"Easy to Spin" Cotton and Where to Find It

Joan's Cotton HarvestMost cotton is carded for machine spinning. Joan realized that what is good for machinery is not always the best for hand spinners. Thus she went in search of sliver or roving that was easy for hand spinners to spin.

Kay Fielding, who used to own Custom Colors probably had the best type of roving of anyone. Working with that and with a carding company that has some new top-of-the-line carding machines, they came up with "Easy to Spin" cotton roving.

 


A Letter to Cotton Spinners

Dear Hand Spinners,

For years all the spinning books were saying cotton is hard to spin. Then when the Linder's began teaching in the late 70's there was little to no sources for cotton fiber unless you went directly to the cotton gin. This is what Harry Linder did, he bought a bale (480 lbs.) and put it on his front porch. When he and Olive were going to go give a workshop, they would take a wafer off the bale and that was what they had to teach with. Then in the 80's we started to get a little commercial sliver that was carded for the cotton mills. At least it was clean and already carded but was not the easiest to spin.

Also the spinning wheels were designed for spinning wool and long staple fibers. This meant the cotton spinners had to treadle fast and hold the yarn extended out for a long period of time to get enough twist in the short stable cotton to make it a strong stable yarn. Between the wheels with low ratios and poor cotton being available for spinning, I can understand why people thought cotton was hard to spin. It would be the same as trying to spin poor quality wool with a high ratio, all you would come out with is over twisted wool yarn with lumps and bumps in it. But today we have spinning wheels with very high ratios, well educated spinners and a great selection of cotton fibers.

When prepared cotton began to appear in the fiber shops, it was mostly cotton that was prepared for the commercial spinning gins. Sally Fox and Kay Fielding recognized that this was not a good preparation for hand spinners as the cotton was over processed and most of the crimp was removed for commercial use. Thus they both had their cotton specially processed for hand spinners. Then Kay of Custom Colors went out of business and Sally did a limited amount. At this point is when I stepped in and realized if spinners were going to enjoy spinning cotton that I needed to make a supply available.

For many years I had been purchasing Pima, Acala and Sea Island cotton but it was only in the lint form directly from the gin. Finally in 2005 , I began my search for a place to have top quality cotton fiber processed into a sliver that was “Easy to Spin”. Luckily I found an International Textile Center that would process my cotton to my specifications. The carding equipment was new and modern, so that the sliver was very clean and consistent. What a difference this has made to my cotton spinners, they all love this new processed cotton that they did not have to card by hand and that was Easy to Spin.

This carding process leaves the crimp in the fiber which is what makes a fiber easy to spin. It is also carded to a specific weight per length so that it is not compacted and hard to draft. Realizing that this cotton needed to get out to all spinners who wanted to spin cotton, I began wholesaling my “Easy to Spin” cotton to shops around the country. Since I travel so much teaching, I was unable to service all the spinners around the country and chose to distribute though your local fiber art shops. Please see the shops listed below that carry my “Easy to Spin” cotton that presently comes in white Pima and Acala and limited amount of brown and green cotton, all processed so they are Easy to Spin.

Thank you for your wonderful support,

Joan




Where to Purchase "Easy to Spin" Cotton Roving & DVD's

 

UNITED STATES


tempeyarn@gmail.com
ARIZONA
Cotton Clouds
5176, S. 14th Ave
Safford, AZ 85546
www.cottonclouds.com
Grandma's Spinning Wheel
Tucson, AZ
1-520-290-3738
www.grandmasspinningwheel.com
Tempe Yarn and Fiber
1415 E. University Drive
Tempe, AZ 85281
tempeyarn@gmail.com
Spinning Nomad
4874 E. Eastland Street
Tucson, AZ 85711
mushinweaving@gmail.com Kristin Merritt
CALIFORNIA
Carolina Homespun
455 Lisbon Street
San Francisco, CA 94112
1-800-450-7786
www.carolinahomespun.com
Village Spinning & Weaving Shop
425 Alisal Road
Solvang, CA 93463-3704
www.villagespinweave.com
Half Moon Hollow
La Mesa, CA
siobhanawanna@cox.net
Cathy Salamon
IOWA

The Painted Tiger Yarn & Fiber
929 Oakhurst Lane
Clinton, IA 52732
ThePaintedTiger.com

IDAHO
The Fiber Addict
Donnelly, ID
1-208-325-4177
www.thefiberaddict.com
KENTUCKY
The Woolery
315 St. Clair Street
Frankfort, KY 40601
1-502-352-9800
www.woolery.com
NEW MEXICO
Village Wools
5916 Anaheim Ave NE
Albuquerque, NM 87113
1-800-766-4553
www.villagewools.com
Quillan Fiber Arts
207 Avenida de Mesilla
Suite A
Las Cruces, NM 88005
1-575- 635-9136
QuillanFiberWorks.com
Yada Yada Yarn
614 N. Bullard Street
Silver City, NM 88061
YadaYadaYarn.com
NORTH CAROLINA
Three Waters Farm
5330 Three Waters Lane
Graham, NC 27253
maryann.pagano@threewatersfarm.com Mary Ann Pagano
PENNSYLVANIA
The Mannings
East Berlin, PA 17316-9530
1-717-623-2223
www.the-mannings.com
TEXAS
Fancy Fibers
406 McKinney Sreet
Farmersville, TX 75442
1-972-839-8604
www.fancyfibersstore.com
Homestead Fiber Crafts
608 Dry Creek Road
Waco, TX 76705
1-254-754-9653 www.homesteadheritage.com
Spinning Straw into Gold
Southlake, TX
1-682-433-4464
www.spinningstrawintogold.com



CANADA


ALBERTA
Celeigh Wool
Margaret Sjostrom
RR1 Suite 11 Box 1
Millet, Alberta TOC 1Z0
1-780-387-5047
celeigh@telusplanet.com
Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts
Calgary, AB
1-403-686-6105
www.ancientartsfibre.com



NEW ZEALAND


Sentosa Textiles, Ltd.
36 Ethel Street
Sandringham 1025
Auckland, New Zealand
www.sentosatextiles.com
Peter Lucena, owner
011 64 9 846 8166
sentosa@actrix.co.nz

 

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