Monday, April 7

Cleaning Cotton Yarn

After spinning up bits of the fiber from the leftover dehydrated cotton, I boil it with a tad of baking soda and Dawn dish liquid. I use a tiny squirt and about a teaspoon, but this is a small batch. See the color develop? I boil for an hour if the color is strong. The water is totally brown when I am done.

The rest of the skeins are just whatever was left on my bobbins throughout the house. Mostly spun from the seed or ginned but not carded. I prefer spinning mixed colors and plying them together. I used to gin, card and make punis, spin very even and 3 ply the yarn. But now I rough spin, or just spin from the seed or ginned cotton with no carding. It works on my homegrown since the cotton is very clean and fluffy. It wouldn't work on field picked cotton as there is more leaf trash. I spin by holding 2-3 seed's worth very lightly and spin a spiral or woolen draw. You know, you pull your hand back, get slubs, let more twist in while still drawing back and the slubs pull out to the same thickness as the rest of the yarn. My seed spun yarn is a bit lumpier as you are always joining on new seeds.

I ply with 3 strands to bring up the grist in the yarn and to cover for any thin or fragile spots. Only on one of the following did I use 4 ply to make it extra thick for washcloths.

The general goal is a fingering to sport weight yarn that will pass through a knitting machine. I get so much cotton every year that I just sort by grist at the end of the year and save up for the big projects. I do hand knit most of it, but if I want to machine knit in the future, I will have a good supply. There is a great machine knit tuck pattern that gives a waffle stitch and is superb for washcloths.

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