Thunder and lightning, wind and rain have been sweeping through our area almost every night this last week. There have been trees down and power outages, though no real damage on our place.
We are very thankful for the rain, we can always use it this time of year. Storms however, can put me a little on edge. Tornados have been known to rip through our area leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. It is not common, but it does happen. So, when we start getting this evening cycle of heating and storms as the air starts to cool, I start looking for something to get my mind off of it!
That is why I pulled out some cotton sliver, (I have a very modest cotton fluff stash) and a tahkli support spindle last week when the second storm in a row was heading our way. I have tried to spin cotton in the past with little success, as it is not at all like wool, silk or flax. It needs an incredible amount of twist to hold together.
That first evening, once the storms were over, I looked down, and I found that I had gotten the hang of it! (This is two tone pima cotton that I blended together)
I started thinking about all that I could do with the yarn I was making, then I started wondering how I could do it faster.
Then I realized that the Great Wheel that I had sold last year would have been perfect for spinning cotton! I checked Craigslist to see if there was one in the area, but there wasn't.
Then I remembered that Lou Ann had one she was wanting to rehome. She had been trying to talk me into taking hers for awhile, ( I knew you were!) So, I sent her a text to ask her about it, she asked if she could bring it over right then!
I laughed and told her I would pick it up the next day, and I did. I did a bit of tinkering, turning the maidens, replacing bearings, cleaning the spindle.
Once I got it all back together, it worked well, but it doesn't insert twist as fast as I would like for cotton, since it is not an accelerated spinning head.
It will be great for wool, but a little slow for the cotton. I will be keeping my eyes peeled for that accelerated head!
(Keep in mind that not even a week had passed since this cotton spinning madness struck!)
I was perusing Ravelry about the time I was messing with the wheel, and I came across an "Indian Book Charka" for a very good price, including a book and a video. Well, you can guess what happened can't you.
Yes indeed, less than a week from the beginning of cotton fever, I had watched every You Tube video I could find on the subject, read through the whole Ravelry "Charka, Tahkli Group" threads, researched all the websites that have cotton and stuff, bought some more fluff and by the time the Charkha got here I was ready to give it a try! I watched the video (by Eileen Hallman) that came with the Charkha (which was extremely helpful,) and before you know it I was spinning cotton like a boss! (That is recycled blue jean material on the Charkha spindle below.)
There is a weaving shuttle that I am going to buy that will enable me to take the spindle from the Charkha and use it directly in the shuttle. ( It really is that small!)
I will be able to spin many short staple and fine fibers with this new tool. Merino silk blends are said to be perfect for it, as are Cashmere , Yak and I suppose my own Nigora will spin well on it too! I have ideas, but no firm plans yet. I just love learning new skills.
Let the storm clouds roll!
Until next time, I hope all is well with you, Happy Crafting, Tina