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Joan S. Ruane



    Nothing makes winter more fun than taking a cotton workshop in a fascinating place!

    February 13 - 15, 2016, Joan will be teaching an in-depth cotton class covering everything from dyeing cotton lint to spinning and plying techniques.

    Bisbee, Arizona is a wonderfully historic town - and on the evening of February 13th the Friends of the Library will be holding the 25th Annual Chocolate Tasting. It is absolutely one of the most popular events of the year in Bisbee.

    Play with cotton during the day and bask in chocolate indulgence at night - THAT will chase away any winter blues you might have!

    More on the class...

    YouTube Videos!

    These tutorials will help improve your cotton spinning and carding skills!

  • Cotton Spinning Made Easy
  • Takli Spindle Spinning
  • Carding Cotton Lint into Punis
  • Carding Cotton Lint- Color

Takli Cotton Spinning Kit

Takli Kit

Want to have everything you need to begin spinning with a takli? We packed this kit with as much as we could stuff in the box and discounted the price!

Shop now!

Welcome to the world of cotton spinning!

Joan RuaneSpinning cotton has been a decades-long passion for me, and I am so glad that you have come to explore more about this exciting fiber.

For millenia, humans have had a close and vital association with cotton, but during the 20th century much of the knowledge about hand spinning cotton fell from general use and cotton became a fiber that spinners shied away from.

I have included a variety of articles on many aspects of working with cotton - you can find tips on spinning, dyeing, and weaving with cotton (see articles located under "Spin") as well as information on growing your own cotton from seeds (see "Grow") and choose from a selection of cotton related items (see "Shop") to help you along your journey with this interesting fiber.




PLY Magazine Special 2016

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2015 Cotton Harvest Show & Tell


Pinar's Cotton Flower 2015

Our judge, Dale Hedges from Elfrida, Arizona is a retired cotton farmer and artist. He chose the photo submitted by Pinar M. of Maryland as this year's winner. See more here.

Andrew Kimmey's Cotton

As a teacher of cotton spinning it is extremely rewarding to receive emails and pictures from my students and friends all around the globe showing their cotton projects. The last few years I have encouraged people to try their hand at growing their own cotton, and am happy that so many of you have decided to try it out. This is a picture that Andrew Kimmey, who is in his 2nd year of growing his own cotton, sent me recently.

We all learn from one another and are encouraged and inspired by the images we see. With that in mind and as a way to say thank you for your efforts, I would like to invite all of you who have grown and harvested cotton this year to participate in an online "Show & Tell" of sorts. From today until December 15th, if you email me a picture of cotton you grew in 2015, you will have a chance to win a $50 credit in my online shop.

The winning entry will be chosen by a local cotton farmer and the winner will be notified by December 18th. I will also be posting some of the pictures to Facebook as well as posting as many as possible here on the website.

Please send your entries with the words COTTON PHOTOS in the subject (and include a short description) to so we can inspire more people to try their hand at growing cotton as well as showcasing what a great job you all have done. Thank you!

See Cotton Harvest 2015 Photos here!


Blending Colors on Your Charka

Using dyed colored lint you can create your own designer yarn easily. One thing for sure, it will be yours alone and it can't be bought in the yarn shops. To review how I card, click here to go to the article "Carding Cotton Lint & Making a Puni".

To get creative colors I usually start with a little white lint on my carder before adding the colors I want.

White cotton lint on carders Dyed cotton lint on carders


Following my directions for carding, you do the same except you might like to shift your top carder a little to the left or right, helping to blend the colors a little better.

Blended cotton lint on carders


When you are happy with how much you have blended the colors then remove them with a thin dowel, rolling it into a puni.

Colored cotton lint rolled into a puni

Note that the more you card, the more the colors will blend together.

Colored Cotton Lint Puni


Joan's New Book



Beggining Cotton Spinning Book

This is a workbook for anyone interested in spinning cotton or who wants to learn more about cotton and how to card, spin and ply cotton fiber.

The book is spiral bound so it will lay flat beside you. Photos are included along with the instructions, however after each technique Joan has a YouTube that she has prepared for you so you can see her actually doing the technique described in the work book.

An extensive list of cotton terms is included along with suggested books that are helpful in learning more about spinning. Joan's hope is that this little book will help take away the fear that so many people have of spinning cotton and show you how easy and fun it is to spin cotton fiber.



Free domestic shipping

International orders ship for only $5.00

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Joan's New Vest




Joan wove the fabric for this vest and her friend Donna Sebastian of Silver Silver, NM was the seamstress.

Vest Detail

Vest Trim



When I was asked to teach cotton spinning in the UK, I was thrilled as I knew it was a “dyed in the wool” wool spinning country.  Since I had taught in New Zealand the year before and had such a wonderful response from the New Zealand spinners, I was anxious to spread the word that “cotton was easy to spin” to another predominately protein fiber spinning country.   Read More...



Cotton Spinning Book


Harry & Olive Linder's 1977 edition of "Hand Spinning Cotton" was the product of decades of research and experience. It has been a foundation work for those of us interested in learning how to make the best use of this wonderful fiber.

I was asked by the Linder Family to update the book to reflect advances in equipment, fiber availability and spinning techniques now in use, while retaining the complete text and drawings from the original edition.


Order here!



Singles Scarf

Weaving with handspun cotton singles presents its own challenges and rewards! Over the summer I wove up a scarf using handspun singles and wrote up a description of my project step by step as I worked it through.

I was able to create a completely handspun and handwoven cotton singles scarf that I'm very happy with! When it was finished, it was wonderful to see and FEEL this scarf in my hands and thought I would share my experiences. Here is a review of what I did. More...




All Handspun Natural Cotton

For many parts of our country, the summer of 2013 has been a difficult one for weather. Here in the Southwest it has been brutal at times.

Cotton is so light-weight that I don't mind spinning it during the warm summer months. And of course, it was the perfect pastime for me as I traveled around giving classes and vacationing with friends in many parts of the United States and Canada this summer.

I took all my handspun cotton yarn in a variety of natural colors and put it on the loom and thought you might like to see.



Are you frustrated with your cotton spinning? Most cotton preparations are carded for machine spinning and difficult to spin by hand, especially for novices. Joan's Easy to Spin sliver has been prepared with handspinners in mind. Make your life easier and try this wonderful fiber.

Due to the extensive amount of travel involved in my teaching schedule, early in 2013 I accepted the gracious help of Jill and Lura from Brookmore Creations to handle the demand for Easy to Spin cotton sliver. They now handle the wholesale distribution of Easy to Spin cotton sliver so that many shops around the country as well as Canada and New Zealand can have this luxurious cotton sliver available for hand spinners.

Click here for more information and the updated U.S./Canada and New Zealand vendor list.



The takli is a small support-style spindle that is easily carried from place to place. Because of the high whorl speed it can attain, it is the perfect tool for spinning cotton - you can spin a much finer diameter yarn on the takli than is possible to spin using a wheel. And don't let the small size fool you - you can spin a great deal of yarn in a short time. Joan used takli-spun yarn for the warp on the green blouse described in the article "My Green Blouse"! More...



Cotton Flowers 2010Joan has been growing cotton in her home garden for the last 5 years. Cotton flowers first open as a pale yellow and then turn pure white. After the flower is pollinated, the dying blosson turns a deep shade of pink or dusky purple. That is why you often see different colors of flowers on the same plant - you are seeing the varying stages of development. More...