On Friday afternoon we were visited by Laurie Schlitter and her husband, Duane. I’d previously been able to get Laurie some North Ronaldsay fibre when I went to the County Show in August and in return, she brought us some examples of cotton fibre to try spinning. Now, neither Beth nor I had done any cotton spinning before, so it was a bit of an adventure. Laurie produced a gorgeous little cotton spindle, or Tahkli. It had a (I think) steel shaft and a lovely brass whorl. Spindle spinning cotton is done using a supported spindle, another new technique to try, as I’ve limited myself to drop-spindling before this. After Laurie had carded a couple of small rolags, she showed us how to spin cotton. Quite a revelation! The fibres are so short and slippery that you need to put an enormous amount of twist into your thread, the draw is similar to long draw for wool spinning, and any lumpy bumpy bits can be adjusted and thinned out quite easily during the process.
Another thing that I certainly hadn’t known, was that cotton comes in other colours than white – Laurie had brought samples of beautiful subtle green and beige colours.
We were so entranced that we forgot to take any photos at the time, but here is what Laurie brought us.
After showing us the technique she proceeded to present us with the little spindle for everyone to try their hand at cotton spinning. A very generous gift indeed.
Yesterday morning Laurie visited Hillside to see my sheep. Tan gathered the sheep and brought them to the gate to be viewed and she held them there for a good 15 minutes or so – very impressive!