A few months ago my friend Alice of Groundworks posted on Instagram about a cotton plant she had successfully grown in Brooklyn.
I offered to spin it, she accepted, and asked if I would be able to incorporate her cotton into a handwoven piece as a gift for her business partner. We agreed on a design for an overshot table runner (the draft is “Ferns and Flowers” from Bertha Gray Hayes,) and I got started.
I picked out the seeds and carded it on cotton cards…
and spun the cotton on my charka.
Here is the small skein of cotton that resulted
I used commercial cotton for the bulk of the project, and was able to buy navy in the weight I wanted, but was unable to find the particular green and red-violet that I wanted, so I dyed those two colors. The small skein of white handspun was used as inlay in a couple of the overshot motifs, and as a stripe at one end of the runner.
Loom warped, and a few inches of sampling before the main project…
This is the second part of my second round of batt color management experiments. Last post I made better fiber choices, and got results closer to what I was expecting when making a striped batt, then dizzing the fiber from the drum carder. This is the result from using the same fiber and technique with a layered batt. I used the same wool in the same proportions as my striped batts, and dizzed a roving off of the drum carder, working back and forth and using the largest hole on my diz.
This time the fiber distribution was much more consistent, and I got all three colors going the whole length of the roving.
I found, though, that when I spun the singles I was still ending up with long segments of first one side color, then another, with the center color mostly blended. I realized that this was due to a combination of staple length (about 4″) and the tendency of fiber to draft first down one side of the roving/top, then across, then down the other side, especially when dealing with a fairly thick roving or top. I wanted to see if a thinner prep would decrease this effect, so I made another identical batt, but this time I dizzed off through the smallest hole on the diz, resulting in a longer, thinner roving.
This actually made the single-color segments longer
Lesson learned – making a thinner prep does not result in more even color distribution!