Experimental Wednesday - 100% Cotton Scrap Yarn

You know how sometimes when you've been doing something for so long, you think you kinda know it all? I suppose that's how I've been feeling about some things lately and it puts such a halt on my growth. You ever feel the same?

When I started hand spinning my New Life & Elwood Yarns, I just assumed that I had to add wool because I know from my 5+ years of spinning experience that cotton is a tricky fibre to spin. Why tricky? Well cotton fibre is so much shorter than wool so by blending it with wool, I was lengthening the fibre so it would be easier to spin. Also, because when you are incorporating yarn scraps into your spinning, these scraps are more often than not, pretty short. So the wool helps bind them all together. 

So fast forward to today, I decided to put my assumption to the test and try carding and spinning 100% cotton scraps, without adding wool.

I recently made a macrame hanger for one of my husbands pottery planters and I had a bunch of gorgeous trimmings left over (the rope I used is from Chompa Handmade).

Scraps

What I learnt:

Carding

I brushed the yarn with the large drum as it spun around and allowed the threads to slip out of my grip and feed onto the drum once they were brushed. Once all the trimmings were on the large drum, I pulled them off the drum and checked the batt. It was quite dense and I knew I needed to card again. So again I brushed the threads onto the large drum, although this time I turned them sideways to feed onto the drum. This helped create an airier, more blended batt. 

Carded batt

Spinning the Single

As soon as I started spinning, I noticed that it’s much more finicky to spin without the wool. Even just a little wool would have helped. I over-spun the yarn which is usually what I do with a single if I know I’m going to ply it, but even more so as without the wool it wasn’t going to stick together as well as it usually would. 

Single yarn

Plying 

Once I spun the single, I wound a centre pull ball and used both ends of the yarn to ply it together. I do this a lot and every time I do, I wish that I had just wound two separate balls to ply together as it’s much easier. The yarn broke off a few times but I managed to get it back together just fine. 

I really had to change my spinning method to make spinning easier. I actually realised something I hadn’t noticed before. I tend to resist letting the yarn feed onto the bobbin naturally. I kind of hold the yarn with a bit of tension, so I had to ease off and really let the yarn feed onto the bobbin all by itself, with my hands really just resting in a a guide position. 

Plied yarn

The Result

TEXTURIFFIC! It’s quite a heavy, extremely textured yarn and I just love it! I’ll definitely keep working on this yarn and see if I can get it to a stage where I’ll be able to sell it in the shop. I love that it’s a 100% cotton yarn (vegan) and 100% recycled. I wonder if it will be strong enough to use as a macrame plant hanger. Stay tuned! 

Scrap yarn

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