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spinning cotton

August 8, 2022

the heat has finally got to me!

a few years ago I purchased a stem of cotton from a flower shop and put it in a pot with other dried flowers

well, it has been around too long and was on the way to the compost pile when I decided I should try spinning it

first the woody material had to be removed and then the tedious job of pulling the fibre off the seeds

those are the seeds on the right

no wonder the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney in 1794 was so celebrated

this one small branch produced a surprising amount of fibre

the spindle is an Akha, center whorl, light weight

the fibre is very short, soft and incredibly light – it is like spinning air

my handcarders are not fine enough so I’ve been slowly finger teasing this small pile

and then rolling it into a puni – around a short piece of bamboo which is removed before starting to spin

the absolute best cotton information I found is in Ply Magazine  – Spring 2016 “Cotton”

it is still available in either print or digital from Ply magazine at

the website is a great resource for all fibres

while researching on line I came across this reminder of how universal cotton is – have to love it!

can you smoke a pipe and spin??


8 Comments leave one →
  1. Going Batty in Wales permalink
    August 10, 2022 9:39 am

    A lovely post!


    • August 10, 2022 3:46 pm

      Sue – I’ve enjoyed doing something new, the cotton I’ve spun in the past has always been organically grown and commercially prepared.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. August 9, 2022 4:30 am

    She and you are impressive. I like that she can talk at the same time too.


    • August 9, 2022 10:06 am

      Cathy – I’ll never be able to spin like her and won’t be smoking a pipe any time soon but I can definitely talk and spin.


  3. August 8, 2022 11:40 pm

    Thank you. I don’t think I’ve seen cotton in it’s natural form before.


    • August 9, 2022 10:12 am

      Dawn – cotton is such a big part of our daily lives – sheets, towels, clothes and cotton linters are used in making some paper. It has been used almost since the beginning of time. It is the largest crop grown on the planet, takes huge amounts of water and pesticides and isn’t as environmentally friendly as we would like to think.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. August 8, 2022 1:36 pm

    You’ll have to let us know about the pipe! The shortness of the fibres must make spinning quite a delicate job to keep one continuous thread emerging. This really should be saved for ScrapHappy – I believe it would be the first time something had been saved from the compost heap to be turned into something else!


    • August 8, 2022 10:17 pm

      Kate – surprisingly , if you draw out the cotton fibre like the lady in the video it doesn’t break and then you give it an extra spin to make it strong. I still can’t do that long draw, she has probably been spinning every day for 30 years, but I still find it relatively easy and pleasant (or I wouldn’t be doing it). I’ll put a link to the blog on my ScrapHappy post. And, I can assure you there will be no smoking. Isn’t she cute?

      Liked by 1 person

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