the fibers as you spin.
Relax, sit back, take a deep breath and have fun spinning cotton
Cotton Fiber Preparation
I admit that I often spin just for the delight of spinning with no thought of what I will do with the yarn. At best, I will try and make a consistent yarn for whatever batch of roving or sliver I am spinning so I will be able to use it for a project. I usually do turn these yarns into something knit, crocheted or woven.
I have also spun for a specific project. I highly recommend that at least once, you spin for a project. The exercise of spinning with a project in mind teaches you how to plan, choose the right fiber, calculate and complete your project.
Where to Start: Pick a Project.
Weaving with cotton handspun:
- It is best to use 2-ply cotton for warp.
- After some experience you can use a cottton single as warp. Use a higher twist in the single than you would for the weft.
- Singles can successfully be used for weft.
- Your first cotton handspun no matter how irregular can be used for weft with a commercially spun yarn for warp.
- Some spinners will go straight to the loom with their handspun cotton without any finishing.
- You may want to first sample to check the shrinkage. Watch for differential shrinkage – in other words the 2-ply warp may not shrink as much as the single weft causing a puckered fabric.
- Leave your handspun cotton on your bobbin overnight to temporarily set the twist. The yarn does not tangle as easily. To permanently set the twist handspun cotton requires boiling or steaming.
Knitting with cotton handspun:
- Two or more plies are the most common yarns for handknitting.
- Use a 2-ply yarn for lace (opens up the lace more) and 3-ply for socks (stronger yarn).
- For “British” or “American” style (AKA throwing the yarn) knitters, spin Z and ply S. This way the yarn does not untwist while knitting.
- A single can be used if finished (boiled or steamed) to set the twist so the knit fabric will not bias. Be sure to do a swatch if you try this.
- Cotton yarns are heavy – much heavier than wool. Keep this in mind when choosing your project.
- Finer cotton yarns (lace, fingering or sport weight) will make lighter garments.
- Needle size is important – start with one size smaller needle than for a woolen yarn of the same diameter. A very open knit fabric in cotton has no body – maybe desirable for lace but not for a sweater.
Crocheting with cotton handspun:
- Crochet fabric is thicker than knit or woven fabric in the same size of yarn.
- Again the finer yarns here – lace or fingering – will give the best results for garments.
- Hook size may need to be a little larger to keep the crocheted fabric soft – depending upon the project, of course – a potholder needs to be firm. Swatch until you get the fabric you want.
- Some spinners will spin S and ply Z for crochet. This really depends upon the crocheter. There seems to be less untwisting of yarn in crochet.
Next Blog: Spinning and Plying a Consistent Yarn
Start planning your project!