Celebrating Spinning & Weaving Week! The Gift of Cotton
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