Posts tagged ‘cotton’

The Pima cotton is giving me fits, but I got some writing and another swatch done anyway. I wove something roughly the size of a coaster with weft stripes of fuzzy llama yarn. I keep wishing I had a real loom but when I actually start thinking about it, what I need is a place to put a real loom. The loom itself is much less of an issue. I still have the table loom, but I’m not using it because there isn’t even a place for that. I have no table to put it on, and using it on the floor is horrible. Even if I had a better piece of floor than the high-traffic middle of the living room. So I did it on the frame loom, with string heddles and sticks and everything. I could have finished the fourth selvedge but I left it as fringe because it gets much more difficult as you get closer to the end. This is seriously primitive stuff, I had to pick up most of my pattern sheds by hand. I can keep one on a shed stick, but I’d have to tie up harnesses if I wanted the rest of them.

I went to Carolina Homespun yesterday, partly because I needed a tapestry beater and partly to just get out of the house. I picked up, err, “A Few Things” and looked at some other weaving stuff. One of the big problems with early weaving technology is that there is no simple warp spacing mechanism. With no reed to hold the warp in position, it’s very hard to maintain width for anything but narrow warp-faced fabric. It is possible to set up something with a rigid heddle, but the finest you can get with those are about 12 ends per inch. Seeing that most of my interest in weaving starts around 20, that isn’t much help.

With the writing, I’ve been trying to get all the Elements and Principles stuff done. I completely hate it because most of it is theoretical principles of design stuff. Supposedly these are the qualities of good visual composition, but it’s all very eurocentric and doesn’t consider the many non-Western artistic aesthetics that don’t fit into it’s nice neat boxes. And it’s all visual. Tactile perception, a large part of textile design, isn’t even remotely considered. I’m supposed to provide “illustrations, photographs and/or small samples” for each item. I’m not going though the work to spin and weave swatches just to talk about theories of visual design, so I’m doing it with photographs. I selected the images, but I haven’t finished all the writing. I took one new picture, but mostly I just pulled old stuff out of my library. (Yes, they are all my images, I changed the resolution so they look ok online but that’s it. If I find someone is using them, you will be hearing from me.)

I need to get back to that cotton. Ick.

The 16-ply cable is done, along with the extra fine cotton. I haven’t measured either, although the 50g of wool yarn won’t even begin to fit in the plastic sandwich bag. It’s huge. Much to my amazement, I had no trouble plying the singles even with the absurdly small amount of twist in them. The yarn comes out kinda square, it’s a 4-ply yarn that is then done 4-ply again with hardly any twist at all. The whole thing is felted, it shrunk quite a bit but now holds together nicely.

I skeined the extra fine cotton to wash, very carefully. Now I have to unwind it to measure. I think it will be ok, it only broke once in winding, but I’m still nervous. This yarn is much more even than the brown cotton single that gave me such trouble. Since I’m doing extra fine cotton, I’ve started on some combed Pima for the two-ply. It is breaking more than I’d like but otherwise is doing ok.

I’m trying to figure out how to describe my cotton spinning technique. I’m doing the exact same motions as for the other extra fine, but since this is combed and not carded the yarn comes out smoother. Supposedly combed cotton is to be spun “point of twist,” which is drafting while moving the fiber so it stays ahead of the twist. I do that, yes, but then I make the yarn thinner and more even by continuing to draft. Isn’t that what happens with a rolag spun woolen or carded cotton or a puni? Some people even call it “double drafting.” This is where the whole woolen/worsted thing falls apart. Cotton doesn’t handle like wool. I tried pure point of twist, with no extra drafting, and other than a thicker yarn it doesn’t look any different. But since I’m using combed fiber, supposedly the “correct” way to spin is with a short draw technique. Point of twist, with no further drafting, is short draw because it is pulling the fibers out in parallel and then immediately twisting them into finished yarn.

I haven’t had much to say because most of it has been pretty dull. I’ll spare you the details of the not-family-friendly conversations I’ve had with the inkjet printer over alignment. I did some research at the library and worked on more writing. Oh, and I changed my jury service so I don’t have to go the week before I need to mail all this stuff off. Isn’t that thrilling?

I am doing some spinning at least, I got the fine textured cotton done, reeled a bobbin of silk (and glued another together into a sticky mess) and today I’m doing singles for a lofty cable yarn. That one is fairly mindless, a nice break. I’ve been warned that The Boyfriend might be coming home early from his business trip, I hope it’s not before I can vacuum up the fiber that’s all over the floor.

A little bit of spinning, a lot of paper today.

I did the Romney/mohair blend single, but I’m not happy about what the bamboo/tencel blend is doing so I scrapped that idea. I’m trying to come up with two more fibers to blend. I did my really sloppy punis from the Pima cotton, after taking out all the seeds and a pile of trash. I can see it isn’t going to all fit on the high speed bobbins, so I will have to do two. That’s ok, at least. I may just splice the ends anyway. I could use that for the cotton swatch, as weft. It’s textured, all right, but that also means it’s not very strong. I’d have to find something to use for warp and pull out the table loom, but it wouldn’t take much yarn.

I set up the printer, assembled a box and started dealing with packaging. I have to go get more file folders, but at least I can get going with the labels. It took hours to set up the templates because the ones I downloaded from Avery didn’t align correctly. And then I had to create all sorts of nested tables to get the layout right. But now I have them all ready. Even the two inch lines, one half inch from one short edge and one quarter inch from one long edge. What a pain. Still haven’t cut the cardboard tags that go with those, however. While I’m out getting file folders, I need to look at staplers and three hole punches. If they are cheap enough, I might get my own instead of trying to borrow them. I’ve been meaning to get new business cards just for the website, too. Three blocks away and I can’t manage to get the the office supply store.

After test printing a few things from the website, I was reminded how much I adore stylesheets. Since I have put things in a binder, I need a left margin on all the pages. So I changed one line in my stylesheet and there it was. I didn’t even have to mess with the website, I just created a custom version that I can tell my browser to use. The only other thing to do before I start printing for real is create a new blank page footer. I have to take out the SpinnySpinny part so nobody knows who I am. (As if.)

I plied the tiny cotton, I didn’t like how it looked as a two-ply so I’ve decided to take it and four ply that. So I gave it a lot of twist and wound it off to measure. I’m really close, so I have to wind bobbins by length to make sure I ply every last bit of it. And, yes, there is about 550m of two-ply there, about what I guessed. There is only a little bit of the original single left so I was even very close on that. This brown cotton is combed, but there is still a lot of short fiber and a little trash in there and that makes it impossible to get a really even yarn. And in a two-ply, every little bit of variation shows. I still had the other multiple ply medium cotton to do, so I decided to use it for that. With an eight-ply, it all evens out.

I did the spinning wheel yarn in a day, I just have to measure and wind the skein. It’s fine enough that I’d rather not put it on the swift, so I took it from setting the twist on the skein winder to a ball. It’s something like 60 wraps per inch, that makes it extra fine. It’s basically the same single as the Andean weaving yarn but with a little less twist. I didn’t sort the Romney for color this time and the lighter color fibers tend to be slightly longer than the dark, so the color gently shades from dark to light with each comb batch. It’s an interesting effect that makes a semi-random narrow stripe warp, but it’s not so good for weft. The shorter length of each back and forth pass of the weft means large blocks of color.

Next is going to be the blend two-ply, I think. I did the mohair and wool on the drum carder a few days ago, the bamboo and tencel has been sitting around for a while. I have a lot of things to finish, I’m going to do as much spinning as possible next week when The Boyfriend is out of town on business.

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